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Where’s my bowl?

This story takes place sometime back in 2003, I’d say. I was still living at home with my parents and they had gone away for the weekend. They had been leaving me home alone for random weekends since I was about 16, due to my sister being in the hospital in Halifax at that time, so I was quite used to it. Every time they did, I always had friends over to drink. I never had huge parties, though, and never tried to hide it from my parents, so it was all good.

It was always just the Meatheads, plus a few, pre-drinking before the bars or just staying in and getting obliterated. We always made sure to clean up a bit before my parents got back and there place was never too worse for wear… except for the time Wheeler found a can of spray snow in my basement and proceeded to write on every single window in the house “SNOW IN A CAAAN…YEAAAA”. My parents weren’t too happy about that one since, apparently, snow in a can isn’t as easy as you’d think to remove from glass… who knew??

Anyhow, on this particular night we decided to stay in. I almost didn’t write about this night because I barely remember any of the actual “party”. I got absolutely wrecked and ended up passing out early in my bed. Everyone else stayed up and continued to drink until the wee hours of the morning.

When I came to in the morning there were bodies passed out all over. Aside from bottles everywhere, the place didn’t look too bad. I was sitting on the side of my bed, waiting for my head to clear, when I noticed a sliver of pale green ceramic glass on the floor. I reached down to pick it up and got a closer look. It looked strangely familiar, but I just couldn’t picture in my mind what it could have come from. Certainly nothing in my room…

I got down on my hands and knees to investigate and I found another small piece of glass further under my bed, but no other signs of damage. Hmm…

I woke up Roland, one of the drunks sleeping on my floor, “Dude” I said as I kicked him, “wake up.” He just snorted and rolled over. I kicked him again… harder. “WAKE THE FUCK UP!”

“Fuck, man… what the hell?? What???” he said without even opening his eyes.

“Listen, I found pieces of broken green glass on my floor, do you know anything about this?”

He just shrugged and rolled back on his side, “Ask Joel…”

I wasn’t getting anywhere with him, so I went downstairs and searched through the lifeless bodies until I located Joel. The downstairs looked a little worse, with junk food and garbage everywhere. This was going to take some work, but I wanted to get to the bottom of the glass mystery first.

I shook Joel awake, “Hey man, tell me about this…” I said as I dropped the green glass shards on his stomach.

“Oh, uh… I dunno man. What are those?” he said in a guilty and unconvincing tone.

“Don’t fuck around, dude. Roland told me you did this. What did you break?” I said, even though Roland hadn’t really told me anything.

He changed his tone immediately, “Mother fucker, we all promised not to say anything… shit…”

“He didn’t say anything, you jackass, but now you’re fucked… what did you do??” I had him cornered now.

“Well, see, I had made some popcorn last night, right?” he cleared his throat, “I, uh, well I wanted to put it in a bowl… so I grabbed one off the counter. It was this green bowl…”

I thought about it for a second, and I could almost picture the one he was talking about. It was a thick ceramic decorative bowl my mom had out on display. Hardly something you would put popcorn in… fucking Meathead.

He continued on, “See, I was really drunk and I thought maybe, you know… maybe you would want some popcorn, too. So I ran up to your bedroom. I kinda overshot the landing somehow, and I slid on the floor and went tits up right beside your bed. The bowl shattered and there was popcorn and glass everywhere!”

I let the info process for a few seconds. I asked the first thing that came to my mind, “So, you mean to tell me, that you wiped out right beside my bed and spilled popcorn and glass all over me and I didn’t even wake up??”

“Naw man” he shook his head, “you were dead to the world, buddy. But we got it all cleaned up good though man. I didn’t think you’d even know…”

I had to give him that, if there was a whole bag of popcorn on the floor with a shattered bowl, they had done a great job cleaning up.

Then it hit me, “Uh.. what did you do with the bowl? What’s left of it anyways…”

“Oh, don’t worry man. We took care of it. We put it where no one will ever find it…”

That seemed reasonable. My parents would surely ask what happened, and I would just have to lie and say I had no idea. This was much easier then explaining Joel’s reasoning behind trying to feed popcorn to a passed out corpse using their decorative ceramic dishes.

I wasn’t mad, I just wanted to know what had gone on after I’d passed out. Now that I knew, I just wanted to get the house cleaned up for my parent’s return later that afternoon. I decided to tackle the upstairs and I left Joel, Roland and the others to clean downstairs. It seemed simple enough.

About 20 minutes later, as I was just finishing up upstairs, I heard a frantic call from the kitchen, “DAN!!! GET DOWN HERE MAN! SHIT!!!

I dropped everything and flew down the stairs, frantically trying to imagine what they could possibly have done now… as I turned the corner at the bottom of the stairs I could see part of the kitchen. What I saw upset me greatly. There was a good 6” of bubbles covering the entire kitchen floor.

“What in the fuck did you shitheads do??” I screamed as I came running through the kitchen door.

Joel was the first to speak, “Dan buddy, I’m so sorry. I felt bad about the bowl so I wanted to do a good job cleaning up, right? Well, I wanted to do a load of dishes, but I couldn’t find the stuff to put in it… you know, the soap things? So, we figured it was fine if we put dish detergent instead…” I could see Roland beside him, trying not to laugh. “Well, now it won’t stop spewing out bubbles… they’re everywhere man, what the fuck do we do???”

I had to laugh. It was a complete disaster, but Joel had meant well. I waded over to the dishwasher and turned it on to see for myself. The bubbles immediately began to pour out of all 4 sides of the door. I shut it off quickly. I opened it up to see what the inside looked like and laughed right out loud.

It was nothing but a solid wall of bubbles, you couldn’t even see the dishes, “Shit guys, how much fuckin dish soap did you put in?” they just shrugged and laughed. Fucking Meatheads.

I started handing out jobs. I got Joel on the mop while Roland and I grabbed every single towel in the house. We spent a good hour just mopping up the bubbles on the floor, hell, they were even getting outside on the front steps. Even then, we still had the dishwasher to deal with. Even if we shovelled out all of the bubbles, the second we turned it on it began leaking again. It was super frustrating. It was a never ending mess. My parents were only a hour or so from home, so I knew there was no way I’d have it clean by the time they got back… not to mention having to explain why there was 25 dirty towels in the hamper.

So, I weighed my options and decided to call them, “Dad, I have a bit of a situation here at home…” I said.

“Oh Jesus, what have you done now, Dan??” I could hear the fear in his voice.

“Oh, well… you see… don’t worry, it’s not that bad… uh, well, I had a small party last night, right? Well, Joel, being such a great guy, wanted to help clean up this morning, right?”

“Yeaaaa… spit it out…” he said, sounding very impatient.

“Well, he put some dishes in the dishwasher. He didn’t know where the thingies were, so he just put a bunch of dish detergent in… and… well, it’s a fucking disaster here, man. There’s bubbles everywhere!

I didn’t get the reaction that I expected. I could hear muffled laughter as he covered the phone receiver and said something to my mother.

“Dad?” I said, “are you there?? What the fuck do I do man?? It won’t stop bubbling!”

“Ok,” he said, sounding very calm, “Grab a cup of vinegar from the bottom cupboard and throw it into the dishwasher. It will neutralize the suds and then you should be able to complete the cycle.”

“Ok, hang on one second.” I put the phone down and did what he asked. I took a big cup of vinegar and splashed it onto the remaining bubbles in the machine. They quickly started to disappear. I closed the door, turned the machine on and waited… it ran just fine with no leakage. I was amazed! Super relieved, I picked the phone back up, “It worked, Dad! I can’t believe it… how the hell did you know what to do??”

I will never forget his answer…

“Oh… well… you see, I did the exact same thing last week.”

My father the Meathead. He had tried to impress my mother by doing the dishes the week before. We were out of the proper stuff, so he used dish soap and went through the exact same problems. I had a good laugh and thanked him for the info before I let him go to finish cleaning up.

My parents were home shortly after and we managed to have the house fairly presentable. Aside from a ton of laundry to do, the place looked decent, all things considered – another successful weekend!

It ended up being a few days before my mother asked the question I’d been expecting, “Daniel, do you have any idea where my bowl is? The nice green one that goes with the set on the counter?”

“Nope, I have no idea mom. I don’t remember ever seeing it there…” I hate lying to my mother, but it was for the best.

Before long she had convinced herself that she had lost it somehow. We were in the clear!

Fast forward almost 3 years… my parents are huge on gardening and landscaping. Their yard is nothing short of amazing! Their neighbour passed away and, since they had run out of room in their backyard, they ended up purchasing the property behind theirs to continue the upgrades. It was a long process and, since the property they bought was previously used to house dozens of exotic birds and animals, the first summer was spent simply tearing down and clearing out.

By this point I was already living on my own on the other side of town, but I went over to visit them quite often. One summer afternoon, I stopped in to see them and found them out digging in the garden like always.

We chatted for a few minutes before my dad smiled at my mother and says, “Oh yea, Kathy, show Dan what you found out back…”

I was very intrigued. I used to play back there all the time as a child, so I figured maybe it was some old army men or GI Joes or something. Maybe a cool artifact or weird skeleton… it really could be anything! I followed her out back to a plastic deck table that was in the corner. As I got closer I was able to see the “artifact” displayed on the table. I knew exactly what it was right away…

“So, Daniel… what do you know about this?” my mother asked.

She was pointing to the dirty remnants of her green ceramic decorative bowl. Broken into probably a dozen fair sized pieces, but unmistakable. Apparently Joel had just thrown the evidence into the neighbour’s yard, thinking that it would never be found. Who would have thought that my parents would buy that property years later and just happen to dig up the ground right where he had discarded it? I was still laughing as I decided it was finally time to come clean with her…

“Well, you see, Joel was making popcorn….”

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