The other day I can home and decided to grill up a couple of turkey burgers for dinner. I proceded outside to the grill, lifted the lid to make sure that it was clean, turned the handle on top of the propane, flicked the two heat gauges to high, clicked the ignition button and began to see flames dancing… Just then I look down into the grill to see a small mouse looking up at me from under the grate…
The amount of terror that took place inside my body at this moment etched a vision of the little black eyed rodent starring up at me (with flames dancing inches from his head) with fear and bewilderment… I swear, I think that I saw him grab the bars of the grill… I could see his thoughts… “This is it. I am going to die in this dude’s grill, cooked alive (if I only had some duck tape and a pencil)… My only chance is to look him straight in the eyes and communicate telepathically.”
He did just that… In the 1.275 seconds that it took me to turn off the burning hot flames, I saw his birth, his first rodent kiss, his children being born and the day he first saw what he thought would be a perfect home… My Aussie grill… I saw him collecting peanut shells, dried up leaves and snail shells (who knows what they do with those?), and carry them up, on by one, into the belly of what would soon become the site of his most frightening moment. I am relatively sure that he was just settling down for an evenings rest when he smelled something strange and flames began to dance around his head.
By he time I had returned to the blackened grill with heavy gloves to remove the friend that fate had given me… Thinking of how to give CPR to a burnt rodent roughly half the size of my ape hands… I heard a rustling in the grass below, and, just for a second, saw what I thought was a small tail leaping over the fence. At this moment I felt a great relief spread. I would not be needing my CPR skills. I had not roasted something cute enough to be in a calendar. He was alive enough to shimmy out of the grill, climb a fence and leap toward freedom.
Today, I am sure that he talks of this chain of events with some degree of difficulty. He might even have a stuttering problem… But he is alive… The vision of him, looking me in the eyes, with flames dancing inches away in the belly of my grill are also alive… and taunting my thoughts.