That being said, all good vacation stories should include the phrase, “And then the cops showed up.”
On Sunday, I took turns making dinner and grilled up 15 steaks. We had 13 people at the house, three of which were under the age of seven. Still, we could make those leftovers disappear on Friday, which is “mustgo” night.
So, of course, I put down foil on the grill and cooked up the steaks with ease. There were two gas grills on the upper deck of the house, right off of the kitchen. It was a little odd to have the grills on a deck, let alone on the top floor. Worse yet, the wind whipped against that side of the house, making it hard to keep the grills lit. Halfway through, one of the propane tanks kicked, forcing me to finish up with all of the steaks on one grill.
nom... nom... nom... nom...
There was a spare tank that appeared to be almost empty, but we tried to hook it up and all it did was hiss gas. So, I called the realty company and asked about it. They sent a guy out, Monday afternoon, with a spare tank. He looked like a typical local; older gentleman, long blonde hair with a handle bar mustache. Somewhat of a cross between Nick Nolte and Hulk Hogan. He confirmed that it looked like a bad regulator on the other grill.
Now, on Monday night, my buddy decided to cook up hamburgers and hot dogs. He made his own patties with ground meat they had brought down from home. He made these huge patties with thumbprints in them. They were sort of falling apart. Perhaps they were too thawed or the 80/20 split on the fat percentage was too much leaving them a bit greasy. Still, they were patty shape and he threw them on the grill, sans foil.
He had various issues with grilling. The patties began crumbling and in flipping them, the bottoms of the burger seemed to peel off and leave a slice of meat stuck to, and in between, the grill surfaces. Large chunks of greasy, uncooked meat began falling down into the grill box. In all, the burgers came out OK and tasted pretty good. But when it came time to grill up the hot dogs, I suggested putting foil down, just in case.
After throwing the dogs on the grill we went back in to wash our hands and refresh our beverages. That’s when someone noticed black smoke floating passed the kitchen window. I then started repeating the word, “Grill. Grill! GRILL!”
We walked back out onto the deck and black smoke was oozing out of the grill. I opened it and it all went out like the Smoke Monster on LOST. The dogs were a little black from all the smoke, but more importantly, the greasy meat on the burners had ignited.
I reached down and turned off the burners. Then, I reached down and turned off the gas. Next, against my better judgment, I let my buddy pour water into the box on the various hot spots. Fire was out. Dogs were burnt… on the outside… and then the cops showed up.
Well, that’s not exactly true. They drove past. Then, they drove back towards the beach. Then they drove back up the road and did a three point turn. I wondered what the hell they were doing. I then realized we were the house that was called about. It was about the time I said, “They aren’t coming here are they?” Apparently, our neighbors across the street felt we were going to set the entire house on fire because of a little grill fire. I then went inside and informed everyone that I was going down to talk to the cops. Hide the moonshine… (It wasn’t really shine. It was more like wine. Actually, I’m not sure what it was because it froze in the freezer.) In any case, I didn’t feel like spending a night in a North Carolina holding cell with illegal hooch. I told everyone to be on their best behavior.
I walked outside and met the officer who asked if we were grilling. I said, “yes” and said that the fire was out and all was well. She asked if they could come in and look to be sure. She said they’ve had one too many houses burn down because of this kind of thing. I obliged and her and an older gentleman entered.
She asked if the grills had been moved. I said they were like that when we arrived and that I was unhappy about the location. They checked out the place and all looked good. As we stood on the deck overlooking the driveway, about six more vehicles showed up including an ambulance, another truck with a dog in the cab, and a couple more police cruisers.
I don't know if the dog drove but he came along on the call.
I asked, rhetorically, if all of those vehicles were for this call. The office said that they were and that more were on the way.
“I don’t have that much food to go around.”
She laughed and they went back down. About this time, the entire house was cracking jokes and pointing fingers at me and my buddy. The proverbial icing on the cake came as the last vehicle pulled up to the house. It was a fire truck and who should jump out but PROPANE MAN!
Unreal. The guy that was there two hours ago to drop off a propane tank was now pulling up to our house in a fire truck. I can only imagine what was going on in his mind. “OK. Another fire call. Here we go! Oh, no. Oh, no. Oh, dear God, no! I just… OK, be cool. Maybe nobody will notice.”
They pretended to put handcuffs on him. Somebody noticed. So, I went down to jag him as well. “I swear to God we didn’t do it!” I yelled. His response, “I told you not to use that f**ing grill!”
Putting Propane Man in Cuffs
In all, the fact that we managed to get the majority of Currituck County Emergency Services to show up on our doorstep was enough to make this trip memorable.
I was hoping to have the Coast Guard show up by Friday.
Next up… make sure you check those tidal charts before you go out for dinner.