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Mortimer Snert and the Barbeque

It was a strenuous day in the neighbourhood when Mortimer Snert arrived at his house. It had been a long day at the office and Mort was starving to death. Opening the door to the refrigerator, he discovered that Mother Hubbard had paid him a visit, and there was nothing there. Leaping in his trusty car, Mort headed to the supermarket. Arriving there, he headed down the first aisle, only to find nothing that he wanted for lunch. Oh sure, marshmallow cream was cool, but a person could only eat so much of that before it would make them arf. The same with double fudge cake frosting. Mort continued his journey. Plying down aisle after aisle of the same kind of junk, he was quickly running out of options. He was finally at the back of the store, where they kept the dead animals in the freezer section. Carefully browsing the animal morgue, Mort spied a package of cut up chicken. Now Mort did not deal well with dead animals, and/or blood and guts, but somehow, if someone else had killed it, then it was probably ok, as long as he didn't have to cut on it with a knife or anything. So this chicken fit the bill. Not only was it already dead (and it wasn't his fault that it was dead) but it was already cut up. So Mort bagged the chicken and wagged it to the checkout line. Along the way, he spotted a big bottle of barbeque sauce. Now Mort had a thing for barbeque, and especially barbequed chicken. In fact, people knew him as the king of barbeque. And he had not barbequed for a long time, and he decided that today was as good a time as any. Arriving back at the house, he dug out the bag of charcoal, and the lighter fuel, and a box of matches, and went out on the back porch. Carefully arranging the charcoal, Mort applied a healthy dose of lighter fuel to the barbeque, lit a match, and stood back. Now Mort was not a pyromaniac by any means, he just believed in getting a fire started well, and used enough fuel to do exactly that. The fact that his barbeque fires concerned his neighbours was no secret either. Mort remembered fondly one snowy night when he lived in OKC. He was working the late shift, and got home around midnight, starving as usual. He went upstairs to his apartment, and being a prime friday night, decided to barbeque. He went out on the balcony and arranged the barbeque, and lit it. Now what Mort did not realise was that the charcoal had gotten wet, and being as such, was a bit reluctant to light. After restarting the thing several times, he applied an inordinate amount of lighter fuel to the thing and lit it again. In no time at all, he had 10 foot tall flames bellowing out of the barbeque. Satisfied that it was indeed going to take this time, Mort went back inside and started preparing hamburgers to put on the grill. Outside he heard sirens, and thought nothing about it, after all, he lived near a hospital, there were sirens all hours of the day and night. Then he heard a bunch of noise on the balcony. He turned around just in time to see 2 large firemen with a 4" water line climbing over the railing on the balcony. He bolted for the door, and got there just as the firemen were about to douse the barbeque. Talking quickly, Mort convinced them not to squirt the thing, after all the grief he had gone to to get it started. He even offered them a burger, which they politely declined. They informed him that, although it was not illegal to barbeque late at night on the balcony of your apartment, in the dead of winter, it was probably not a real good idea, and they would appreciate it if they didn't have to come out again. Mort agreed, and followed them to the edge of the balcony. Looking down for the first time, he discovered just how serious this was. In the parking lot below his balcony were 4 fire engines and a ladder truck, and about 50 firemen. Oops, said Mort, Sorry. He wouldn't do it again. The next incident happened several years later when Mort lived next door to a bunch of psychos. Mort was outside during the day, happily barbequeing away, when the neighbour opened the window and shouted obscenities at him. Mort didn't understand exactly what the neighbour had said, and ignored her. Shortly thereafter, the fire department arrived on the scene. They told him that some lady had called and said someone was trying to burn her house down. Now Mort and the barbeque were a good 50 feet or so from her house, and the fire in the grill was miniscule compared to some of the others Mort had made. So the fire department left. The next time Mort barbequed, the cops showed up with a warrant for his arrest. When they saw what was happening, they also left. Now Mort was not usually a spiteful person, but he could see a pattern emerging here, and if this idiot lady was going to call the cops and the fire dept, he decided to give her something to complain about. So the next time he barbequed, he used a gallon of petrol to start the fire with. And he made enough noise before he lit it that the neighbour was certain to look out the window. As soon as he saw her face behind the curtains, he tossed a match onto the grill. The resulting explosion and flames impressed even Mort, who was usually not very easily impressed. By now, Mort was hearing the all too familiar sirens. Now, one thing that Mort discovered early on in his barbequeing career was that if you used petrol to light a barbeque, it made some impressive looking flames, for about a minute, and then went out. So, as the fire trucks turned onto Mort’s street, the flames were gone, Mort had clamped the lid onto the grill, and disappeared inside. Now fire departments take a pretty dim view of false alarms, and they had a long discussion with the neighbour lady. And Mort did not barbeque for a while after that, just for safety. So snapping back to reality, Mort was ready to head back inside and get the chicken ready to go when he heard sirens coming down his street.