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Something breakfasty and sausage-like

Baconated on April 25, 2021.

The sweet smell of something breakfasty and sausage-like wafted up through the floorboards. I sniffed. Yes, sausage-like and breakfasty indeed. I inhaled deeply, nose hairs asplay and olfactory bulb fully deployed. The aroma smelled vaguely of the Synod of Whitby—a soft, smoky aroma with a sweet afternote suggestive not of frying tires but of sizzling pig. I inhaled again. Definitely pork a-sizzlin’ a-somewheres.

Someone was cooking a sausage-laden breakfast downstairs, I concluded. But… I was downstairs. And… Pnårp lives alone. Where did this warm, greasy smell come from? Had a hobo secreted himself into my basement to cook a breakfast of pork sausage? But… I didn’t have a stove in my cellar! Did he bring his own stove? And… ever since my cellar door had become hopelessly jammed shut in a euphonics accident back in 2013, there was no way into my basement without coming through my front door, back door, one of the thirteen ground-floor side-doors, or the multitude of windows dotting the walls of my home. And all of these housely orifices were protected by an intricate alarm system which would have rang, sang, clanged, banged, hooted, and shrieked nonstop if someone had broken into my abode, slunk down to the basement, and cooked phantom sausage on a phantom stove. Yet no ringing or singing, clanging or banging, or hooting or shrieking sounds had pealed forth from the bells and sirens and klaxons and loudspeakers dotting my roofs (of which there are many). So yours truly was truly at a loss.

And then I further remembered: Not only is my cellar door bunged up tighter than an old hobbit who ate three pounds of cheese in one go, not only is there no stove in the cellar, but… I don’t even have any floorboards. That clinched it. I dismissed this whole episode from my paltry mind: It was wholly impossible. Perhaps it was a hallucination—like how on Monday I had come to believe I was my alarm clock and my alarm clock was a Pnårp. Or it was another waking dream—like Tuesday’s reminiscences of life as a spine tingler in the employ of Emperor Spine the Cactus King.

Or it was another nascent neurosis—manifesting as delicious phantom smells this time. I had to admit, a bout of phantosmia was better than that spate of panic attacks I suffered in 2018 after believing I was going bald in my armpits. At least this odiferous sausage-fest didn’t inspire me to order a crate of merkins from Hong Kong.

“Or maybe it’s bacon.” Pensively, I took another sip of my potato juice. Not since Dirlewanger had met the Bagration had I been so stumped. I murped a little in my chair.

Alas, all this sausagery may have been imaginary, but that didn’t stop it from affecting me more profoundly as the day wore on. Oh, how these euosmic sausaginations set my mind afliver with agitation! That thick oleaginous aroma was making me hungry, dammit. Hungry and angry—and, if they had existed in English, as many other -gry words as I could string together into an intelligible sentence. (Which is more than most of the sentences I string together around here.)

Alas, those are the only -gry words in our whole expansive language. I was again at a loss. Time fled into the future where I couldn’t catch it… yet.

“By the Cross-Eyed God of Despair!” I swore mightily, startling time and stopping it in its tracks.

I was pregry now. Very, very pregry.

The smell of a glorious breakfast had continued wafting throughout my palatial abode for some hours now. It had intensified, thickening, and was almost visible now—a lurid haze filling the air. If this sweet, meaty aroma were real, there must be a veritable army in my basement cooking thousands of sausages and tons of bacon. But where did they come from? And why did they all secret themselves into my basement to prepare this greasy meat feast?

Endless strips of rippling bacon and turgid, glistening links marched through my mind—sizzling and dripping and juicy. Whole pigs were roasting on spits, miles and miles of them—a leviathan lū‘au—largifical and nigh limitless. The bespitten pigs beckoned me come hither to devour them. The bacon danced with the sausage in a lubricious tango. But I obstinately insisted all of it was a fervid dream, a bout of phantosmia and phantasmagoria rolled into one. So, so many doings that transpired in my meligudgeous little life were nothing more than manic episodes, psychotic breaks with reality, and sometimes full psychotic two-week vacations. Why would this be any different?

Breakfast time gave way to lunchtime, and the persistent smell of breakfast grew more surreal. Breakfast sausage at noon? Breakfast bacon at three o’clock in the afternoon? At four… at five? What was the world coming to?

The day dragged on and I remained solidly of two minds about the whole smelly affair, split between “A hobo is squattin’ and cookin’ his breakfast in your cellar!” and “This isn’t real, idiot!” One hemisphere of my brain wrestled with the other; it was right vs. left in a battle royale that made the right vs. left of American politics look like nothing more than elephantine jackassery. I gripped the arms of my easy chair, uneasily, and went wall-eyed again. Indecision reigned.

An obnoxious beeping, a piercing peep-peep-peeping, pealed forth from an alarm hanging near my ceiling clock—not my burglar alarm but just as cacophonous. I sprang to my heels, almost tipped over (being pregry and all), then righted myself—eyes wide in wrathsternation at the horrendulous and shrill shrieking wreaking havoc upon my eardrums. “Blargh and flargh!” I roared. “That’ll be enough of that!” I retrieved my broom and in short order had reduced the alarm to a multitude of small pieces of plastic and circuitry strewn across three rooms.

I stomped into the kitchen and glared at my perfidious oatmeal cookies. “How dare you let that infernal klaxon get the best of me!?” I continued roaring like a drunken lion. My oatmeal cookies just stared at me, their noses raised snootily in the air. None said a word. “Such high-falutin’ snutterbuffery has no place here!” I seized the first cookie and jammed it into my mouth whole. “Where’s your doG now, eh?” I sneered as I seized the next one, and the next one, and the next one, thrusting them all into my gaping maw and chewing viciously like some grotesque parody of Satan at the center of Dante’s Hell. Bits and pieces of dismembered oatmeal cookies flew everywhere, scattering on the countertop and the floor. In no time it was over—and I hadn’t even choked myself once.

I waddled, still quite pregrant, over to my refrigerator and pulled out a jar of marmorated mushrooms bought last week. They were sitting placidly in their jar, marmorating slowly, each passing day becoming more vinegaricious. However, what was on my mind now were long tons of long pork sizzling sweetly beneath my palatial abode, not mushrooms. I wanted answers. So, down the hatch went the mushrooms—each and every one—followed by the marmorade in which they’d been steeping. “That’ll show you little traitors!”

I momentarily thought about marinating a marmoset, but such an endeavor made so little sense I dismissed the idea from my addled pate before it even appeared. The yellow, porky haze filling my parlor was so thick now I surmised I could cut it with a knife. I pulled out my biggest chef’s knife, and—

Pork butt!! I howled suddenly. Revelation struck. “Aw, snapcracklepop! I know what it is!”

I hustled my bursiform body down the cellar stairs, only tripping three times on the thirteen steps. Still panicking at the revelation of what was amiss in my cellar, but basking in the success of making it down a whole flight of stairs with all my bones unbroken and both my noses still attached (and straight!), I hurled open the cellar door and flicked on the light.

In my basement, I keep five 55-gallon drums of rendered and filtered pig fat for emergencies: One never knows when 275 gallons of extra-virgin hog oil will come in handy. During the pork belly shortage of December 2016, I had acquired these barrels when the local hog-rendering plant had gone belly-up. With no pork bellies to polish nor trotters to shine, all their grease stocks had become superfluous; they had auctioned it off in four-drum lots. By auction’s end I ended up with two whole lots. It cost me only $25 (plus $600 to rent the forklift and truck, another $600 for a twelve-man crew to carry it down into my basement, and $1,200 for liability insurance when the work crew saw the condition of the staircase.) A ha’decade later, I still have five barrels of this delicious, delicious lard stored in my basement, waiting for the next emergency.

And now one of the barrels was on fire.

“Well, poop,” I swore meekly. “So that’s all it was.”