The following tale is based on true events. I feel forced to disclose it to the public, in the hope that some good might come from what has passed. The events in question took place on a godless, dreary Wednesday night in October. I had just returned from an evening lecture, and as I had exited The Portland Building the heavens had opened and the sky had fallen, drenching the land for miles so heavily that it kneaded everything to a thick, pizza dough. Slamming the back door behind me and squelching in to the kitchen of my humble abode I felt my clothes cling to me like adoring fans to a washed out boy band. I took off my smeared glasses and tried to dry them on my sodden t-shirt. But it was to no avail. Losing my temper I threw my glasses down on the counter top and filled the kettle. I didn’t usually have sugar with my tea, but tonight I needed at least two teaspoons if I were to be able to endure the company of my housemates with any civility.
As I sat in the darkness of the kitchen, listening to the slow hissing of the heat element, I realised I was hungry. I pondered whether to make cheese on toast, or simply order a takeaway and to hell with the money. As the ponderance crossed my mind, in that exact second, a flash of lightning tore across the ragged sky outside, illuminating the kitchen and my eye was drawn, as if by the very hand of Beelzebub himself, to a dusty old student cookbook that stood on the kitchen shelf. I do not know what possessed me, but before I knew what I was doing my hand was reaching involuntarily towards it. Blowing at the thick layer of dust on the cover, I opened the book. I thumbed through it a few minutes. There were a few salads that might have been good in Summer, a stew or two to appease the appetite of anyone with time on their hands, but nothing to satisfy the wants of an impetuous, wet, cold, hungry lazy bones such as myself. I put down the book and made a cup of tea.
I returned to the table. But the book had changed while I my back was turned. It now lay on a new page, one I had not seen. I was certain I had been looking at a page about boiling sprouts before. Now it lay on page one six nine. One hundred and sixty nine. Thirteen multiplied by thirteen. Bad Luck squared. Had I considered this significant at the time I would have immediately turned away, but instead my attention was drawn to the title this recipe gave itself: Thai Green Chicken Curry. I glanced at the preparation time: 30 minutes. I glanced at the ingredients: easy to obtain. I decided then that this would be my meal for the evening, and as the fires of the damned flashed across the sky I ran through Satan’s downpour to the co-op.
Ten minutes later, dripping with perspiration and jittery with enthusiasm I assembled the ingredients of my undoing before me. I cut up the chillies, un-dit the lid of the curry paste jar, opened the tin of coconut milk and washed my hands rigorously before preparation. It was complete, I was ready to begin. Ready that is, except for the chicken. The recipe called for skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut in to chunks. The chicken thighs I had bought clearly came from skin covered, bone filled chickens. I rationalized that I could pull off the skin, remove the flesh from the bone and still be left with all the flesh I needed to cook. I begin the sordid task with the kitchen’s only good serrated knife, cutting at flesh, hacking at ligament, tearing at tendon. Blood spattered my face, the vestiges of gore bedecked my hands, but finally I extracted sufficient chicken meat to make the curry. Oh how I wish that I had given up at that moment! that sloth had tempted me to say “bugger it” and order a pizza. Clearly the Devil had another agenda that night.
Once finished I devoured half the meal in one sitting and put the rest in the fridge. During the washing up I noticed I still had the remains of the chicken thighs on a plate, the bone the skin, and some of the flesh stuck on the bone that the knife had not removed. These, I threw in to the bin. I did not bother to note that the bin bag was empty, having only been recently changed. I slept happily that night on a full stomach. Thursday brought no misadventure. The sun rose, I awoke and the day passed without event. That night I had the last of the curry and again slept happily on a full stomach. As I breakfasted on Friday morning, there was a strange smell. Thinking nothing of it I left the house expecting nothing out of the ordinary, but on my return that evening I was struck at the rancidity that filled my nostrils. My eyes watered, my lungs craved air, and my stomach wrestled with my oesophagus in a bid to shed its load. Luckily I held my breath and approached the source of the stench. Entering the kitchen, I followed the waves of odour to the bin, wherefrom emanated this most repugnant aroma. I lifted the lid.
Maggots feeding on the remains of the chicken I had discarded that Wednesday. Dozens of maggots, hundreds of maggots wriggling and squirming and wriggling a bit more as they squirmed away at the edge of that black plastic bag. I would have vomited, but luckily at that moment I soiled myself instead.
I did not stop to wallow in bitter humiliation, however. I picked up the bag, carried it outside and deposited it in the black bin. I made sure the lid was firmly fastened before throwing away my trousers and showering liberally, breathing silent thanks that the worst was behind me. Sadly I was wrong. As I slept the drugged sleep of the insomniac the maggots were planning their revenge. They had grown accustomed to living in the relative comfort of the kitchen and were not going to give up their territory so easily. Sending newly metamorphosed fly messengers they dispatched communications to the local urban wildlife. By midnight they had collected their forces, in the small hours they planned their attack and at dawn they struck.
I was still in bed when it happened, drugged in order that I might not wake screaming in the night. My housemate Rebecca answered when the doorbell went. She was curious to find that there was no one there, which is when the badgers took out her legs. She fell and was caught on a bed of silk and wrapped into a ball by a hundred spiders, before being dragged to the her room by feral foxes. The other housemates received similar fates as they woke, one managing to take out some of the pigeons before being knocked unconscious by some fluffy rabbits.
It was several hours later that I awoke. I am apt to tread softly upon the morn, so when I stumbled in to the living room and came face to face with the collective wildlife of Highland road watching Jeremy Kyle, the surprise was mutual. The rats acted first, climbing up my legs and scratching at my face. Luckily I was able to grab one of the pigeons and beat them off me without sustaining too much damage. It was then that a vixen flying kicked me in the back of the head, sending me falling into the badgers who promptly tore off one of my ears. I was not done for however. Seizing and tying two rabbits together by the ears I created a set of makeshift nunchucks, which I used to beat the badgers senseless. I then was able to some the pigeons uncooked rice that I happened to have with me at the time and use them as crude grenades to disable the rest of their ranks. I was standing there revelling in my glory, when a swift kick to the back of my knee sent me to the floor. I turned round, and there before me stood an eight-foot maggot man, comprised entirely of thousands of individual maggots working in unison to form a solid man-shaped mass. They were back! I kicked it where I thought it would hurt. It made no difference and I was picked up a hurled full strength at the wall. I tried using the rabbit nunchucks, but it was useless!
In desperation I ran from the living room in to the kitchen, barring the door with the house mop. In my desperation I came to the conclusion that the battle was already lost and decided that there was only one course of action. I did the thing that I had seen on the Bourne Supremacy, starring Matt Damon directed by Paul Greengrass and based on the book by Robert Ludlum: I turned on the gas on the cooker, set the toaster on ten, put in a copy of Heat magazine, detailing the divorce proceedings of Pete André and Katie Price, against the red hot metal and ran. The gas ignited when I was part way down the street and the house erupted in orange flame. The eight-foot maggot menace was no more. I only had time to reflect later that my housemates must still have been in the house when it blew up.
‘Oh well,’ I thought. ‘Better luck next time.’