As a rule, cooking can suck it. I’m a busy person, and I can’t be bothered with more ingredients than I can carry. Think the law of the desert. That being said, a deadly cocktail of shopping whilst hungry and being flush with a brand new paycheck created a perfect storm of purchasing power. That financial maelstrom drove me to buy a giant package of Kroger brand bacon strips. The thick kind. None of that hickory smokedness, neither. It was a heart attack wrapped in a medusa and coated in ambrosia. I couldn’t have resisted it if I had packed my mouth with peanut butter.
Cooking is tough. It requires concentration, stomach, and balls. Cooking is like being a parent a half dozen times per week. Not a good parent, mind you. The kind that eats the kid, but a parent nonetheless. Just like a parent, if you are cooking in the kitchen, everyone with something else to do goes and does it, and you’re stuck in the kitchen. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll whip up some bangin’ spaghetti or some delectable stove-seared chicken, but it’s not exactly a complex recipe.
Tonight was no exception. Perhaps it was the bacon just begging to be eaten, or the knowledge that a mere 10 minutes of low-impact cooking was the only thing standing in the way of my innards and these innards, but the mood had fully entranced me. The bacon strips fell neatly onto the quickly warming pan. There was momentum. Molecular collisions were happening more frequently now. Soon, my delicious bacon. Smoke poured from the pan and a deftly applied finger soon told me that the exhaust fan was no longer in business. Having burned more than a few bags of popcorn and once even made pot brownies so potent that our house smelled of marijuana for a week, I was extra sensitive to being ‘that roommate’. I turned and opened the patio door as wide as it would go and cracked cold fusion to make that little metal around that piston thing keep the door open somehow. The rest of the cook went off without a hitch. The smoke went (mostly) out the door, and it was time to devour the spoils. I walked to the eating nook and sat in one of the directors chairs that allows the occupant a fair shot at using the stilted table like a normal person. As I brought the fork down hard onto the plate of freshly cooked, soggy bacon, I saw a coyote. It had poked its head into the kitchen for reasons (in this writer’s opinion) likely related to the bacon smell. I wasn’t particularly afraid of the coyote because I wasn’t processing it on very intelligent level. I should have shouted, gotten big, anything, but I was just thinking about how crazy it was to see a coyote in the house, and that if he was someone’s pet, they should be more careful with the doors if they’re going to own a coyote. Eventually the coyote and I felt awkward from looking at each other, but instead of leaving, the coyote lept onto the other directors chair. There were two chairs there, and only one was being occupied. In the coyote’s defense, it probably looked to him like I had made bacon in hopes of making a coyote friend for whom I had set a seat out.
And really, what kind of human would I be if I didn’t give the coyote any bacon? Jesus Christ, it’s a coyote after all. When is he going to have another chance to eat freshly cooked bacon? Bacon? I don’t want this to turn into a Jim Gaffigan, but come on now son. Here I was, having just made far too much bacon for a normal person who wants to end the day with the same amount of functional arteries as he started it with, and I couldn’t give this coyote just ONE piece? No, at that moment I made my decision. I would treat this as a fully respectful date, and this coyote would get half. Call it a prenup, but I got up to get another plate.
The sudden move startled the coyote, as is consistent with the effect these types of moves have on wild animals. It did not jump ship and run away. I sensed that it wanted to, but maybe it felt that would be rude. Perhaps it had realized that since I had not set a plate out for the coyote, I was also not expecting a wild fucking toothed creature to come into my house. I half expected the coyote to cut his losses, hoover down the entirety of the bacon deposit, and high tail it onto the front page of the coyote newspaper. “Coyote Steals Best Human Food On Record.” That could have been the coyote. But when I got back to the table with the extra plate (a pretty nice one by the way), the coyote was sitting there as if it had been dead. It wasn’t. This isn’t that kind of story.
I used a pair of salad tongs to pass the coyote his plate. I’m a good host, but I’m not some kind of idiot. The tongs had a touch of bacon grease on them from when I used them to precision flip the strips, so the plate-table-slideoff was pretty well-lubricated. I have made 12 slices because I thought it was as good a night as any to have a heart attack, and splitting them in two actually made me feel respectable. I ate my bacon slowly and the coyote did the same, both of us savoring the impossible temporariness of this moment. We didn’t talk much. He wasn’t a sports fan, and I didn’t know any words in coyote language. I was considering howling, but I figured that would have been roughly the same as if I had asked a Native American person over for dinner and unleashed an Indian war chant a la the lone ranger at him. I bet he would have been offended heap big time. The same goes for the coyote. And pregnant women. If you’re not absolutely sure, don’t say anything. It’s a simple rule.
I wanted the meal to last longer. I wanted something more to happen. I was waiting for him to talk or spell a word out in the bacon like “HELP!” The ‘P’ would have been tough, but I probably would have gotten it by H-e-l, and we would have worked out some other way of communicating. I wanted to get attacked a little bit and then fight the coyote off. I wanted a baby coyote to come by and I would be its uncle or something. I wanted a female coyote to come by next and be a totally boss wingman for my coyote bro. I would give him some bacon to him to give to his lady and she would be down for whatever with him after that. I’d be the coyote version of Cyrano de Bergerac, but I wouldn’t be all ugly like he was. I got a little sad thinking of all the crazy things that should have happened that I barely noticed the coyote jump off the chair and land neatly in front of the open door. Without so much as a look back it bounded out into the night and I never saw him again. And he didn’t even pitch for the bacon. What a dick.