Wake Up and Smell the Eggs by Craig J. Clark

John woke up to the sound of music, which confused him. He had gone to sleep listening to a CD, hadn’t he? Maybe when he was fumbling around for the power button in the night, he hit radio instead, but if that were the case, why would he have the radio tuned to a station playing crappy hard rock? Clearly this situation merited being looked into, preferably with his eyes open.

John rolled over and looked at his alarm clock. It was 9:12, which didn’t distress him because it was Saturday and he was allowed to sleep in on Saturdays. Next he looked at his bedside boombox, which he had succeeded in turning off the night before, so where was the music coming from? And furthermore, why did it have to be so terrible?

Sitting up, John pulled his blinds open and looked down on the parking lot outside his bedroom window. There he found his answer: one of his neighbors in the apartment complex was cleaning the interior of their car and was blasting their car stereo. They had the driver’s side door open and a couple boxes of cleaning supplies on the ground and the roof. John couldn’t see who was inside doing the cleaning, but he was fairly certain it was a guy. Women just didn’t listen to rocking songs about date rape.

Realizing that going back to sleep was not an option, John threw on his bathrobe and trudged downstairs to the kitchen to make breakfast. Unfortunately, the kitchen window was even closer to where the inconsiderate neighbor was turning their car into an earsore. John looked out the window and made a note of the license plate. He wasn’t about to go outside and have a confrontation at that moment – at least, not in his bathrobe – but he did want to leave the option open should he decide to take action in the future. Maybe he would leave a strongly worded note on the guy’s windshield. It was something to think about.

As he contemplated what the note would say, he opened his fridge and took out a carton of eggs. He looked at the date on the end and saw that it was February 22 – meaning it over a week past the expiration date. Were these eggs still good? How long did they keep? What would he do with them if they were rotten? And would he able to think with Nickelback’s “Figured You Out” blaring right outside his window?

John knew there was a way of testing whether an egg was still good. Somebody had forwarded it to him in an e-mail. It had something to do with filling a pot with cold water and placing the eggs inside it. If they floated it meant one thing and if they stayed on the bottom it meant something else. The problem was he couldn’t remember which one was which, and listening to Chad Kroeger sing about liking somebody’s pants around their feet wasn’t helping.

When the song was over, John breathed a sigh of relief, but this was short-lived as the next song started up. It was something by Kid Rock. It didn’t matter what it was, just the fact that it was a Kid Rock song clinched it. In a matter of moments, John forgot all about leaving a note. He also forgot about the pot of water test. Good or bad, his eggs were going to be put to a different use.

* * *

After the neighbor finished his clean-up job, John watched as he got in his car and drove off. John went about his business (he went with oatmeal for breakfast), looking out the window whenever he heard a car drive past. The rest of the day came and went and John didn’t see the offending car again until that night. It didn’t surprise him at all that he heard it coming since the guy had his window down and music cranked (something by Papa Roach this time), but to John’s dismay, there were no parking spaces near his apartment, forcing the neighbor to go around the corner. No matter. The longer he put off his retaliation, the rottener his weaponry would become.

John kept tabs on the neighbor’s car for the rest of the week. A couple times it was parked on his side of the building, but always too far away from his window. He didn’t want to risk hitting an innocent target. His golden opportunity came that Friday, though, when John came home from a movie to find the car parked in his usual spot beneath his bedroom window. Normally this would have incensed John, but it was perfect. More than perfect, it was providence. At last, fate was smiling on him.

Repairing inside, John went straight to the refrigerator, but stopped himself before opening it. It was still kind of light out. It would not do to take any chances of being caught in the act. He would wait. He’d waited this long, hadn’t he?

He killed time until well after two, when he was sure the majority of his neighbors would be in for the night. Turning out the light in his bedroom, John pulled the blinds up and opened his window about half a foot, letting in the cool February air. He found he could stick his whole arm out the opening, which would serve his purposes just fine. Bounding down the stairs to the kitchen, he opened the fridge and reached in for the eggs, but was dismayed to find they were missing. At first he thought maybe his roommate had moved them around – or even, gulp, eaten them – but they were nowhere to be seen.

He closed the door and looked inside the trashcan. Sure enough, the carton was in there and the eggs were all crushed. Sinking into a chair, John noticed the note on the refrigerator. It was a shopping list in his roommate’s hand. He took it down to read it.

½ gal. milk
½ lb. cheese
butter (NOT unsalted)
1 doz. eggs (the ones we had were way past the exp. date)
pap. towels
or. juice

They bought their own meat and other food for the most part, but shared the basic stuff. John sighed as he contemplated the list. He didn’t feel like going out right that minute, but if he was going to go through with his plan, he needed the eggs. Besides, fresh eggs would work just as well as rotten ones…



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When you first mentioned the bad hard rock, I heard Ratt, Foreigner, and Whitesnake. Taking it to the Nickleback/Kid Rock/Linkin Park realm ups the ante. I believe a situation like the one stated requires much more than eggs. Hearing Fred Durst's voice immediately escalates the DEFCON level to four at the very least.

I enjoy the subtle defeat that often creeps into your stories, Craig. It's as if the story, not the character, just quietly resigns at a certain point. It's catharsis without explosion.

Wow, I could really feel the disappointment near the end. I'm not sure exactly why, but it really was very clear and hit hard.

Linkin Park's actually a pretty good rock 'n' roll group, so I'm going to assume you, Chris, mentioned them accidentally. I'll agree with the rest, though. Except maybe Foreigner.

And Whitesnake (duh).

"In the still of the night
I hear the wolf howl, honey

Sniffing around your door

In the still of the night

I feel my heart beating heavy

Telling me I gotta have more..."

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This page contains a single entry by published on February 28, 2008 4:11 PM.

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