Bury a Smoking Log is a funny short story about Mike in his back yard at midnight wearing nothing but his underwear while burying a smoking log in the garden.
By Michael R Dougherty
Have you ever been in the middle of an emergency and realized that what you were doing might look a bit strange?
My family and I had just moved into a new town home and were enjoying a nice evening in our family room in front of our new fireplace. I had put a big log on the fire that would continue to burn well into the night.
Before heading off to bed, I made sure the fire was out and I positioned the big log with it's glowing coals in the middle of the fireplace, just to be safe.
But long about midnight I woke up to discover that our house smelled very strongly of fireplace smoke.
So I woke up my wife Mary to let her know what was going on. Then I stumbled out of bed and ran down the stairs to make sure our house wasn't on fire.
Even in my sleepy midnight state of mind I could tell that the smoke was coming from our family room. So I made my way into the room where I saw that the smoke was coming from the big log in our fireplace. Apparently our new chimney wasn't venting properly, so now our new home smelled like a smokehouse.
My sleepy mind raced as I stood there coughing from the smoke-filled air. Our house wasn't on fire, but we couldn't sleep in a house filled with smoke.
Suddenly, through the fog of my sleepy mind and smoky vision, a brilliant idea was born.
I quickly grabbed the fireplace tongs and used them to get a good hold on the smoking log. I picked up the log and headed for the back door of our house. Once at the door, I tightened my grip on the fireplace tongs with my left hand and used my right hand to open the door.
During this clumsy process, and because I'm right handed, I kept worrying that I would drop the hot, smoking log on my foot, or set our house on fire by brushing up against the curtains with the hot coals on the log.
With a click of the lock and a turn of my right wrist, I managed to get the back door open and I headed for the backyard and our vegetable garden.
After putting the glowing, smoking log down on the dirt of our garden, I ran over to our shed to get a shovel.
Moments later, I was back in the garden, digging a hole in the dirt so I could bury the log.
As I began my excavation, it suddenly occurred to me that when you live in a townhouse, your neighbor's homes are right next to you, and that anyone who heard the noises coming from our backyard at this ghastly midnight hour might look out their window to see what was going on.
Then it hit me -
I had sprung out of bed in nothing but my underwear - no T-shirt, just my briefs.
There I was, in my backyard on a moonlit night, burying a glowing, smoking log in my garden. A very strange sight indeed.
This was the stuff TV crime shows were made of.
I laughed at the idea and then I realized that manic laughter would only make things look worse. So I got busy with the task at hand. Get the smoking log buried as fast as I could.
I would explain my strange midnight underwear behavior to my neighbors in the morning.
When the hole in the garden was big enough, I picked up the still smoking log with the fireplace tongs and lowered it into the waiting hole. Then I picked up the shovel and buried the log with the moist dirt from the garden.
There I stood, in nothing but my underwear shorts, shivering in the moon light while looking down at my midnight garden excavation project. No smoke was coming from the ground, so my brilliant idea had been a success.
Back in the house, I cleaned the dirt off my bare feet. Then Mary came down the stairs and opened the front door to help clear out the remaining smoke.
Then Mary took one look at me and asked "why do you have dirt of your feet? What happened?"
I quickly explained what I had done to ride the house of smoke.
Then Mary gasped in horror -
"You were out in the back yard in your underwear burying a smoking log?"
Surely we were now social outcasts.
The next morning I told my story, underwear and all, to our teenage daughter Nikki and son Christopher who insisted that I take them out to the garden to dig up the log so they could see for themselves.
Out in the garden I unearthed the log and Nikki and Chris broke into gales of hysterical laughter as they pictured their dad standing in the garden in nothing but his underwear, burying a smoking log at midnight.
Much to my relief and especially the relief of my family, none of our neighbors had seen me walking around our backyard at midnight in my briefs holding the smoking log. So I had no explaining to do.
Now here's the lesson to this story -
If you ever find yourself in a situation like this, for Heaven's sake, put on a pair of pants before you go outside.
Have fun and keep laughing
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