Looking back, it should have been the smell that clued me in that something wasn’t right. See, if it’s before I’ve had my morning cup of coffee, there could be a tornado running like a freight train through my kitchen and I’d barely blink.
I stumbled into the darkness of the kitchen that morning and fumbled through steps of making coffee.
Slowly, one tiny step at a time, I became reacquainted with the real world. Maybe it was the smell of animals that got me thinking breakfast.
Certainly unusual for my kitchen. If you’ve ever been the the county fair in any rural region of this country, you might have some approximation. Even better if it was on a rainy day. A damp and must aroma hung in the air.
A thought struck me out of the cobwebs of my brain. I remembered that it was Eat Ice Cream For Breakfast Day.
Nearly fully awake now, I pulled open the freezer hoping against all hope that there would be some forgotten container somewhere in the chilly depths. There it was, nestled like an igloo back behind a box of frozen “guilt free” macaroni and cheese.
After the refrigerator door closed the kitchen was again bathed in darkness. The coffee pot mumbled along, fulfilling its daily duty, but I was blind again. I reached out for the counter while still holding that freezing crumpled carton of chocolate ice cream.
My hand never found the counter. It found a scratchy woolen coat, slightly soaked and stretched tightly over a powerful gut. I recoiled instantly, feeling that shock of the unexpected. I did not, however, drop the blessed ice cream.
I stumbled backward, grasping for anything, blinking rapidly. I was desperate to find something to bring reality back. My sprawling hand found the light switch somehow and light showed the incredible scene.
The owner of the heavy wet coat was a sea captain, built like a smoky pot-bellied stove. His eyes narrowed down to me like I was some kind of unruly deckhand. He was a musty old fella, but his stout frame and firm gaze held me motionless.
My kitchen is just your regular old apartment kitchen. Nothing large or special in any way. He had command over the majority of it and I was stuck pinned between the refrigerator and his immense frame. He held my eyes for a few seconds and I attempted to take in just why this big burly man was standing in my kitchen.
His head turned quickly at the crackling sound of a bird’s squawk. My hand shot to my ear and I grimaced, but still held tight to the ice cream. The sound echoed in the small room.
The sea captain’s face scrunched at the noise but he kept his gaze on me. He obviously knew the source of the sound, and from his face I could tell he had heard that squawk more than a few times. I can’t be sure, but I think I saw him roll his eyes.
A floating mass of black and neon greens, reds, and yellows hovered up over his left shoulder and I saw an enormous toucan with a huge round marble of an eye. They really are bigger than you think they are, let me tell you. I had always imagined birds as being light, delicate creatures, but this guy had heft, and the smell to go with it.
The bird completed a low-flying swoop that made both me and the sea captain put our hands up and duck for cover, then perched with a flourish on my stove. In its wake a dozen or so giant black feathers floated down to the floor.
“Boy my wife is gonna be pissed about those. The kitchen floors are like, her thing,” were my first words to the boorish apparitions. Bird feathers are not cool, and they definitely aren’t clean. Surly sea captains are one thing, but birds? Not in my kitchen.
Looking up I saw that the toucan and the captain were no longer looking at me. It was my ice cream that they were focused on. My fingers tightened around the lid and it bent under the pressure.
The sea captain spoke slowly and with authority. “See, we’re here about the ice cream. You’re going to eat that for breakfast aren’t you?” He turned slightly and shared a nod with the toucan. Toucans are capable of nodding, but in a twitchy bird way.
“It’s Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day,” I explained.
“8 essential grains! 8 essential vitamins!” The toucan was flapping again and had its head turned in that weird way birds do where they peer at you from the side of their head. More feathers on the floor, some now scattered on the counter.
They obviously were concerned about the nutritional qualities of my breakfast. It now dawned on me that I was having an early morning argument about breakfast nutrition with Toucan Sam and Cap’n Crunch.
“I know who you are. You’re Touc-,” but before I could finish the Cap’n stepped forward with a massive sea boot and made a grab for the ice cream. I was pressed against the counter but still was fast enough to avoid him. He’d grown powerful during his years on the sea, but age had slowed him considerably.
I took serious umbrage at this assault, and quickly ripped open the cupboard and pulled a bowl down to the counter. I had a spoon out from the drawer in mere seconds. I turned my back on the two of them. I pointed the spoon like a dagger. “You’re not real. Just go away and let me eat ice cream!”
“Real! Essential! Vitamins! Grains!” I heard hopping, the bird’s big black talons scraping the counter top.
I turned to face them with a bowl full of ice cream. “Listen, your cereals have just as much sugar in them as this ice cream. Your cereal is basically just a big sugar bomb. So what’s the difference?”
Cap’n Crunch returned my argument with a bark. His sharp tone commanded attention, and I’ll admit I stood a bit straighter. “Eat that ice cream for breakfast and you’ll pay for it! You need wholesome grains! You need essential vitamins and minerals! That’s an order!”
With a quick flurry of activity I tore over to the cabinet behind Toucan Sam. More squawking, more feathers. I grabbed a box of Cap’n Crunch I knew I had stashed there.
They weren’t going to budge on the whole “cereal is essential” thing, and I wanted my ice cream. The Cap’n’s eyes were alight as I tore open the box. I dumped its conetnts with relish all over my ice cream.
“There! How’s that for essential grains? Now I have my nutrients and vitamins!” I stomped off, out in to the living room like a grumpy toddler.
That seemed to ended to standoff. I had my ice cream for breakfast after all.