Conflagratio suburbia

RANGE: Since hanging plants and other decorative foliage in the kitchen are often sensitive to smoke, many folks find it advisable to do their cooking out back, where all the trees and bushes (that spoiled the view) have already been cut down. Here, beside the great brick burger forges, cast iron weiner crematoria, and vast superheated kilns for the incineration of steaks, spuds, corn cobs, and sausages, the Backyard Barbacreep dances like the blue flame atop a decorative Hawaiian garden torch; and by his eerie light, we see bottles of bland condiments, fearful utensils of barbarous making, ribaldly inscribed paper napkins, frosty pitchers of fruitflavored sugar-free fluids, and terrified children, cowering women, and strangely garbed grown men performing the savage fire-lit rites of marinade.
HABITS: The Barbacreep defies nature—under his spell, the flash point at which charcoal ignites is raised to that of asbestos. Combustion can be achieved only after the ritual libation of several gallons of high octane fuel, after which the whole hibachi goes up in a fire storm, transporting many pounds of prime chuck, an awning, and your eyebrows into the Great Beyond. He puts mustard clots in the nozzle of the squeeze bottle; he lends to catsup the consistency of Kool-Aid; he loosens the cap on the salt shaker; he inspires the dog to heroic steak snatches—if possible from the hands of the boss’s wife; he causes deck chair collapses, eye-smarting wind shifts, midge plagues, dive bombing pigeons, fork gorings, second-degree grease burns, pool cramps, flash floods, and indigestion.
HISTORY: The Barbacreep’s ancestors were the horned and furryhaunched Satyrs of ancient Greece, who unwillingly used to participate in many a goat roast in Arcady. Today, their descendant wreaks his vengeance upon all who eat meat on sticks, on picnickers, campers, hikers, scout troops, and everyone else who contrives to cook out of doors.
SPOTTER’S TIPS: The Backyard Barbacreep is never far from half-baked franks composed of fly eggs, rodent hair, and earwig mandibles; nor from singing aunts; or stinging ants. He is often accompanied by raccoons, ravenous in-laws, and the occasional bear. Look for him in summer, leering over hedges and fences, hungrily sniffing the air for the scent of kerosene and singed human flesh.

*Backyard Barbacreep is a red-hot Texas tradition. Come an’ git it, before it gits you!


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