As I stated, Garrett and I worked in the kitchen together. As such, a glorious culinary rivalry began. We had pancake pooping races (it’s not what you think) and oatmeal clashes (the best being his spectacular Burnt Beelzebub’s Bungalow fail), but the most memorable were the Great Gravy Wars. I gathered my sausage soldiers, and he his bacon battalion and the lines were drawn. We enlisted the entire dish crew, headed by Neil “The Chief” Barton. With a massive crowd of spectators, the combat began. While Garrett and his fried pig strips put up a respectable fight, my mysterious mashup of pork won the day. Garrett has still not fully recovered from the wound, nor will he admit that sausage gravy is superior to bacon gravy.
Garrett, while usually staid and thoughtful, would sometimes surprise me. The squirrel incident was probably the most notable of these anomalies. We had planned to fly fish on the Kings’ River that afternoon, and I was to pick Garrett up from the trailer he shared with Neil. When I knocked on the door, I expected Garrett to come out ready to head to the canyon. What I encountered caught me off guard, so much so that it was the only time I actually felt uneasy and even scared around Garrett.
The small side door swung open abruptly, and Garrett, with a crazed look in his one good eye and a rifle in one hand, grabbed me with the other and pulled me inside. The door nearly hit me as he slammed it shut and said, “There’s a squirrel in the trailer, and I’m going to get him.” Garrett then proceeded to explain the plan. “He’s under the entertainment center. You take this vertical blind and flush him out. When he runs out, I’ll shoot him.” As many crazy things as I had done in my life, shooting inside a dwelling was not one of them, and I suggested it was a bad idea and asked what might happen if he missed. “I won’t miss. It’ll only take one shot.” I agreed to execute his plan, not because I was particularly inspired by his confidence, but more form a morbid desire to see what would happen next.
I jammed the thin piece of plastic under the entertainment center, and sure enough a gray rodent spit out from underneath at mach 3 and made his way toward Garrett who was awaiting him in the kitchen. At least six shots from the .22 caliber rifle rang out in quick succession, yet the squirrel streaked down the hallway unscathed. Garrett was vexed by this poor showing on his part, so he proceeded to track the intruder who had apparently been raiding Neil and Garrett’s pantry for the past few weeks – a deed clearly warranting the death penalty. I was not far behind as Garrett stopped in the doorway to the bedroom. There was the critter perched atop Neil’s mountain of clean – yes, clean – clothes. I thought there would be a standoff since, after all, Garrett wouldn’t want to get blood on his roommate’s clothes. Wrong. A single gunshot proved my theory incorrect. The wounded animal ran past us, down the hall and then under the fridge where it expired. Just then, Neil came home from work. After a bit of cleaning and “squirrel-splaining,” we finally left for a relatively uneventful trip to the river.