This weekend, while most people are asking themselves, "Will Lebron James stay in Cleveland?" James Brubaker should have been asking himself and anyone with some compassion, "Do you think these burgers are done?"
After taking advantage of the First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit, the Brubakers settled on their 3 bedroom ranch home in early June.
To celebrate, the couple decided to throw a small neighborhood 4th of July barbecue to get to know the neighbors and show off their new abode. The friendly invitation turned in to an afternoon of nauseating events that landed 3 people in the hospital and 1 cocker spaniel in a local veterinarian emergency room.
Two weeks ago, Mr. Brubaker purchased a discounted charcoal grill without much thought.
"We can't seem to get out of Lowe's without spending $200, so when I saw how much cheaper the charcoal grills were, I went forward with the purchase."
On the now infamous Cul de Vomit Barbecue, as the locals have dubbed the debacle, Mr. Brubaker struggled with the charcoal briquettes for close to an hour before igniting an awkward pyramid.
An excessive amount of briquettes and lighter fluid led to extreme heat which did not mix well with the oversized burgers. Brubaker sipped from his Corona and yucked it up with neighbors for several minutes before making the bold assumption that the burgers were ready.
Nearby resident and neighborhood gossip, Mimi Shuster verified that those burgers were most definitely not done.
"The burger was an odd mix of burnt meat and undercooked nastiness. After my first bite I could taste charcoal and then I felt something mushy hit my tongue. As I pulled the burger away from my mouth I could see the blood red ground beef staring back at me. There aren't enough condiments on the planet to fix that mess," said a disgusted Shuster.
After making the discovery, Mrs. Brubaker discretely removed the burgers from the table but the damage was done. Panicked guests were spitting up their food and frantically searching for the location of the home's two bathrooms for purging purposes. For those guests unable to get to the bathroom the vomit quickly filled up the new Pier 1 wicker furniture and extinguished the carefully laid out citronella candles.
Those who had earlier sampled the potato salad were served a double dose of gross.
"In hindsight, buying bulk potato salad at 9pm from the grocer was a bad idea. The price was right, but your stomach will have a clearance sale of its own, if you know what I mean," said a distraught Brubaker.
"I even ran out to the pharmacy to pick up some ipecac for a few suffering neighbors."
The odd decision to give guests ipecac turned things from bad to worse quickly.
"Why the hell would she give us ipecac?" said an angry neighbor. "I thought it was some type of antacid, but quickly (and painfully) realized that my night of horror was just beginning."
A transcript of the 911 call placed at 5:05pm helped put the scene in perspective:
Dispatcher: 9-1-1, what is your emergency?
Caller: It's everywhere! I can't stop..(vomit sound) please God help. Tell police to shoot me to stop this pain.
Dispatcher: Ralph, can you hear me? Do you need an ambulance sir?
Caller: We may need two, please hurry. And my name isn't... [line goes dead]
The first EMS team to arrive described it as a crime scene with vomit.
"I thought I had seen it all and had my gag reflex removed, but this was unlike anything we had dealt with before. We are going to use this event as training for other EMS units."
24 hours later, all guests have been discharged from the hospital and will probably avoid burgers for a few decades.
The homeowner's association has passed a motion to prohibit Mr. Brubaker from any future grilling activities.