This is part 2 of The Pepper Soup
“Did you trip and fall, Steph?” my Greek co-worker asked. He was grinning ear-to-ear as the entire office gathered around the small kitchen to witness the mess.
“No, I just opened my soup,” I muttered, as I desperately tried to scrub the red and orange goop off the wall.
“Did you shake it up first?” the secretary asked, who was at least helping with the cleanup, but obviously laughing her butt off.
“No,” I said firmly. “I just opened my soup.”
“Did you put the metal container in the microwave before you opened it?” asked my concerned Polish colleague.
“No, I just opened my frakkin soup! Dammit, people, I was getting ready to pour it into a microwave-safe bowl, not trying to burn the whole office down.”
My boss chimed in, “Was the soup hot when you put it in the container? Maybe it was too hot and it expanded and-”
“No, it would have had the adverse affect and actually condensed,” the Greek argued.
My boss pointed her finger at him, hands still full of wet paper towels, “But it still could have caused some sort of vacuum.”
I thought for a moment. “No, it was barely lukewarm. It chilled for an episode of “Family Guy” before I put it away. So, with fast-forwarded commercials…approximately 22 minutes of cooling time.”
“Perhaps it was a reaction from the pepper and metal. Corrosion?” the Italian guy mentioned, his mouth full of potato chips. He was leaning nonchalantly on the back counter, munching on his lunch while watching the spectacle.
The Polish guy followed his cue and and started unwrapping his sandwich. “Or maybe it was bacterial growth. Were the peppers bad?” He dropped several pieces of shredded lettuce on the freshly wiped floor.
I rolled my eyes, “Yes, I cooked rotted pepper soup. Just like in dah Old Country.”
The Greek rubbed his chin. “Perhaps the soup was offgassing.”
“Did you fart in it or something?” asked some Dumbass, I don’t remember who.
“No, seriously, some fruits and vegetables release gasses and ‘breathe’,” the Greek assured. “I saw it on Discovery.”
I craned my neck to remove chunks of pepper from behind a ceiling panel. “Yeah, but bell peppers don’t release as much ethylene as apples. After all, jars of apple sauce don’t explode like this.”
The Italian guy laughed, “Why the hell do you know about bell pepper gas?”
The Greek smiled, “I always have bell pepper gas, wanna smell? I can spray you like a skunk.”
I ignored him. “Because granny taught me to be frugal with my fruits and veggies. One bad apple spoils a bunch because apples release ethylene. Some fruits and veggies release more than others.”
“Eww, NEEEERD!” yelled Dumbass. Everyone laughed. I ignored them and tried to remove the drop ceiling tiles, but only managed to cover my head with flakes of drywall and nearly fall off the ladder.
“Are you people going to help me get out these ceiling tiles or are you going to keep judging me while you eat your gross armpit-smellin’ sandwiches?”
“You know, there is only one solution to this problem,” said the Greek. He smiled evilly. “MYTHBUSTERS! Let’s get Steph on the show.”
I gr0aned. “Get out! I broke the kitchen. No myths! No busting! You’re not helping!”
“Yes, I think we did the best we could,” my boss said, disappointed, as she carefully stepped down from the countertop.
The crowd slowly filed out of the kitchen, and the Polish guy and Greek took pity on me and offered to help with the ceiling tiles. As the Greek climbed the ladder, he glanced down at me and started started laughing hysterically. From his point of view, he saw this:
“Stephanie, you even have soup in your hair. Why didn’t you go wash off first?”
“I was worried that the boss would think I found myself a priority over the office fixtures. I’m washable. The brand new lighting system is not.”
He came off the ladder. “Oh, god, you have soup in your EAR! Go hose yourself off, we just installed the new shower in the gym area.”
I walked into the bathroom, probably dripping soup everywhere, when I was confronted with our brand new shiny gym shower. And then I realized it was so new that no one had a chance to install any sort of shower curtain, or any sort of lock on the door.
I was faced with a choice – walk around with soup in my hair all day, or potentially expose myself to all of my coworkers if someone walked in.
So. What would YOU do?