It's early on a wintry Saturday morning, gray as an undertaker's chin, and I'm trying to steal an extra hour of precious rest. I tore my schnitzel playing touch football last weekend and I need to nurse the injury as long as I possibly can. In fact, they were asking about it after church the other day.
"How's his schnitzel?"
"I hear it might be torn."
Anyway, I'm trying to rest the schnitzel, keep it elevated, reduce the swelling, you know the routine. Lots of luck. For the folks next door are frying up some bacon, the best smell of all time. A smell you could sell on EBay.
"Smoked pork?" I think to myself. "Am I still in L.A.?"
The little guy is in bed next to me. He smells it too. Poor kid, he has seldom smelled something so irresistible and it's messing with his 17 senses. "What's that smell?" he says, like a hound dog sniffing his first bear.
His mother -- my wife -- is always serving crazy hippie food for breakfast: blueberries, yogurt, egg whites, granola. Not bacon. If you slip her 20 bucks, she might lose her morals for a moment and sneak you an actual egg yolk. But bacon? Never.
What a state, California. We have 25 million people, 75 million raccoons and maybe three hogs. If you've ever tried to buy a decent pork chop here, you know just what I'm talking about.
"Go back to sleep," I tell the little guy.
And right away he doesn't. The scent of frying bacon has created a primal stirring in him that sleep will not answer. He dreams of a lot of things -- chocolate waterfalls, dogs that play baseball, skunks that can dunk -- but he has never dreamed of something so wonderful as bacon. I know this, for he is always explaining his dreams to me as if we were both in them together -- like some safari we are recalling later over brandy.
"Can we get up now?"
"Go to sleep."
He puts his head down on the pillow. He blinks twice, inhales the bacon smell, and boomerangs back awake.