Chocolate, she said, we need chocolate.
We were immersed in the spooky depths of a conversation about poltergeists and she wanted chocolate. Fair play, I thought, there's nothing better than a Friday night pig-out. Doctors, I believe, recommend it.
A friend of my wife has been experiencing bizarre and creepy things in her home. More recently the happenings suggest a poltergeist is having the time of its life. In actual fact my wife used to live in that same house. Her family also had their fair share of such experiences. I won't go into them in detail but here's an example. The house is a fully detached farmhouse, there are no immediate neighbours and at the time it had no piano. Often during the night they would hear a piano being played. If they went downstairs to investigate the music would stop.
Still discussing the poltergeist we made our way to the kitchen. Unfortunately we were out of chocolate but we did have some cocoa powder. My wife demanded that I make one of my specialities. Sticky chocolate puddings. We needed one, she said.
It is the simplest of recipes. Whack an egg, cocoa powder, butter, flour and sugar in a bowl, shove it in the microwave for 90 seconds with a plate over the top and a sticky spongy feast of goodness will fill the bowl. Let it cool for a minute, turn the bowl over, lift it up and a perfectly formed pudding will plop onto the plate.
Like I say, it is the simplest of recipes. But when poltergeists are being discussed anything can happen. I couldn't find the sugar. My wife remembered that we only had golden sugar. I rummaged through the cupboard, took the sugar jar down from the top shelf and we continued our conversation.
Recently in the farmhouse things have been going missing. Clothes, jewellery, books, ornaments. So what, you might be thinking. So what, I thought, any scatterbrained individual can lose a bunch of stuff. The other day my wife's friend was walking down the stairs. She was home alone. She heard footsteps behind her, slow stomping footsteps. She swung round and the footsteps stopped. There was a terrifying presence on the stairs.
She'd had enough. With great presence of mind she addressed the poltergeist. She demanded that it return all her things and then leave. Half an hour later she was walking past the stairs. On the bottom step were all her things. Clothes, jewellery, books and ornaments, all in a neat little pile.
I didn't know what to make of all this. Poltergeists pose all sorts of complex theological questions. Some people deny they exist. Tell that to a poltergeist and it will nick your stuff. For starters, what the hell are they? Demons? Human spirits trapped in this world? The disembodied souls of deranged hamsters? My febrile mind was in overload, painfully shunting thoughts around as if they were heavy boxes. I took the pudding out of the microwave. Something isn't right, observed my wife, inspecting the the damn thing. She picked up what I had assumed was the sugar jar.
That's couscous, she said. I had made a sticky chocolate pudding with couscous instead of sugar. It tasted rancid. I suspect we may have a mischievous poltergeist. It lives in the kitchen cupboard and switches the contents of jars around with a devil-may-care attitude.
Either that or men simply cannot multi-task.