My eyes instinctively shut and I jerked backwards as I was overwhelmed by the repugnant & revolting stench of burned human hair choking me.
Momentarily stunned, it took me a second to retrace all the events that led up to this horrific moment, starting with my discovery of two mud-covered tea lights laying in my garden. They were backup tealights, placed inside my Jack-o-lanterns on Halloween.
They were quite unpleasant to look at, so I figured I'd see if they still worked. If they did, I'd light them and get them out of the way. "Besides," I thought, "I like candles."
I picked up my dollar store BBQ lighter, identical to the kind you can buy at Canadian Tire or Home Depot for three times what I paid. It was yellow.
The first pull of the trigger was much like the 10th, and the 15th... and the 20th. I aimed the BBQ lighter at the tea lights and pulled the trigger over and over again. Each time I was greeted with the same empty 'click'.
I figured something had to be wrong with the lighter. I shook it, I pointed up in the air, I tried everything. Nothing. I looked for the tiny window that indicated how much butane remained. The level was low, but it still should have lit.
I shook the lighter again and again, and continued pulling the trigger, each time getting more and more frustrated. Click. Click. Click. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.
The next moment reminded me exactly of the morons you read about in the Darwin Awards, and of Yosemite Sam, Wile E. Coyote, or any of the less intelligent Looney Tunes characters who looked down the barrel of their gun to see what was wrong with it.
That moment, which my brain was finally able to piece together from all the fragmented memory bits, was when I tried to smell whether or not gas was actually coming out of the lighter.... as I shoved it up my right nostril, and clicked the trigger.