People scared, the fire,
Unexpected, NO! Stop.
It will not stop. Whoosh.
The Actual Fire
At 2 a.m. I was settled in my bed, and my daughter rushed into my room. Mom, we need to call 911, there’s a truck, on fire, in the road! I got to the window, people were scattering, running, scared. Why did they run? Was it drugs, a meth lab, afraid of the police that would come, or were they scared of an explosion? We’ll never know.
It was going to be an eventful night. Gas was pouring out of the tank in rivulets. DD saw them trying to extinguish the fire with water, just made things worse. A disaster in the making.
Daughter and I sat on the porch watching the fire wax and wane. It wasn’t until about 20 minutes later, when first one, then another, then another police car arrived that the fire began in earnest. Flames blossomed like the first blooms in spring. Riotous fingers of flame leaped high into the night sky, free, playing with the oxygen they craved to keep themselves going. They already had the food, and were devouring it greedily.
The police cars, with their lights flickering like shifty blue eyes, watching the maelstrom that was the truck, sat opposite us and waited. Waited for what? What could they do? My daughter and I sat, on the porch, the morning hours creeping toward dawn, watching, hoping the fire forgot our house, and leave us alone.
What’s missing? Oh yes, the firemen. Where are they, we asked? When will they be here, where are they now? I thought of getting the car, driving away. Wondering if I could get our animals all to safety. I imagined the melee of the catching of the cats, the dogs had already whiffed our fear. I couldn’t resist any longer, I called 911 again. “Where are they?”, I cried. “Our house, it will burn, and they are nowhere to be seen.” “They are coming.” It was a platitude. He didn’t care. “They’ll be there soon.”
We watched–thirty minutes after the first call, anxiously awaiting the fire department. There was no one in the truck, no one to rescue. So why hurry? It’s just a truck. A junker, probably. Finally we saw them, hope springs eternal, yet sometimes is short lived.
But the strangest thing of all that night:
The stranger ambled
Up the road,
Quiet, without fear.
He looked at them,
Then slipped on by,
And not a word was said.
‘Was not too long,
The stranger’ s back,
Just a lad was he.
He looked at them,
Said not a word
Into the night.
We sat on our porch, the fire between us and the “rescuers”, watching it in it’s majesty, then, as it tired, into mediocrity. Watching the fire and the watchers, wondering why they even bothered. As the fire sizzled down, the firemen took it’s heat and it’s oxygen. They brought their foam and sprayed it, stopped the fire’s play. Then they went to work. They walked, they talked. “Looks like it started here”, I heard one say. I watched them hunch, listened to their mumbles, watched them with their backs turned, discussing the fire, in their fireman way. I finally went in, when, the fire laughed at them as, finding a niche, some oxygen and heat, it started up again.