fire

My nod is tactlessly interrupted by a banging at my front door followed by a commanding voice ordering me to, “Leave Everything!” My poor, measly front door is no match for a banging on of such severity. Surely there is trouble of the gravest of nature afoot, only uniformed officials armed with heavy badges and a low tolerance for humoring one’s self would dare abuse a meek, hollow sheet of kindling with such aggression. They’ll no doubt be bursting through like bulls in an antique shop in seconds rather than minutes.

I should be quite worried, no? But where is the panic? Where is the trepidation? Somehow I can’t muster up the energy for anything other than to mourn the cigarette I was nursing that I now notice has extinguished between my fingers and wonder how long I have before the opiates wear off and the burning pain begins. “Leave Everything!” “Did I hear that correctly?” I wonder as I try to brush away the cigarette burn in the belly of my  T-shirt, “an odd thing to ask of someone whose buzz you’ve just cut short not to mention whose door you’ve just sucker punched and are positioning to knock out.” I try to wrap my mind around this new reality I’m facing, how long will it take to inure prison?

“Am I dreaming this?” slowly stumbles into my mind, then waits patiently as I come to terms with only being capable of thinking about 1 or 2 things, tipity tops, at a time. “Leave everything” reins at number 1 while “How much stash do I have left and where did I stash it?, How’s my hair?” and “Why won’t Todd Young confirm my `friend` request on Facebook” all grapple for second place.

I decide to take one final look around before the storm troopers invade. The Who are on the television singing Pictures of Lily in black and white, Paul is the dead guy, George is the gravedigger, Ringo is the priest and John is…who again with his white suit? Is he God or the funeral director as they casually walk across Abby Road in my poster that I’m squinting to see. My dad is right where I left him, sleeping restlessly on the sofa next to me. Man, I sure am gonna miss this place, once the storm troopers come barging through the door it`s all over. What the hell are they waiting for anyway? An invitation? Are they positioning themselves all around the perimeter in case I jump off the balcony in an escape attempt? They obviously haven`t done a whole lot of servalence on me…Wait, what was that? I think I hear them thumping aro… BAM BAM!! “Leave Everything!” Here we go, it`s all over now, “Cancel Christmas!” I think to myself, bracing for what`s about to come storming through the…BAM BAM!! “Leave everything!… FIRE!!”

Fire! Fire? Ah, Fire. It hits me like a snails fart. Fire, of course! I totally could`ve thought of that if I wanted to. Another BAM BAM! “Leave Everything” comes from outside again, a lot less confusing this time, in light of this new information. Fire, well, this changes everything now doesn`t it, and, oddly, somehow doesn`t change a thing. A low grumble comes from the big guy on the sofa, “Schmeckle, what the hell`s going on? Who keeps banging on the door?” He asks, yawning and reaching for a cigarette. “There`s a fire.” I say with an air of confidence, like I`ve known all along. “Fire? Do we need to evacuate?” He asks in a sarcastic, slightly accusing tone. “Yeah, I think they want us to leave everything.”

BAM!! “Fire, Leave everything!” comes again from outside. The phrase that, only moments ago had held my imagination hostage was now nothing more than an annoying nag, “Yeah yeah, I`m coming.” I say peeling myself from the couch slowly to my feet. “Leave everything huh? Ok, Ok, Well, let`s go then.” I say, half to myself and half to Dave who`s carefully looking at the labels on prescription pill bottles before tossing them into a blue velcro bag that looks as if it were specifically designed to hold lots of prescription pill bottles. “I`m comin` I`m comin`”, he says obviously with no intention of following the “Leave Everything” instruction. “Right,” I think, “No reason to leave empty-handed, after all this isn`t an airplane, they`re not going to ask for my help or anything.” So I go to the cabinet in the kitchen and get the Macho Mug mug I stole from Cheeks that one time and dump whats left of the Segrum`s 7 in it, followed by what`s left of a bottle of Vodka and fill it the rest of the way with wine from a box, leaving no room for ice.

I can hear the commotion in the hallway growing more and more impatient, we really should start to be on our way, I think I smell smoke. “Dave, you ready?” I shout over the counter, “We gotta get outta here. Dave? Dad!” I say walking around to the sofa to find him sleeping with a cigarette burning the other cigarettes in the ashtray. “Dad, come on, we gotta go.” The noise from outside is that of a small-scale exodus complete with screaming, swearing and panic. Pulling my dad up off the sofa while not spilling any of my drink would have been something to stop and take a minute to revel in at any other time, but this wasn`t any other time, time was of the essence.

So after doing a quick check; smokes, drink, pills. Check, check and check and after grabbing my guitar from the corner and doing a quick sound check, we hurry out the door without the least bit of hesitation. The scene in the hallway of the apartment building that is in such grave danger of burning to the ground isn`t as smokey and filled with ash faced people, scrambling in all directions as my imagination had allowed me. This gives my thoughts, that had been patiently waiting in the queue to get into my mind a chance to have their voices heard. The first of which is the one involving my stash and where it`s stashed. Of course, it`s all coming back to me now, after coming home and dumping it on the mirror on my dresser, I did half of it and then, like the sneaky fox I am, left the rest of it right there on the mirror for later.

I take a quick look around, surely I have time for this. I debate whether to intrust my dad with the responsiblity of carrying my guitar out to safety or leaving it by the front door and after a moment’s deliberation decide on the latter. I set her down gently by the front door and head back in like a true fire fighter going in to save that last scared little kitten. I brush past the smoke, comming from the ashtray, to my bedroom where, sure enough, there are the goods, right where I left them. I do my business then plop down at the foot of my bed to think about how many different wrong turns my life has taken that have led to the possibility that I may die in a fire that I`m pretty sure I didn`t start, chained to a mirror and a razor blade when, suddenly I hear a rustling from under my bed. What in the Sam Hell could that possibly be? A rat? A squatter? Then I hear, “Hey baby, what`s all the noise about?” a groggy voice manages from under my comforter.

Amy! Damn, I totally could`ve thought of that if I wanted to. “Hey, baby. Wake up, there`s a fire or something. We should probably leave everything.”

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