Chapter 10


a few years ago i was at the computer when i heard this loud explosion. i mean a boom to fill my neighborhood, sounded like a bomb or three bombs. i faced out the window, and could see a FIRE break out above my garage! there was this transformer where all the wires met, on a pole and from it flames fell in great clumps on my garage.


i called 911.

“yes, there was an explosion and a fire broke out over my garage.”

i told them what they needed to know.

i went outside to wait for the fire truck.


there are two buildings at the end of my street. one is next door to my house, and the other is across from that. all of the people who worked in the buildings now stood in their pertaining lots, several of them smoking.

thankfully it lightly rained.

i walked behind my house. the flames still hit my garage but went out from the light rain. i was concerned it had maybe caught in places. like there could be a slow burn.

would i lose my garage?  i wondered. and where the hell was the fire truck?

id say eight or ten minutes passed before i heard what sounded like a muffled, slowed-down siren, as if submerged in Jell-O. one minute later, i saw a fire truck crowning at the end of my street. it appeared to advance at about 5 miles an hour. it slowly pulled up at the curb. the truck let out a fast fart as it parked.

what the fuck? i wondered.

another eternity passed before anyone emerged from the truck.

seriously. like three minutes.

i walked towards one of the emerging men in uniform.

“i was the one who called,” i told him, waving, “its my garage on fire.”

he looked at me but didnt respond.

in fact he continued to walk the other way, toward the line of smokers outside the next-door building.

i jogged to catch up.

“see?” i got myself in his sight again. i pointed to the burning transformer, visible thru a string of young foliage.

the flames had died down but there was plenty of smoke.

“im concerned my garage is on fire. maybe you can assess the damage?”

he looked at me.

after a couple of seconds he said, “ok.”

he proceeded to the back of my house with me tailing. regarding a sense of urgency, he had exactly none.

he stood and observed the smoke.

“the fires out,” he sagely informed me.

“well, how do we know theres not a slow burn? can you make sure my garage is not going to burn down?”

“itll be okay,” he told me.

“look, i am going to the Cavs play-off game tonight. we were planning on leaving two hours from now. is it safe for me to assume my garage wont burn down while im at the game?”

“it wont burn down,” he said to me.

“so, Cleveland Heights will pay for a new garage if it does burn down?”

“i dont know about that.”

“i dont know about that either, so will you please look at the garage before you go??”

“is your mother home?” he asked me, warily.

i was 30 years old! i owned the house with my husband. we had no boarders.

“my mother!?”

“yes, we need to speak to an adult,” the fireman said.

i dug in a pocket and busted out my ID.

he read it and handed it back.

“for Christssakes,” i told him.

he turned, all wood and wordless, and moseyed down the driveway. he might have whistled. i stood and watched. he found a partner and a ladder, and they inspected my garage in light rain.


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