Marolt: Burning down our house
“It looks like a fire,” said the man as the grocer held the door.
“Yes, and it looks like it’s in your neighborhood,” the grocer said, his arm tiring, his customer gazing.
“So it does,” replied the man, and he hastened his exit and headed for home with a quick step, thinking it would be more interesting to get there before the fire department, especially if it was a structure owned by a familiar person.
As the man drew nearer, his piqued interest transformed into fear. “No, it couldn’t be,” he argued at what suddenly occurred to himself. “Ahh! But it is!” He started to run. “It’s my house that’s in flames!”
Dropping his sacks for the dogs to devour, he ran as fast as he could. As he reached the gate, he searched for what needed doing. From this perspective there was plenty of smoke, but no flames had yet darted into the daylight for viewing.
He dashed to the garden hose coiled next to the rose bed and followed its tail to the bib. He turned the water on full and scrambled back to the end now spouting. He held his thumb over the nozzle to create pressure and sprayed a stream toward his dream. Back and forth, up and down; he did all he could do.
His neighbor arrived at the scene. “What have we here?”
“Ah, I can’t be sure,” the man said as he worked furiously to keep the heat at bay. “I must have left the coffee pot on or the fire didn’t die in the hearth from last night. It could have been the forgotten candle in the bathroom burned down to the sill. I don’t know! All I can do now is what I can to try saving my home. Will you help me, please, kind neighbor?”
“Of course I will, my diligent friend. I’ll grab a hose from the shed and fasten it to the faucet in back. Maybe together we can smother this thing.
“But before I do, I can tell you this was caused by none of the things you mention. In fact, it had nothing to do with you at all, so rest your mind and worry not about how it might have been prevented.”
“Say it straight, neighbor! Can you try to be clear? My thinking is well occupied at the moment. I’m not sure I can get my detoured mind to your point.”
“As straight as I can say it, my friend,” the neighbor said, “it was Nature, not you, that wrought this calamity.”
“Not to sound blunt,” said the man to his neighbor. “But, I’ll need more proof than your word that this disaster isn’t my doing.”
With that, the neighbor un-holstered his iPhone and summoned on the small screen proof undoubtable.
“I was taking an Instagram of my cat,” he explained. “And, as you can see, timing is key.” Sure enough, in the picture, behind the kitty prowling the fence rail, was a bolt from a gray patch of sky piercing the man’s gable. “I got 162 ‘likes’ on that shot!”
“Can this be?” the man said. “As they say, it’s a real game changer. Your photo proves it was an act of God and not man that set ablaze my abode. And, if that is the case, I shall not put it out, for only man’s work should be reversed by man’s hands.”
With that declaration, the man turned off the water and wrapped up his hose to sit back in a spot there, under a tree, and watch his home burn to the loam.
This is, no doubt, where you think the tale ends — with a man’s action based on whether the root of his loss was by Mother Nature or mankind. Some would say the source is irrelevant and try to douse the fire out either way, but others will argue that cause matters.
But, the story does not end with you pondering this. What only the neighbor knew was that his Instagram had been altered. The streak of lightening through the man’s attic was a figment of his application.
He had strolled by the man’s house earlier that day and carelessly flicked the butt of a smoke over the hedge. When he noticed the fire several hours later, he went to work creating the self-improved proof that nature seemed to be to blame. He didn’t actually know if it was he who ignited the flame; it really could have been many other things. He simply didn’t want to take any responsibility, if unmolested fact eventually revealed that he should. A good night’s sleep is simply too good.
Roger Marolt thinks we should do what we can to curb climate change whether it is caused by a Volcano, Vulcan or a painted Volkswagen van. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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