01: August 2014 #12 - Fire Safety
Authored by Susan Konz #1
by Susan Konz
Touch the doorknob: if hot, do not open. Better to let one room burn than singe yourself. If singed, stop, drop, and roll. Keep rolling until down the block at the neighbor’s house you used to call aunt Barbara who has made you cookies. Eat the cookies, but do not double dip in the cold milk she had set out for you. Wipe all the crumbs away like rubble, sift through and find the fallen chocolate chip. Eat the chocolate chip, but do not let her see this. When finished say, “Thank you, Aunt Barbara,” and keep rolling. On Thanksgiving when your widowed father burns the turkey and the oil catches fire in the oven: do not throw water around the turkey. Do not weep or try to roll to a more functional kitchen. Talk calmly while the flames lap the green and white ceramic tiles your mother laid until you remember that it’s baking soda you need. Find the baking soda above the burning oven and dispense. Never fix the oven. Leave that for the terrible real estate agent with the dyed blonde, permanent up-do and blue eye shadow from 1986 who will come to list your mother’s house once your father has turned all the savings into handles of vodka and ash. Vodka is very flammable. By the transitive property, your father is very flammable. You’ve always suspected this, but now you know – do not spark anything in his presence. If he starts to smoke, push him to the ground and roll him for as long as is reasonable or until safety is established. Safety is key. When your brother lights his left leg aflame with zippo refills and a cigarette, do not believe the doctors when they tell you it is not fatal. The fever he contracts will be a different kind of fire. Roll him to the hospital and give the people there all your money. Use credit cards and payment plans and sometimes running from the waiting room mid-sentence. Every night, touch his forehead, if hot, remain vigilant. Do not let him burn.