A fire is the most beautiful thing ever created. I dare you to show me a work of art that can rival a five alarm fire. That second before the painting caves in, that would be.
We could burn prints, I suppose, cheap gift store prints, but it would just be paper. No melting paint, no disintegrating wood. There is nothing in this world like fire. I am not some Zippo-flicking fourteen year old—no. I am an artist. And of course, me and the boys are always around to come and put it out in case anything should happen. You drink too much. You swear too much. You call your mother on Sundays.
You never call your father. You never learned to swim. She died when a tour boat accidentally caught fire in the Caribbean. Some nights you wished you had died with her—suffocated and then burned to death.
Other times you imagine you could have saved her even though you never learned to swim. They gave you time off after you crashed up a coupe or two. Then you spent a little time in a white room with cushy walls. When you returned they gave you fire duty. You have an almost religious need to catch this arsonist. Then they are making love on the bed, perhaps under the covers, perhaps not.
There are groans of pleasure. Although not the most popular. You can have an electric fire, sure or gas, grease, a chimney fire. But I like the kind made with intense amounts of friction. Or one solitary strike. ELISE is lighting a fire. I will raise you from a flame and nurture you. Feed you until you grow up into a real fire. And then you will burn, burn, burn.
You will scratch the sky and you will scathe the ground and you will be warm and good and you will make me very happy for a time and then when I put you out that will be happy too because you have to be snuffed out if you want to come back another day. Now we raise you to the sky and you will be powerful and good and fierce.
And you will burn. And maybe the firefighters will get bad directions and arrive much much too late to do anything about it and then your house or your husband will be unrecognizable. Things like that can happen. JAKE snores in bed. ELISE is partially dressed. Oh, but the light and the heat and the smell, oh the smell. But I could stay. He has other fine attributes. The sound of a scraping match. The pain in the eyes. The billows of smoke. Too many construction sites, empty warehouses, all so much fuel.
They are in the way, they are dry and cracked and falling down and they need a good match, a good flame a cleansing of the palate, a cleansing of the city. But I could stay and climb into his arms and breathe his foul comfort of a breath.
I could cling to his beliefs in right and wrong and the law. I could give up firestarting right now for good. I could climb back into his bed, dive under the covers. I could warm myself on his broad back, lick the back of his neck, put my small hand around his trigger finger. There is love and there is love and there are things that I need. LIZ I want him to. Is that so much to uunh ask? He should be in lots of pain for lots of time and should suffer.
I want you to hurt him uunh. Like no one ever hurt him. And his mind will shut down. And so will his body ahhh until you shock it awake oooh to make it feel more pain. It never rains there and the hurricanes never hit it and you can pick coconuts and bananas off the trees. There are so many they flop into your arms as if to say eat me for dinner. We can go there now. It was like when we were first married, Gary how you used to look at me. Was it something I did or something I said or did you just grow sick of me or is it something else?
Am I a bad person? The positions I like to be in.