Burn Baby Burn by Steven M. Stucko

As I rounded the corner I saw her fiery house fold like a lawn chair and slam hissing into the swimming pool. The following day’s headline would read: “Dog Drowns in Fire” because it was true and because everyone loves authentic irony. It was brutal.

The lawn mower in the tool shed had exploded launching stored furniture, holiday decorations and bags of Moo-Doo over the garage, setting the house ablaze. My friend Sarah was in hysterics. Horrified, she thought of her diaries and the birth control pills.

I saw her Dad throw undamaged dining room chairs, two at a time, onto the flaming azaleas (he always hated those chairs). He kicked at a Captain Beefheart record as it melted, form-fit, over a garden gnome. “How Dali” he thought, then panic: his porn and all the hidden booze bottles.

Her Mom was on her hands and knees picking up shards of shattered Hummel figurines and weeping, her knees bloody. She looked back at the house and, reality check: a recent affair she secretly wished hadn’t ended. She had kept notes and a few photos.

I stood behind a tree across the street and wondered if there were a fire in my house, what would I pray would burn and be lost forever? Ironic, no?

Sarah was the worst lab partner ever. I had only meant to burn down the shed because she botched our science project. There goes my AP Bio credit. Brutal.


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Filed under Steven Stucko

5 responses to “Burn Baby Burn by Steven M. Stucko

  1. Al McDermid

    The family member’s respective responses were surreal, especially the Dalisque gnome. Nice touch.

  2. Loved the garden gnome. Seriously, loved this story, the family’s responses surreal. And then bam! You nail the ending. Peace…

  3. Ganymeder

    Brutal is quite the understatement. Wow! Really well done.

  4. Pingback: Week #22 – The brutality of friends « 52|250 A Year of Flash

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