We Didn’t Start The Fire

If any of the following topics intrigue you, I suggest you continue reading: a massive fire, Christmas trees, drinking games, pickles and something about a Mexican. If these topics do not interest you, this may not be the story for you. I kind of have your interest now though anyways, don’t I? You’ll just have to trust me.

After a night out at the bars my friend Mollie and I were heading back to her house with her boyfriend. I don’t remember his name so we’ll just call him DD, because that’s the purpose he served for me on this particular evening. On the way back Mollie’s roommate called her saying she wanted to build a fire in their fire pit and have some drinks. We had a task at hand: get wood for fire. Wouldn’t you know, as we were driving we noticed a dead, old Christmas tree on the side of the road with some people’s trash. Our target was in sight. “DD, pull over!” If you have never witnessed two drunk girls wrestling a Christmas tree into the back of an SUV at 2am I highly recommend it. After various failed and somewhat painful attempts we finally prevailed. I can proudly say we beat the tree. Suck it, inanimate object. You were ousted by two drunkies and now we’re going to light you on fire.

There were three people back at the house and if I could remember their names I would. But since I have the memory of a goldfish we’ll call them Lady, Lady’s Boyfriend and Alfred. We had music, beer, food, and their shed in the back yard with a table inside ready and waiting for some drinking games to be played on it. We threw the entire tree in the fire pit and lit that bitch up. The tree definitely did not fit in the fire pit and I’m sure if anyone else was watching they would have been 100% positive bad things were going to happen. We headed into the shed and Alfred had a drinking game he wanted us to play. The only thing I remember about it was that there was always a ‘Mexican’. I really don’t know the significance of the Mexican or what it means in the game and to be honest I didn’t know that night either. You know how with some games the first time you learn them you pick it up right away? And then other times, no matter how long you play it and how many times it is explained to you, you just keep missing the boat? Well I don’t know if the boat ever even came for me that night because I just lied my way through that game acting like I knew what I was doing. Needless to say it didn’t fare well for me and my liver. The night was looking good though.  There were lights strung all around the shed for ambiance and they had some speakers set up to set the mood. (aka give us drunkie dancing music) I also remember an enormous jar of pickles. And that they were some amazing pickles. The only other time I’ve had better pickles in my life is a whole other story for another time. That one involves my friend’s haunted house, fighting, card games, Bud Light and creating our own sound and dialogue to an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie.

After a few hours we all decided it was time to head to bed. It was around 5 or 6 am at this point and we definitely looked the part. Alfred left at some point and I crashed out on the couch. Lady and Lady’s boyfriend – ah wait! Her name is Katie. Look at me remembering things. One gold star for me! So Katie and her boyfriend and Mollie and DD and I were all sound asleep when I was woken up around 7am. The couch is right near the front door which is mostly glass so you can see through. I woke up to see someone pounding on the door yelling at me. It was some girl who looked like Katie. I had barely been asleep for an hour and was still definitely drunk. I was really confused as to why Katie was pounding on her own front door yelling at me. This confusion and also seeing all of that obnoxious day light was bumming me out so I hid under the covers hoping she would go away. This technique did not work. She kept pounding and I decided I should try and figure out what she was yelling. So like a confused, drunk little gopher I popped my head up from under the blankets and listened. She was yelling, “Your shed is on fire!” This still took a moment to process before I could respond. In my head I pictured a little fire and just thought, wow this lady is freaking out. She needs to chill and let me go back to sleep. I also was still unsure if it was Katie or not. My thought process was not exactly going smoothly at this point. So I just responded, “So put it out.” And then hid under the covers again. She kept pounding so I realized what I needed to do. She obviously wasn’t smart enough to figure out how to put the fire out so I yelled to her, “There’s a hose and bucket on the side of the house.” Finally I decided maybe I’ll check it out because I obviously was not going to get any sleep until this little spark was put out. So I walked through the kitchen to the deck and looked up to see the entire shed engulfed in flames which must have been 20 feet high. Oops.

At this point the dogs were barking, the lady was still yelling and I was trying to find my phone to call 911 while attempting to wake the others. The woman was screaming at me to save the animals in the craziest shrillest voice I’ve ever heard. Both dogs were safely standing right next to me a little scared of the crazy yelling maniac while I tried to tell her she should have tried my hose and bucket solution a long time ago. Katie and her boyfriend were basically in a coma. They were not budging when I tried waking them. I went into Mollie’s room to find she was just noticing through her window what was going on. “Dude, your shed’s on fire.” Were my ever so eloquently spoken words to her. Her response, “Yeah, no shit.” Mollie then took on the task of waking up her roommate and roommate’s boyfriend who I had already slapped various times to no avail. She started yelling at her, “Your shed is on fire!” Katie finally heard her and began laughing. This went on for another few minutes before Katie finally got up. We found out later Katie thought she was saying “Your shit is on fire.” I see where the confusion was there.

We got out of the house with the dogs and the fire department finally showed up and put the fire out. We came to find out the screaming lady was a jogger running past the house and noticed the enormous fire from the backyard. As we stood in the street waiting to see what was going on we all asked ourselves the same question at the same time. I know this, because all at once we all looked at each other with a face that said “Uh, oh. Are we all drunken, accidental arsonists?” We discussed for about 5 minutes trying to remember if we put the camp fire out. None of us could give a definitive answer so I went into survival mode and just started shaking my head, muttering, “Deny, deny, deny” like a crazy person still slightly staggering around. At one point a fireman came up to me and started asking questions. Due to a mix of confusion, paranoia and sleep deprivation I just stared at him refusing to speak until he became uncomfortable and walked away to talk to the others.

After it was safe we walked into the back yard to see a skeleton of a shed left, a half burned picnic table, an empty cooler, empty beer cans everywhere, and a fire pit with a giant skeleton of a Christmas tree laying across it. It wasn’t looking good for us. The firemen asked us if we had been drinking last night and if we had built a fire. Technically we were drinking that morning, if we’re going by hours on the clock. We didn’t want to say anything incriminating that would make us sound like the irresponsible lushes that we were. Luckily though, they came to find out it was caused by the extension cord that they used to hook up the speakers. It was just an electrical fire that had nothing to do with the poorly constructed Christmas tree fire and our drunkenness. See, extension cords are what are dangerous…not drunken disorderly conduct mixed with open flames.  Take notes, kids.

After everything was all taken care of the firemen left and we were all left just in complete awe about what had just happened. Mollie got on the phone with her mom telling her what happened and all of a sudden we just hear her from the other room yell in a voice dripping with sarcasm and exhaustion, “Yea, Mom. I’ll just call up 1 800 come pick up my burned shit!” I don’t think Mollie was ready to start taking advice on how to clean up the mess quite yet.

All in all, it was a good night. Fun times, fun people, a giant jar of delicious pickles. No one was hurt, none of us were arsonists and their insurance covered everything. And as a bonus, the guy who lived next door who was always complaining about them being too loud…half of his shed burned down because it was right next to their shed. That’s karma my friend. People make noise, live with it or get your shed burned down, bro. That’s just how it works.

I suppose if someone were to ask me if there was a moral to the story that people can learn from I would say yes. The moral is if someone is yelling to you that your shed is on fire, you should assume they actually mean your shed is on fire and you should take some sort of action. Either that, or, that a Christmas tree makes one terrific piece of kindling. Yeah, I think that’s it.

Happy camp fires everyone! Cheers.