Spot Writers: The Fire

Welcome to the Spot Writers. The prompt for the writers this month is to use three of the following words: tub, motorcycle, papers, or hard.


This weeks’ post comes from Deborah Dera. Deborah traditionally ghostwrites articles and web content and is currently mentoring other freelancers. She hopes to put together her first eBook for publication in early 2014.


Next week’s chapter will come from RC Bonitz, author of A LITTLE BIT OF BLACKMAIL, A LITTLE BIT OF BABY, and A BLANKET FOR HER HEART.


* * *


The Fire


“What the hell did you do to your hair? You know I don’t like it when you cut your hair so short. You never listen to me.”


I’m not a huge fan of you these days, I thought, but I keep my mouth shut.


“I’m sorry. Ok. I’ll let it grow out.”


I passed the hall mirror and glanced at my reflection on my way into the kitchen. My hair fell just to my shoulders. Granted, it was a good 14 inches shorter than it was that morning, but it wasn’t that short.


I felt him coming up from behind as I entered the kitchen. I moved right to the freezer and started looking for something for dinner.


“Besides, you spent so much time at the salon you were late coming home. We usually eat dinner at 5:30. It’s almost 6 now. By the time you’re done f’ing around out here, we won’t eat until 7. Can’t you plan anything out right?”


I contemplated ignoring him, but that doesn’t generally work out very well.


“I’m sorry. I said I’m sorry.”


I turned to put the meat on the counter and he pushed me out of his way so he could grab a beer from the fridge. I glanced past him at the open door, where he kept his beer so it would be accessible. There were 7 there this morning. There were 2 left. He was on number 5. Great.


“You’re always sorry. Just make me something to eat so I can get the hell outta here. I’m going down to the station to play cards with the guys tonight. Don’t bother waiting up.”


I turned in time to watch him stomp from the room. He settled into his recliner and was immediately absorbed by the crime drama on the TV. He glanced and caught me looking at him. “What’s wrong with you! Get moving!”


“I’m working on it. Just a few minutes. I have to go out to the garage to grab some potatoes.”


The garage door was right off the kitchen. I kept the onions and potatoes out there, in bags on the shelves. They lasted longer that way. I’m not sure why I cared so much.


I stopped on the landing and went down the stairs into the garage. Suddenly weary, I sat on the bottom step and look around. The two-car garage held his car and his motorcycle. I had to park my car in the alley behind the house. The garage was the cleanest part of the house – the only place he’d keep tidy because of his babies. His stupid car. His stupid bike. The newspapers were tied in neat bundles in the corner. The tub of greasy rags was under the workbench.


Hearing his voice snapped me out of my thoughts. I grabbed an onion and some potatoes and moved back into the house. He was yelling from the living room. I didn’t have to hear what he wanted. I grabbed #6 from the fridge and headed towards him. “Hurry the hell up with dinner. What’s taking you so long?”


I hurried back into the kitchen. I imagined his face as I used a fork to stab holes in the potatoes. I imagined his face as I sliced the onions. I felt the bruise under my rib from when I “slipped” down the stairs earlier in the week.


I glanced back at the living room, where my darling husband was fast asleep.




I took the reheated ham out of the oven, smothered his slices with onion, dressed the potato, and covered the plate. I set his place setting at the table.


Moving quietly, I opened the drawer next to the sink and took out a pad and paper. Running to the grocery store. Didn’t want to wake you. Back in 20 minutes. Love you! I grimaced just a little bit as I propped the notepad up against the plate.


His jacket was hanging over the back of his kitchen chair. I rummaged through his pockets and pulled out a cigarette and a pack of matches before grabbing my purse and keys and moving back into the garage, pulling the door kitchen door quietly behind me. I wanted him to stop smoking, but he wouldn’t listen.


Move quickly, I told myself. I opened the back garage door so I could make a quick exit to my car in the alley. I pushed the pile of paper and the bucket of rags, moving them to the workbench closest to the hood of his car, making sure they were touching. I grimaced at the cigarette in my hand and struggled with the matches.


Standing by the open door, I flicked the cigarette towards the bucket of rags and watch the embers arch through the air, landing solidly in the bucket of dirty, greasy rags. Without another thought, I turned on my heel and left the garage.


It only took me 25 minutes to get to the grocery store and back. I had gone to get some ice cream for dessert and some coffee for the morning mug. That’s what I told the police later on, after the fire was out. The entire garage was gone – the motorcycle, the car. There was some significant damage to the rest of the house, but it was salvageable. My husband, the firemen said, never felt a thing. His official cause of death was smoke inhalation, and they figure he must’ve tossed his cigarette the wrong way before grabbing his last beer and passing out on the couch again.


Go figure.


* * *


The Spot Writers – our members:


RC Bonitz


Val Muller


Catherine A. MacKenzie


Deborah Dera




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