Fire Sign by Dalmatia Flemming
Fire Sign by Dalmatia Flemming
Marty simultaneously ironed his professional looking white shirt while carefully eating his English muffin covered with peanut butter and raisins. Tricky, but he was good at it. The shirt was part of his work “uniform”. But this had not always been his uniform. At one time his uniform was a Firefighter’s suit.
Yes, Marty used to be a Firefighter. It was his dream ever since age 2. And he actually achieved it. It was no easy task to become a Firefighter. Marty was building up to this for years. He worked as an Emergency Medical Technician for a while. After this experience, he was able to become a Paramedic. He also took courses in fire technology and volunteered his time at a burn camp for children. Everything Marty did was to prepare him to get that job, the Firefighter job.
He was so excited when he got the job offer and his parents were very proud of him. It was everything he thought it would be. The job was great for about five years. Then he felt his performance diminishing. And his supervisor noticed as well.
Marty hung up his freshly ironed shirt, put his plate in the sink and headed for the shower. The water was hot, as hot as his skin could stand. The bathroom filled with steamy air. Marty took deep breaths … slowly … in … and … out…. The heat, that’s what he liked best.
Marty thought back to when he was a child. In the days before neighborhood recycling, it was his chore to take the paper garbage to the downstairs rec-room fireplace and burn it. Marty loved this chore. It was his weekly ritual; pick up the large box of stick matches, slide the box open, select a match, close the box, then strike the match. That smell … oh how he loved that smell. We would watch the flame consume and work its way down the match stick. Then at the very last minute, before he burned his fingers, he would place the match in just the right spot. Although Marty had easily mastered the one-match-fire while on camping trips with his family, he would light a few more matches, repeating the process. Marty would watch the fire, mesmerized, until it went out. He never tried to put the fire out early, he always let it burn itself out. That was the most satisfying feeling.
Marty emerged from the shower and proceeded to get ready for work.
He liked his new life, not being a Firefighter. His new work still incorporated his favorite things. He was already in good physical shape from being a Firefighter, so when he decided to take an “Intro to Circus Arts” class, he got a job offer before the class was even over. But he turned that offer down. Because that class was just a prerequisite for the “Fire Arts” class.
Marty did some part-time gig work as a Circus Fire Artist. He found that he liked performing, something that he never realized about himself. It was very satisfying. But not as satisfying as his “day” job.
Marty put on his white shirt and left for “the office”. Actually, the white shirt was just part of his uniform. He only had to wear it in the office area. It was a formal and solemn place and everyone was expected to look and behave in a respectful manner. Marty primarily worked downstairs.
After greeting his fellow co-workers, Marty headed downstairs. He took off his freshly ironed white shirt, carefully hung it up and changed into his overalls.
There was the large furnace. Gazing upon it, Marty was overcome with a sense of calm. Marty went over to the staging area where he found this work orders for the day. “Three women, maybe I’ll get out early today” Marty thought.
The first one had a pace-maker. Marty cut into her chest and removed it. He placed her body in the thin wood container, opened the furnace door and slid her body inside. Marty turned on the furnace. He sat and watched though the viewing window, mesmerized.