Everybody has a secret skill. It's not something you put on your resume, and only your family and friends know about, maybe. My friend Paul used to hide all the candles, matches, lighters, scissors, knives and razors before I went over to his apartment to hang out. Paul is wise.
My secret skill? I start fires.
When I was young, I had a toy car, a little red hatchback with a door that actually opened, revealing it's cargo space. One day while my parents were out, I decided to fill that space with match heads. Mom had fancy wooden matches, which I painstakingly cut the heads off with a steak knife. I usually had a short attention span as a child but on that occasion I stayed focused long enough to pack the entire box of match heads inside the car.
The quiet, practical part of my mind, which never got a lot of attention back then, managed to convince the rest of me that we were doing something that might be dangerous. So I gave the situation some thought and came up with the perfect solution. I would set the car off in the bathroom sink. That way, when it went badly, I could turn on the water and put out the fire.
I put the car in the sink, above the drain and sat there wondering how I was going to light it without getting burned. I abandoned such clever ideas as throwing a lit match at it or making a paper fuse, since previous experiments had shown those methods were unreliable. I came up with a new plan, one guaranteed to work.
I sprayed the car with hairspray. Then I unscrewed the cap and poured liquid hairspray from the car, up the sink to the counter. I had my 'fuse'. Everything was ready for the big action scene. I rationalized what I was doing as though I were shooting a stunt scene from a movie. The fact that I had no camera was irrelevant. I was the camera.
I opened a new box of matches and lit one. The moment of truth arrived.
The hairspray worked. The car was quickly engulfed in blue flames, but the match heads inside the car didn't go off. I waited. The hairspray flames began to die. I was disappointed. I had to do something.
I reached in with a matchstick and opened the car's back door.
A fireball the size of a watermelon erupted, singeing my eyebrows. I screamed like a girl. I couldn't reach the tap without getting burned so I threw a towel over the sink. The flames continued, but I was able to get the tap turned on. The sink began to fill so I took the towel away.
The car floated, still on fire. It rose higher and higher with the water level. In desperation I used the towel to push the car under the water and drown it. Finally the fire went out.
The car and the towel were ruined. The sink, counter and mirror were covered in black soot. Knowing I would be killed if my parents found the bathroom this way, I got the cleaning supplies out and started scrubbing. My parents came home to the cleanest, most sparkling bathroom they have ever seen.
Disgusted, I decided, "Next time I am so doing this OUTSIDE."
Tomorrow: "Nothings Wrong, I'm Just Watering the Patio"
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