Jon de Vos: To start a fire*
April 1, 2011
TO START A FIRE* JON DE VOS
Hmm, cold evening, I should get a fire going. Here’s the remote, point it at the fireplace . . . Hey! What’s that noise? Oh nuts, that was the garage door opener and Freeta, our basset hound, is sprinting for freedom. The mutt bolts out of the kitchen and slides under the descending garage door with inches to spare, all four legs flat on the ground like a Jackie Chan stunt double.
Close on her tail, I’m stumbling around the pitch-black neighborhood, freezing, and explaining to a grossly stubborn basset hound that the neighbor’s cat passed away three years ago and it was far more likely she’d run into a skunk. Please Come Home Freeta, is what I should have named her because that’s what I’m shouting as I look for her.
Okay, I’ve finally corralled the hound but with all the doors open, now it’s really cold in here. Aha, here’s the fireplace remote . . . WHO LEFT THAT RADIO ON SO LOUD? Oops, wrong remote. Okay, if that was the garage door opener by the fireplace, and the radio remote was by the TV, then maybe I carried the fireplace remote out to the car. Yeah, here it is. What the . . . Oh, no, Cuervo, our other mutt, just escaped out the other garage door.
Cuervo is my wife’s dog, a pint-sized, yellow yapper and the bane of the neighborhood. His only redeeming feature is that he’s scared of the dark and comes when he’s called. Okay, gotta get all the doors closed. It’s freezing in here. Fire, must start a fire. Here, Remote, here, boy! Oh, good boy, here you are, behind the couch! I knew you wouldn’t run off and leave me. Start the fire, boy, start the . . . DVD player? Bad Remote! Why would the fireplace remote have fast forward? I’m getting dizzy, I think I’ll just dust the frost off this sofa and lie down for a few moments.
Could it be that the cold is beginning to alter my judgement? Hey, you out there, am I starting to write goofy or something? It’s like a meat locker in here. I should set fire to the coffee table! No, no, that would be irrational (28 minute pause, punctuated with snoring sounds). Whew, I may have been a little hypothermic there, but when the room temperature plummeted to the low 60’s, Freeta decided to save herself and clawed her way on top of me like some fuzzy Jurassic land lobster going for a warm rock.
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The pain bolted me back to consciousness. I jumped off the couch and cranked the thermostat up into a less affordable range. Man, I love that hound. She saved my life, just in time for Letterman.
My wife is upstairs, reading, totally unaware that I have nearly frozen to death on the couch with nothing to cover me but a corpulent basset hound. In a snit at getting dumped off her heated rock (me), the hound has retreated in a huff to the other end of the sofa, flopping onto her pillow with a theatrical sigh as the fireplace and the furnace finally drive the room temperature into the life-sustaining 70’s.
I dozed off sometime after Letterman’s monologue and my wife, overheated by now, padded downstairs to lower the thermostat.
Hmm, cold night, I should get a fire going.
*With an apology to Jack London
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