At about 11 am I was on the phone with my friend, Ralph, catching up on some things. I started hearing some kind of loud, sharp noise that could have been someone poking around downstairs. Because the carpet was removed for the painters to do the trim, and I have no car in the driveway, the place looks pretty empty. So, I asked Ralph to stay on the phone while I checked. Nobody was there. I figured maybe the house was shifting. I had the stereo on and I was mostly focused on our conversation.

A few minutes later, an officer rang the doorbell insistently and I trundled downstairs quickly (in my nightshirt… I had run bathwater, but then Ralph called). He informed me that there was a fire next door and I should probably (how’s that for the Most Gratuitous Use of “Probably” in an email?) leave the house till they had it under control.

Since he didn’t grab me or insist I walk out the door in my nightshirt, I went back upstairs, dressed quickly in last night’s clothes, while turning off and packing the computer, grabbed my purse and cell phone.

I saw flames shooting out of the condo 3 doors down from us as I left the house. That helped my adrenaline levels quite a bit. Aubrey tells me I was not quite coherent on the phone, that I was missing some of her questions. Okay. Maybe I was a little bit shocked.

At one point, describing the scene to someone on the phone, I counted about 13 or 14 emergency vehicles with accompanying official-looking personnel.

Apparently, it was so well known that drug dealers live there that when our realtor called, he told *me* about it relieving me of the decision just as I was trying to figure out how to say something. Aubrey has information from a friend in the sheriff’s department that an arrest was made on a previous controlled substance warrant, but no Haz Mat team showed up, so no one was making drugs at that moment.

They let us go back into our houses, all but the one where the fire started and the one adjacent after about 4 hours. So, about 2:30 or 3. The rest of my day was kind of a wash other than a good conversation with Cricket. I just finished talking with Aubrey for half an hour and then I called Sean for a little emotional support, and left a message for Ralph that I’d like to talk tomorrow.

I can smell smoke (and paint), but I feel like it’s more in the air. I believe we’re far enough away that any damage here is unlikely.

Aubrey told me that her mother said, “Oh, how awful!” and Aubrey assured her that, while certainly there were losses, it might help clean up the neighborhood.

Even her realtor called me and offered to come by and be emotional support. He’s completely different than I’d expect a realtor to be. He has consistently offered to be there for us if we get overwhelmed at all. I told him I have a good support system, but that I’d call if need be, and that there was apparently no smoke damage that we could find at this point.

I wonder if a fire will figure in my fiction now?  🙂  I’m beginning to look at everything, every story that happens as fuel for the f… no wait, let’s choose a cooler metaphor… as . . . I don’t know… fodder, inspiration.

Okay, I will likely sleep like a log.

I’m okay. My roommate is okay. We’re both a little shaken, but that would be normal. 

I’ve been taking time to be as aware as possible of “who’s business am I in when I think that thought?” after becoming aware that I have used other people’s business to avoid my own.  So, I’m not all that interested in this whole story beyond whatever plot line the experience might assist or whatever assistance a live human being might need around here, especially my roommate re: the refurbishing and sale of her house.

Good night,
~ Stacy


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