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read the part of Hank Peabody

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Fire Story

EYES TURNED TO SEE the billow of smoke coming towards the stadium, an orange pompadour on the head of a Scandinavian Elvis. Fire was raging through the canyons. Air collapsed before the flames, orange clamoring fingers pulled all around.
  Quickly, people standing in different parts of town began seeing their neighborhoods melt and pop like the edges of a distant campfire. Albums, sofas, televisions and wood-shingle roofs piled into the air. Sirens started up far away, red trucks hurtled subdivision streets towards the smoke, cracking up Big Wheels and housecats on path. Looky-loos following behind held cameras out of their car windows.
  The fire moved up and over a hill of cactus, wrinkling the flesh, engulfing an oily gas station on the other side of the canyon. An abandoned drum kit sat in the orange heat, cymbals vibrating and keeping perfect time, before melting and collapsing into wood and skins.
  It all rose into the air mixing. The lingering contrail crystals of spent nitrogen tetroxide, niacine, derozine 50 from Vandenburg’s rocket launch fell to meet the ash of burning mustard, milkweed, datura, and blue and yellow caterpillars. The weight of the pompadour grew as it was fed by the fire. Pieces of phone book came landing like blackbird wings, cigarette butts, Lucky Charm marbits, tile, and embers fell onto a nearby football field where everyone and thing became obscured by the billowy, sweet cloud.


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