A bus stop materialized as I rounded a corner. Its black cage of a sanctuary would do well to keep out the storm. I took a seat on one of the benches beside a young girl and her mother. The girl smiled up at me. My lips curled in response. They’re oh so naïve at that age.
The bus paused, its engine stuttering just a tad. I motioned for my bench mates to board first, with a tip of my ball cap, and came on myself. My wallet felt heavy as I drew out a five and handed it to the driver. “Keep the change,” I said with a grin.
I strolled almost to the back and grabbed onto a strap hanging from the ceiling. The bus lurched forward. My heart fluttered. Almost time.
* * *The house before me looked a lot like a miniature barn. The tin roof formed a simple peak with no gables. The main construction was wood, painted a garish red. There weren’t any windows, at least not on this side of the house. The front door looked hand-crafted from some dark maple.
I double-checked the address in my smartphone. Everything matched. Time to get to work.
I wrapped on the door three times. No reply. Twice more. Nothing. Good.
The lock clicked nearly the moment I plunged my pick into it. I stepped inside. There were shoes everywhere, some sitting on metal racks, the rest thrown haphazardly. A perfect fire hazard. Chuckle. So soon?
I scanned the room for an outlet. No need to make this any less “natural” than it needs to be. I found one against the right wall. A lone Nike Air sat beneath it.
I slipped my hand into my right pocket and pulled out a plastic case. Inside were a dozen metal instruments. I took out a short metal rod like a toothpick. From the other pocket I drew out a green rubber glove. Slipped it on. Took a euphoric breath.
I jabbed the metal rod into the outlet and set the other side down on one of the shoe laces. It took only a moment for the spark. Then smoke. Then flame. I blew life into the fire. It blew cash into my pocket. Mission accomplished.