Huffing and Puffing While the House Burns Down

Neighbor's House on Fire

Neighbor’s House on Fire (Photo credit: Aaron Landry)

Daily Prompt:  Burning Down the House

Your home is on fire. Grab five items (assume all people and animals are safe). What did you grab?

Gawd, if my house has to burn down I sure hope it doesn’t happen in the middle of the winter, because my five items will have to be two boots, two mitts and one warm hooded coat.  And this little blurb will win first prize in the most boring house on fire list of all time contest.  I like winning stuff, but not THAT much.

So instead I think I’ll have the house catch fire on a nice sunny summer day with no breeze, so it’s less likely that the rest of the houses on the block will also go up in smoke.  I try to be a good neighbour.  The fire department is super close to where I live and if I’ve been smart enough to call them at the first sign of danger, they will be here momentarily.  Hey, it’s my imagined scenario, and that’s what I want to think.  So I have maybe five or ten minutes to rush around in a totally freaked out manner before the hoses take me down.  The alarms are blaring, the smoke is getting thick, I need to make some smart choices and I need to make them in a hurry.

I am not that different from every other female person on this planet who owns a handbag.  I would grab that first.  Do you have any idea what’s in there?  More than five items vital for my survival, that’s for sure.  Wallet, credit and debit cards, drivers license, health cards, car keys, passport, phone, glasses, tic tacs, cheque book, lip gloss, hand lotion, six or eight pens, and a bunch of loose change. With that slung over my shoulder I feel empowered and virtually invincible.

My lap top and external hard drive count as one item because they are attached to each other. Also attached are all the cords and crap plugged in to the power bar, so it’s one big octopus-like item and I’m not leaving any of it behind.   Item number three is my kindle.  Then I will gaze for two or three precious seconds with a tear streaked face at my library of actual books and gazillion photo albums.  Sorry, sorry, can’t save you all, goodbye!  Then I’ll grab the little mini treasure chest that holds precious memorabilia from my ancestors – yellowed letters and ancient pencil drawings and old notebooks that have survived for so many years with different care takers and don’t deserve to meet their end today. Not under my watch.

Old Letter

Old Letter (Photo credit: Laineys Repertoire)

My arms are full but I can grab one more thing!  So I will do some more frantic running around and then decide to drop all this shit I’m carrying on to the seat of my grandmothers hundred year old rocking chair and with a mighty burst of adrenaline powered strength, lift and shove and struggle my way out the door with my five allotted items.  Yeah I know it’s way more than five things really, but I think cheating in my case is okay.   Because out on the sidewalk there are no other safe people and pets standing around wondering what the hell I’ve been doing in a burning house for so long.  W is away in the summer, so of course he would miss all the excitement.  It would not cross my mind to wonder if there’s something of his that needs saving.  I’ll just happily assume he’s taken all his own vital stuff with him.

So here I am, huffing and puffing with all I have left in this world on the sidewalk beside me.  The fire brigade arrives and…..I don’t know what happens next.  They unplug my toaster and throw it and the charred remains of my breakfast bagel on to the driveway?  The house is a pile of rubble and ash?  It was a false alarm, or a vivid nightmare, or a daily prompt that simply sparked my brain?

I hope I never have to face this kind of grim reality or make these difficult choices.  But I’m going to add a few snack bars to my handbag just in case.

20 thoughts on “Huffing and Puffing While the House Burns Down

  1. Pingback: HOUSE OF CARDS « hastywords

  2. Pingback: Burning Down the House | thelissachronicles

  3. What a frightening experience to imagine going through. Thanks for this excellent post, prompted by your neighbors fire. Yikes, five things? And here I live in a cold northern clime with temps prompting my 5 things as you first listed. But very thought provoking too. Hmm… what 5 items would be my choice? Thanks for the laughs with your great writing too. ~Gina


  4. Good thing you got those tic tacs, Grandmalin. They are essential for greeting the handsome firemen. haha. Love that you have chest full of family memorabilia. That makes things easier. Next time eat your bagel untoasted.


  5. Pingback: Burning Down The House – A Daily Prompt Post | Edward Hotspur

  6. Just thinking about will give me a heart attack, then I’ll go up in smoke with the house. Don’t even think such dreadful thought and I hope it will never happen to you. Yikes.


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  8. Pingback: What I need to survive… | The Hempstead Man

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