Sunday, Sunday, SUNDAY. It was Sunday, meaning every hour on the hour is cheers-o-clock. Let’s drink. I really needed to pop a bottle anyway, and luckily there was a sealed one waiting for me in the liquor cabinet. As I was ready to orgasm over the mere sniff of the cork, my roommate walked into the kitchen with a mundane look on her face. “Teresa! I’d love to chat about d-ck-shaped pasta or your secret favorite color or whatever, but my funnel arrived yesterday from Amazon and I need a drink.”
Her blue eyes rolled far back into her head in repulsion while her arms crossed over her chest. “We have a new neighbor and I picked up a bottle of wine. That wine. Good wine. So drop it.” Well bark bark to you, too. “Actually… go run the bottle to the newbie. 4F.” Teresa was supercilious; nevertheless, she did pay the rent. Also, you learn to be a little appreciative when you get laid off for failing to staple papers to your boss’s satisfaction.
I took the stairs down to the fourth floor due solely to the fact I was better at digressing down a staircase than a fully functioning elevator, and I needed this precious time to rehearse my introduction speech – especially if this beautiful bottle of pinot grigio was on the line. If our new neighbor was a respectable citizen: Hello, my name is Avery Simms, it’s a pleasure to welcome you to Boston! A handsome male: Hey, I’m Avery and I have no gag reflex. A serial killer: Hello, my name is Teresa Brewer. Would you like my phone number?
My free hand went to knock on the wood belonging to room 4F but never made contact. Instead, a number of profanities escaped my lips as I took into account the fact that the door was blazing hot. Trying again, I knocked thrice, and raised my voice, “Excuse me, are you okay in there? The door is sizzling.” I should egg the door. Or make an omelet on it. Do pinot grigio and eggs go well together? Wait … do I care?
Without hearing a response in a matter of seconds, I began to back away and pretend nothing happened. Unfortunately, I was reeled back in when the door was wrenched open and a gust of hot air crashed into me. After fanning my face and coughing a bit, I made contact with our new neighbor, who leaned against the doorway with a grin and a fire extinguisher. Over his shoulder, I could see flames.
“Um.” Words failed me then, which is a rare occurrence. I majored in English in college and had a well-paying job at a magazine company, so words should never fail me. “Your couch is on fire.” The figure before me, strange as he didn’t bother tending to his burning couch, studied me for an uncomfortable moment until his eyes dropped down to the bottle clutched tightly in my grasp. “Housewarming,” my voice became weak, “literally.”
His slight grin blossomed into a roaring laugh and he began stepping backwards into the apartment he was bound to burn down. “Because my house is on fire. Or, it’s warming. You’re funny! That’s a good one.” He wiped the back of his hand across his forehead then, as if he finished his routine at the gym.
“Can I– do you– help me out here.”
I wanted to take him by the shoulders, turn him around, and drop kick him in the direction of burning leather, but I could only manage a sentence. “One. You seem appallingly placid considering there was a fire and no sprinklers went off. Two–”
“I disabled the sprinklers.”
“– do you. What? Oh.” My voice trailed off, and I guess I was boring him, leading him to meander further into the smoke while popping the pin to his extinguisher.
Ladies and gentlemen: The answer is never. Never in my limited time on this planet would I ever have come to believe that I’d spy with my big eyes the dry chemical extinguisher gushing everywhere at the hands of a man whose mannerisms tell me he’s done this before. I spy with my big eyes dying flames that gave life to thick smoke and a budding pyromaniac. At this point, I was keeping the wine, and I’d drink it out back behind a dumpster if need be.
He placed the extinguisher at his feet and flashed me a grin and two thumbs up, because truly, what he did was noble and heroic, and he should be proud his couch isn’t entirely destroyed. Flashing the same smile he owned well, I deceitfully flourished into the most elated being to ever face a man whose Facebook relationship status probably insinuated that he was in a relationship with fire. “Let’s start over. My name is Teresa Brewer. Would you like my phone number?”