Arsonist's Consideration of the Plan

by Mistress Elsha Hawk
originally published at 01:57PM on Thursday, October 02, 2008

The old houses in our neighborhood were still heated by ancient oil furnaces. Large tanks for the oil sat in basements, or just outside the houses with skinny copper tubes running into the furnaces.

Many of the houses had converted to propane for cooking and some for heating, too. Wendy’s still used the oil to heat. Her tank was in the basement, which was accessible by stairs through a door inside the house.

I was standing down there with her after school, looking it over.

“See? We can just unhook the line and oil will spill everywhere! We just had it filled.”

“How would we get out?” I asked sarcastically, to show her I wasn’t following her in this. Was I?

“Well, we light it from the stairs and hurry up!”

“How? It will look like arson!” I snapped back.

“The lantern!”

“What? no way! Why would your Mom need to go into the basement with a lantern?”

“The power’s off! We are out of candles.”

“The power’s not..”
She flipped the main breaker.
“It is now!”

I stared at her in wonder.