Sunday, November 30, 2008

Kaboom at dawn

In my neighborhood I often hear disturbances -- morning, noon and night. Even when I'm sleeping, a part of me is vigilant. But even when I hear something, I don't necessarily rush out the door. Especially if I'm in bed.

Last night, close to dawn, I heard a voice, or maybe more than one, on the street, maybe some other noises -- I was half-asleep. Then a man yelled loudly, "Hey!!" If he had yelled again, I would have gotten up, but there was no more yelling, so I thought maybe I can go back to sleep. Then a car horn started sounding continuously -- a small Japanese car, judging from the "beeeeeeep." It lasted about a minute, and I thought, shit, somebody's just picking up a co-worker -- first he yelled and now he's honking. But after a minute or so, the car's horn shattered into two different notes and then died out. Then: BLAM!

I got up, walked to the front windows in the living room and looked out. A few doors up, a car was engulfed in flames, a ball of fire about 15 feet in diameter. Standing naked in the cold living room, I dialed 911, but by the time I was talking to them, I heard sirens already.

No way was I getting back to sleep after that, and it was almost 6:00 a.m. anyway. So while the firemen put out the fire, I took a shower and got dressed. By the time I got down to the street about a half hour later, the fire truck was pulling away and there was just a cop car, with a cop walking around the scene and making notes. The destroyed car was a small convertible with stuff piled in the back seat -- clothing and books that had partially burned up. Black burned mess, including several partially burned books, were all over the street and sidewalk, sitting in puddles of water.

By the time I left the house to go to church 45 minutes later, even the car had been towed away.

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