The night I set the chair on fire, they sent two fire trucks, and three cop cars. The cops came up as I was watching it burn, and they did not even try to take my beer from me, or the gas can, which was probably a good idea. The flame was a two-story high column of orange light and stinking black smoke from the burning foam rubber, and the greasy sixties floral skin of the thing was polyester, at least in part. The gasoline exploded when the flame hit it, and the boom had made my neighbors report an explosion, their weirdly sculpted bushes lit with sunset and hell -light. The chair had a name, was the throne of our underground court, beside the washing machine, the sump pump hole, the empty whiskey bottles, the Black Sabbath and Misfits records, the black indoor/outdoor carpet,the windows used as doors, covered in stolen flags, the chair of office soaked in bong water and gas station wine, in boilermakers and cheap gin. I had been hounded, as I was going away to school, off to seek my fortune in the wide wide world, to "get rid of that ugly piece of trash that you dragged into my house" before I let the door hit me on the ass, by my mother, through a thick slurred fog of sleeping pills. The beers were stolen from the vegetable crisper, old Milwaukee tall boys held by a plastic ring, and the gas was meant for a battered lawn mower that was seldom used.( In our last place, we had let the grass grow till it rippled like wheat,heavy with seeds and when the law came and informed us it would have to be cut, I cut it with a sickle and let it dry in the sun before I bagged it, and then cut it twice, That yard would have burned down the block, but this one was kept passable by contract with HUD.) The iron railings were kept painted, inside and out and the avocado-green stove and oven worked as per the fair housing act, but the fireplace was boarded over (,fire too dangerous in the hands of the poor) and we had no hatchet, so I determined it was to be a viking funeral for my youth, for my chair, and dragged it drunkenly up the stairs, while her stupor held, while my sisters slept, and in the middle of the walk, I placed it, soaked it down with five gallons of gas and led a thin thread of fuel, fuse style, up the walk and set it roaring up to the level of the second floor windows, and sang, until the sirens started.
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