We didn’t start the fire…

…because I was sleeping! After a long day at work, I returned after lunch and beer to my apartment. Turned on the AC, changed into shorts, fluffed up my pillow and snuck in to my comforter. Ah that blissful feeling! The room being just that bit cool and the comforter just that bit warm, a happy stomach full of yummy Chinese food and that golden glow around me that is a side effect of a few beers. I was slipping away into deep, deep slumber obviously dreaming about something or someone special. When everything is so perfect how can anything go wrong, right? Right?

Barely had I been in heaven for an hour when I got deported like an illegal alien. I woke up to a commotion outside my door and heard someone calling for watchman pretty frantically. I tried to ignore it, people in my building and watchmen have a long feuding history. It seemed to be just another chapter over some silly issue as usual. But the person wouldn’t shut up and the watchman wouldn’t turn up! Please note that there were no cries for H-E-L-P or yells of F-I-R-E. Nothing that would interest any one who is not a watchman, I don’t consider myself one, any more than a book interests a student.

It took two minutes of interrupting my sleep to instigate enough will power in me to throw off my cozy, cozy comforter and take the trouble to open the door and peek out.

So half sleepy, half awake and fully pissed I dragged myself to the door and pulled it open. Holy Guacamole! The door to the apartment opposite to mine was flung open and there was a thick smoke coming out form it. Hell, I could even see the room lit up by the brilliant light from the flames. It’s too hot for bonfire idiots! Then it slowly sank in.

A billion things were going on in my head but still I managed to come up with a brilliant idea that I had to get my ass out of there before I became smoked bacon. So I calmly closed the door and woke up Sean who was sleeping oblivious to the fact that he was on the high way to hell. I think I woke him up too calmly so he didn’t realize the seriousness of the situation. It took me good 5 minutes to get it in his head, which was still in snooze mode, that we had to get out of there. Quickly pulled on my three-fourths and sandals and was about to leave when the impossible happened. I realized that in case of fire we are supposed to dump water on it. That’s it! We needed water! So I opened the door and dragged all buckets out. By that time there was a small group of people already there helping create more panic and confusion. In middle of it all someone took control and decided to put out the fire with water. So I supplied these people with few buckets full of water till the fire was finally put out.

I inhaled so much smoke in those few minutes that my lungs had started plotting an escape to save their lives. A few deep breaths of fresh air and I had the stubbed out the revolt. The fire was started by a short circuit so they had shutdown power to one phase, ie, the apartment across and mine! So much for being a good Samaritan. Power was finally restored few hours later and till then me and Sean were wandering around like the nomads we are eating ice cream to survive the October heat. Luckily for my neighbor their apartment wasn’t filled with books and booze like mine. Had it been my apartment on fire it had enough fuel for the fire to keep it going till the New Year’s party! So I survived yet another day to tell my story. Going at this rate my autobiography will have more thrills and close encounters than the entire Bond series. Now I can finally get the T Shirt that says “I survived my neighbor’s fire”, that I have been wanting for so long.

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