#129 Save The Bear.


My nose is running like a raging river, my eyes burn like they’re on fire, my body aches and I can hardly walk. All because I was stupid enough to come to Chicago where it’s so cold, the zoo had to take its Polar Bear inside so it wouldn’t freeze.

Like a fool, I thought I was immune and wanted to show I was tougher than that wimpy bear. Now I’m paying for my mistake by hosting a viral disease called a cold and wishing I’d of been as smart as that Polar Bear. But when I struck a match and the blue and orange flames dance at the end of my fingers, I forget about the cold.

I lose myself and feel free at the sight of flames, be they roaring fires, or a match flame makes no difference. When I see the colors and smell the fire scent, I get a tingling between my legs that feels so darn good, I can never replicate it. Firebug, pyromaniac, is what I’ve been called by those who don’t understand how good it feels when I light a fire. In the past, I had no control and started fires whenever the urge hit me. As I got older, I used my talent for financial gain.

I let it be known in the right circles that if a business was failing or being investigated by the IRS, that a fire started by me for a fee could solve most problems like this. Soon I became teeming with jobs and had to raise my fire price. I’ve done well and no longer need to work, but continue for fun.

This job would be pro-bono because I wanted to see if I could accomplish what no other arsonist in history has done, set the Chicago River on fire. There was no insurance on the river, but there is a large wager that said it couldn’t be done. So instead of a fee, I bet a large sum it could.

Used as a dumping ground by all the manufacturing plants lining the river, it has been declared a fire hazard because of the large accumulation of magnesium, sodium, and calcium phosphide. I studied the composition of Greek fire and knew many of the ingredients were distributed throughout the river. All I need is a way to ignite the river, and I’d win the bet.

Fire needs three things to burn: Fuel, heat, and oxygen. I mixed my chemicals, some sodium, and hydrogen peroxide together. The water would provide the oxygen when I dumped it into the river, and it would burst into flame and ignite the entire 156 mile river.

At midnight, I parked my rented truck on the Lake Street Bridge and dumped the load of chemicals into the river. Flames sprouted from the water almost touching the bridge. I wondered if the immense heat could melt the bridge. I scurried to the river bank where I had a safer view of the flames licking at the night sky.

It instantly warmed the air and for the first time in weeks, Chicago’s temperature rose above zero degrees. When I watched the flames rush up and down the river, I felt the tingling between my legs like I never felt it before. Emergency vehicles soon lined the banks of the river. The more water they sprayed on the fire, the higher the flames rose.

The sight caused me to convulse with delight. A fire inspector familiar with the reactions of pyromaniacs observed me and had me arrested for arson. All I’d say is I want a lawyer. Eventually, one came to see me and for a substantial amount promised to get me set free. I agreed. We went before a judge in the morning, and charges against me setting the river on fire were read.

My lawyer jumped to his feet. “Your honor, under the constitution my client as a citizen has the right to light a fire to get warm.”

“Not a 156 mile long fire,” the prosecutor interjected.

“Look at the good the fire has done,” my lawyer said. “It has burned many of the pollutants in our water and has raised the temperature throughout the city. Why even the polar bear has left the inside and is now back outdoors at the zoo. So you see judge, my client should be commended instead of condemned by this tribunal.”

“If the bear is outside, I agree,” the judge said. “Your client should be set free and given a reward for what he has done.”

Released, treated as a hero, and given a key to the city, I went to visit the polar bear. It swam in ice cold water. What would happen to it if I dumped a bag of sodium and hydrogen peroxide into the water? I imagined the yellow flames and the white bear swimming in them. The tingling between my legs started and I couldn’t stop myself. I had to see the white bear swimming in a sea of orange flames. I made a list of chemicals I’d need and I’d return at night when the white fur against blue and orange flames would be most beautiful.


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