For those who are new to my writing, I’ve been sober for nearly two years. This period of sobriety has come after four years of heavy drug abuse. This piece takes place about five years ago, during my time running amuck.

Recently, I posted a story about being dosed with an unknown hallucinogen. This piece takes place on the same property approximately two weeks later. My time spent there was never dull.

The Summer of 2015 was painful. I had recently moved out of my home of 11 years, and drugs seemed to be the only thing capable of numbing even a small portion of my misery.

I was working full-time at a steakhouse in Westminster [Colorado], but spending my time off at a friend’s mobile home. The property was a hangout for criminals of all sorts, including my drug connections.

I had recently purchased a 1975 Mercury Bobcat Woody Wagon from the homeowner. The car was beautiful, and he let me have it cheap. No, the auto was not stolen. When I plated the vehicle, the DMV told me that I would have to travel to California to find another 1975 Bobcat.

Unknown to me, when I bought the car, it had Hotrod potential. In fact, the right mechanic could build the car into a 100k Hotrod. As soon as a few of my acquaintances found this out, things got ugly. Twice, they tried to steal the car. Once with me inside. Both times they were unsuccessful. I made a few [very] dangerous enemies by not giving up my car. Fortunately, I can be more dangerous.

One evening after working late, I stopped by the trailer to see someone. My buddy had already gone to bed, so I sat down in the living room recliner. I remember hearing a couple of guys talking about money. One dude was asking another dude to pick up $1000. The payment was for something dirty. I got the impression that someone was going to get hurt. I still don’t know the details.

I fell asleep in the recliner at about midnight. At 6:00 AM, I woke myself up. Yes, I sensed danger in my sleep and woke myself up. Not only did I sense danger, but I smelled smoke. When I opened my eyes, two things jumped out right away. One, a woman was sitting on the couch and looking at me. Two, there was a small fire on the living room carpet between the woman and me. The fire was small, no more than the size of a small campfire. The woman was not paying attention to the fire. She was staring at me.

At that moment, something about the woman’s body language told me to stay clear of her. I jumped up and grabbed the hose from the kitchen sink. It was close by, so I began spraying the fire. Within seconds I realized it wasn’t going to work. I ran outside and turned on the hose. Even though the hose had been fine a couple of days before, it was now tangled beyond use. I ran back inside and made sure the two people who were still in the bedroom got outside. By this time, the entire living room was in flames, and the trailer was filling with smoke. 

By the time the fire department rolled up, everyone had disappeared except for the owner. I came back and spoke with a neighbor two weeks later. She told me that the fire inspector had said that an accelerator had been used. About one week after that, I spotted the woman from the couch at a gas station. She turned around and ran off.

Joseph Shanklin

August 17, 2020

4 thoughts on “The Journals [Waking Up To a Fire]

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