Walking into his bathroom, he turned on the shower a little cooler than normal hoping it would wake him up faster. It did help. And as he woke up, and the fog from his brain lifted, he remembered the look on her face when he’d offered to walk her to her car. It had been a mix of shock and panic. He’d felt an immediate need to make it better, but was at a loss. She wasn’t his Mistress. They were just friends, or that’s what he was hoping for anyway. It wouldn’t be appropriate to touch her in any way without her permission at this point.
He rinsed the shampoo out of his hair, turned off the water, and grabbed his towel. On a positive note, she’d not sent him away. Friends was not what he wanted, but he could work with it. She’d been hurt. He could understand that too. His last girlfriend hadn’t understood his needs as much as he’d tried to explain them to her, and she’d lashed out at him. That last fight they’d had was the driving force behind his exploration into BDSM. He needed someone who understood what he needed, what he craved. Trying to fake it wasn’t working for him anymore.
With five minutes to spare, Drew pulled up the station house. There were a few guys milling about, but everything looked pretty normal. “Parker!”
He turned, and looked up. Shawn Madison, his fellow lieutenant at station five, was leaning over the railing. “Morning, Madison,” Drew shouted back.
Shawn pushed off the railing, standing to his full height again. “Captain wants to see us in his office.”
“Let me run to my locker, and I’ll be right up.”
It wasn’t unusual for Captain Franks to want to meet with both Shawn and Drew. Three were few times where one of them wasn’t on duty, and it was his way of keeping us up to date on whatever was happening in our city. What was unusual was that it was happening minutes after he walked in the door. Seven o’clock in the morning was an odd time to have a meeting, especially when the captain didn’t usually get in until eight.
As I headed upstairs to my meeting, I passed Johnson and Rodriguez, two of our EMTs. “Morning, Lieutenant,” Johnson said, pausing for a moment before they passed by me.
It was moment too long apparently. “Get to work you two,” came the captain’s billowing voice from above. “Don’t you have some lives to save?”
They smiled and have the captain a halfhearted salute. “Yes, sir.”
Shaking my head, I bound up the remaining stairs and followed Captain Franks into his office. Once the door was closed firmly behind me, he took a seat behind his desk. He looked first at Shawn and then me. “I know you were off yesterday, Parker, so I’ll bring you up to speed. There was a five alarm fire yesterday at one of the abandoned warehouses on Crawford Street.”
That got my attention. We didn’t have many five alarms in our neck of the woods. Two and three alarms were fairly common, but in my last eight years as a firefighter there’d only been one other five alarm fire and it had claimed thirteen lives. That wasn’t an experience I ever wanted repeat. “Was anyone hurt?”
“No, thankfully. If there were any homeless inside, they got out before the fire took over. We were just lucky it didn’t spread to nearby buildings.”
“Another ten minutes and it would have,” Shawn interjected. “The building next door has a nice black singe to prove it.”
“Be that as it may,” Captain Franks said, “we have bigger problems at the moment.” He sighed and handed us each a folder. “I made copies for each of you. The fire marshal is almost positive this wasn’t an accident. “ Both Shawn and I started flipping through our folders as he talked. “There’s clear evidence of accelerant usage in multiple locations. Someone wanted that building to burn and burn fast.”
Drew was trying to read and listen at the same time. The pictures from the scene spoke volumes, however. You could see the burn patterns where the fire crawled up the wall rapidly. It was a fireman’s worst nightmare.
“How’d they get the report done so quickly?” Shawn asked. “Usually it takes days to get this stuff back.”
“That’s true. These are only preliminary reports, but from what they’ve found it matches the specs from the four alarm across town last week. The Fire Marshall will need another day or two to confirm, but it looks like we man have a serial arsonist on our hands.”
To check out other Tuesday Tales authors, go to http://tuesdaytales1.blogspot.com/.