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Picture of the Day

July 26, 2016


Being an oddjobber I sometimes get early morning calls for emergency repairs, "putting out fires" as they say. Only this time it was more literal--a smoke alarm was going off in the middle flat of a triplex I have the keys to. I was still in bed but got there in a hurry, telling myself it probably had nothing to do with the hot smoky cuts in buried framing I was making yesterday while moving a gfci in the unit upstairs, but I couldn't help imagining how a little fragment of red-hot nail might have fallen in some chemical-laden dust within the wall and smoldered overnight before erupting in flame 16 hours later. Such are the concerns of the self-employed handyman.

I was heartened not to hear sirens but as I rounded the corner I saw the pumper truck was already
there with four firefighters standing out front, ready to break the door down. I fumbled through a
 half dozen keys, all of which fit but only one opened the lock, and that only after I tried them
 all twice. I knew the dog who lived there and we got along, but I didn't know there was a
second one--a snarling pitbull that lunged and snapped but didn't try very hard to bite.
  I backed out fast, shut the door, turned to the firemen, "There's a dog."                      
"What kind?"
"Of course."

There was also the hot thin smoke of a forgotten skillet
 left heating on the stove, but no one was eager to go in.
 Two of the firefighters donned presumably toothproof
 pants and coats while the one in charge described
the plan to fend off the dog with CO2--one of
those fire extinguishers that spew white fog.
 Now woofy was at a bedroom window,
 baring fangs and barking, so I started
tapping the glass and suggested they
go in and shut the door behind it
while I kept it distracted. The plan
worked and I lamented having let
  die my childhood Emergency One!
dreams of becoming a fireman. And
though it looked like I kept my cool,
I messed up shooting video of Fido
as he went bonkers at the window,
captured only this single mediocre
frame instead of the extended slow
motion savagery I'd hoped for. Oh
well, at least the house didn't burn down.