Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I'm Burnin' for You

I wasted around the house the majority of this weekend. The reason was simple; I had to ready myself for this particular week. We’re rather shorthanded at the office this week, so I will be working a different shift, namely 3am to 1pm. As I’ve mentioned multiple times in the past, I do not have a good relationship with the Sandman. We had a falling out sometime around my birth and we’ve never been able to meet on common ground since.

Knowing that my shift would be changing, I was doing my best (though admittedly, my best was not good enough) to begin altering my schedule. I figured that the closer I was to this schedule by Monday, the better off I’d be when that alarm went off at 2am.

So, with my schedule somewhat changed and not much else going on, I sat around the house Saturday evening trying to make up my rassoodock what I wanted to do this evening. Ultimately I decided to head to the movies to check out “The Promotion”, the latest comedy starring John C. Reilly (Dewey Cox of Walk Hard).
With my mind made up, I gathered my keys and headed out the door to make my way down to the theater. I was not far, only a mile or two when I saw something interesting approaching from the other direction.

I was stopped at a traffic light when a car came from the opposite direction, a Spy Hunter-like cloud of smoke pouring out the back of it. I kind of chuckled to myself and thought, “Man, those guys are burning some oil” until I noticed the flames. Not detailed flames, but literal flames licking the undercarriage of the car.

Almost immediately a chorus of car horns blasted, attempting to let the guy know that something was amiss. Apparently he heard, because he immediately pulled over a lane and headed into the nearest Chick Fil-A.

Being the ghoulish type that I am, I decided to follow, just in case there was any sweet mayhem or carnage that I could snap pictures of and upload to Ogrish. I turned around at my earliest convenience and parked a few car lengths away at the restaurant.

Mind you, this is less than a minute and a half after I first spotted the car. The car was now abandoned, flames still licking underneath, making their way to the front of the vehicle. I dialed 911, but by the time I was connected to an operator the police were arriving.

The owner and his girlfriend were standing nearby, so I sauntered over and did my
best to assess the situation.

Me: Wow, that’s crazy! I saw you guys coming down the road, absolutely pouring out smoke. I figured you were burning oil. It’s a good thing everybody started honking at you.

Him: Yeah, we never noticed a thing. It wasn’t hot in the car, the gauges didn’t show anything weird. We heard the honking and noticed the smoke coming out the back. It wasn’t until we were out of the car that we noticed the flames.

The employees of Chick Fil-A had begun gathering outside the door to watch the excitement unfold. One of them stood by the entrance to the parking lot directing people the other way so that nobody got to close to the conflagration.

At this point it is maybe 3 minutes since the first time I laid eyes on the vehicle. The flames had overtaken the engine and were now consuming the passenger compartment. There was a ‘crack’ as the windows shattered from the heat and a further ‘pop…hiss’ as the tires started to burn and then exploded.

Even from our distance, the temperature was overwhelming. An oppressive wall of heat assaulted us, burning at our noses. Every few seconds the wind would shift and a noxious cloud of black and green smoke would head our way.

Somebody asked the driver what kind of car that was. Apparently it was some rare model Jaguar convertible. The driver admitted that he’d be very sad about that later, but for now was just happy to be okay.

By the six minute mark the fire department had arrived and were doing their best to combat the engulfed vehicle. The car itself was a total loss, no question, so the fire department had to contain things as best they could. They set to work on the car, tearing apart the bumper and various other components so as to direct their stream better. They managed to put out the flames and quell the remaining smoldering bits in short order.

After all of the excitement, there was only one thing left for me to do; namely, eat Chick Fil-A. Into the restaurant I went to have a chicken sandwich and watch the remaining excitement through the window. The delightful stench of burning rubber filled the restaurant, triggering an enhanced appetite on all who were inside. As nice as that smell was, it was one I didn’t much care for, so I went ahead and grabbed my sandwich to go.

By the time I got back outside the news choppers had arrived. I said a few more words to the owner and then headed home to see if I could catch the excitement on the local news.

No such luck.

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Bonez said...

Why do you get to have all the fun? And how come you ain't got no awesome flaming Jaguar pix to grace your post? Didn't you have the Bonez newscam with you? A 30 second clip of the grieving owner would have been appreciated as well as some action shots of bystanders succumbing to the noxious fumes and dropping to the ground in convulsions... while you nonchalantly ate your Chic Fil-A. You really missed a golden opportunity here, E.

E said...

Funny you should mention that. I've been considering carrying a camera with me now, as you never know when something like this may crop up.