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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Fire-fighter (10/05/06)

TITLE: Fire in the City
By Susan Johnstone


Here’s Andrew. He is 26 years old and an excellent electrician. Scaling ladders, rolling out lengths of cable, or connecting fuse wires, he is conscientious and cheerful. Andrew loves his work, loves God, and more desperately, loves his new wife.

Meet Kate. She is 24, petite and pretty. She works part-time at a pre-school. She watches the children play in the sandpit, asks them about their pets and helps them with cutting and pasting. She loves children, loves the Lord and definitely loves her husband.

Today Andrew is quietly hurrying to finish the job he’s on. Although he would never compromise his work standards, this time he will not stop to have a lengthy conversation with his customer. With a brief smile and a wave, Andrew is soon on his way home. His mind is consumed with a vision of his lovely bride. Her hair, her delicate face, the softness of her skin – Andrew is almost weak at the thought of her. He clenches the steering wheel of his van and prays for clear traffic.

Meanwhile, Kate has just opened the front door of their rented house. She too, is looking forward to seeing her spouse again. She thinks of his strong jaw, his muscular arms around her, and his tender look of love. Kate smiles to herself and sighs. She is totally in love!

Andrew steers his van through busy lanes of commuters. Imagining his arrival home, his heart burns with fire – he never dreamed he could have such a passion for Kate. She is everything to him. As he automatically indicates and turns into streets along his route, Andrew breathes deeply. He can smell her, see her, sense her, as if she were right there with him. His whole being is on fire for his beloved.

Kate feels the same way. She gets butterflies in her stomach when she thinks of Andrew coming home to her. But being a woman, she is also multi-tasking. Her mind is filled with other events and ideas, such as: What should she prepare for dinner? Did she water the pot-plants this morning? And, why is this house so darn cold? She walks to the bedroom and prepares to change out of her work clothes into something more comfortable.

Andrew, at last, is driving down his street. All thoughts of his day have vanished; his heart throbs with flames of ardour for Kate. His pulse quickens, his breathing accelerates; he flaps the front of his shirt with one hand. Why is it so hot in here? He can’t wait to see Kate.

Kate wanders into the lounge room and settles herself on the couch. She checks the clock – time for Andrew to come home. She picks up a magazine to read while she relaxes, but her concentration is broken with reveries of Andrew.

Andrew has pulled into the driveway, and after a quick self-check in the rear-view mirror, he is out of the van, drawn to the bride who awaits him. He has his hand on the doorknob; his burning love rages inside.

Kate looks up from her magazine at the sound of Andrew’s footsteps. Her face is radiant with expectation.

Andrew opens the door to greet his wife, his lovely wife. Nothing could quench this fire within.

Oh…. Except maybe that.

Kate waits for him, dressed in a t-shirt and a pair of baggy brown tracksuit pants. Tracksuit pants! One of the world’s best passion quenchers. Andrew feels like a bucket of water has been thrown on him. He looks at his wife... his lovely wife.

“Hi babe,” she says. “I missed you.”

“Me too.” He walks over to her, bends down and kisses her soft cheek. His heart is warm, but not on fire like it was. “What’s for dinner?”

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Member Comments
Member Date
terri tiffany10/12/06
What I liked - Everything! This was so delightful! I liked the use of present tense- I was feeling thier love and excitement build with them and then - boom- you dropped that scene in - very true (sadly) and powerful.
What I would change - as I said before - nothing at all - it is so well written.
Marilyn Schnepp 10/13/06
Very unique take on fire-fighter...but definitely true. On the other side of the coin, (just to be fair & square) - stubble, a/k/a the "5 o'clock shadow" can also be a fire-fighter. :) Bottom line, great entry, well written, and an enjoyable read.
david grant10/13/06
Very enjoyable read. I hope Andrew learns its what's inside the wrapper that makes the candy bar rock. But maybe that truth can be saved for the next short story.
Ann FitzHenry10/13/06
LOL! You made me feel like a newlywed again. I enjoyed this piece's subtle sense of humor. Thanks for the chuckle! :-)