Two Sundays ago, I decided to be lazy. I slept in, made a nice big breakfast, and took a long hot shower. It was a nice day. I stepped out of the shower at 11:30 am started to dry off. The moment my foot hit the rug, I heard a loud pounding at my door. ‘Kids’ I thought as a wrapped a towel around me. The pounding came again. I called, “Who is it?” to the door as I reached for the peep-hole slider.
A strong male voice answered, “Fire department!”
‘Right, fire department…’ I sarcastically thought as I looked through the peep-hole. “Holly crap,” I whispered as I looked through the hole and saw two firefighters in full turn out gear. Not thinking straight I opened the door wrapped only in a towel. To their credit, both firefighters booth immediately lowered their gaze to the floor to give me some privacy.
“Miss,” one began in a low male voice, “Do smell gas in your apartment?”
“No,” I said quickly, “But now that the door is open, I smell gasoline in the hallway…”
“Do you know the source?” the other asked.
“NO,” I said getting a bit more disturbed with the conversation, “What’s going on?”
“There was a reported smell of gasoline in the hallway. We are checking it out. Being safe,” he paused for a moment, “*cough*, perhaps you should get dressed and wait outside…”
“Sure,” I said, “I have a guinea pig I have to find and get out too. This may take a couple of minutes. Ok?”
“Fine,” the second man said, “Just don’t take too long. Do you know who else lives here?”
“Yes,” I replied trying to shut the door a bit, “I’ll help you with that once I’ve got clothes on and the guinea pig in hand…” I didn’t give him time to reply. I shut the door and ran for my clothes dresser. Yes, I was in a bit of a panic. And yes, due to that panic I picked out shorts and a top that didn’t match. And yes I tried to put on my shorts without an undergarment. But, I was dressed. All I had to do was grab a snug and find Alfalfa and grab him and get him in and get out. Easy, right?
Well, guinea pigs aren’t stupid. They pick up on the emotions of their fellow pigs and human slaves. I was panicked. So, Alfalfa was panicked and he hid. Why? Well, according to guinea pig logic, the smartest thing two do when two big oddly dressed male humans come to the door to save you is to hide. (What a dumbass.)
I began to look for the brat. I looked in his cage. No guinea pig. I looked under the bed. No guinea pig. I looked under the desk. No guinea pig. I even looked under the sink. No guinea pig. As I stood surveying the apartment and wondering where the beast had gone, there was another pounding at the door.
“Miss?” called a firefighter, “Are you dressed?”
I walked over to the door, unlocked, and opened it. “I’m dressed,” I sighed as it opened.
“You ready?” the firefighter asked.
“No,” I said plainly. “I can’t find my guinea pig…”
“Merrrr,” the firefighter said and added, “Did you look in his cage?”
“Yes,” I sighed, “He’s a free-ranger… He’s hid because he’s scared of you.”
“Free?” the firefighter asked. “Well, we didn’t see him go past us…” he added. I guess he wanted to assure me that he and his men had not pig-napped my demon. I must have given him a look of disapproval. “Well,” he sighed, “can you tell us who lives here before we evacuate you?
“Evacuate us?!?” I managed to get out a bit too loudly. “Why?”
“Standard operating procedure… unless we find the source of the smell…” he said with a shrug.
“Fine,” I said pulling the door shut behind me. I met the chief mid stairs and told him about all of the residents in the building. I explained that I needed to find my guinea pig before I could evacuate.
“Is the guinea pig stuck?” the Chief asked. There was an odd glint in his eye. “We are expert at rescues…” he added with glee in his voice.
Another fireman up the stairs added, “We can get him for you…” he tightened his grip on the crow bar he was carrying. There were several looks exchanged. Some unspoken communication started a mini fireman of stampede towards my apartment.
“Wait!” I called following a group of over excited fireman. They smelled destruction and were not going stop till they got their teeth on it. There were five firemen in my apartment all with implements of destruction. They all had this glint in their eyes.
“Where is he?” one of them asked.
“No, no, no, no…” I said. “You are not going to tear up my apartment to find my guinea pig!”
All five of the fireman looked down at the ground. Clearly I had disappointed them. There would be no rescue mission. No destruction. The implements of destruction would not taste victory. “Ok, people,” I commanded, “OUT, OUT, OUT!” The fireman slowly started to retreat from my apartment.
“HEY,” came from the hallway, “We got to pop open this door! Give me a hand…” That speed up the group of them. The smell of potential destruction was fresh and they were on the trail.
The Chief came to my door, “Miss?” he said, “You do need to get that pet and get out… Ok?”
“Yes, sir,” I said, “Give me a minute or two. Most likely he’s under the bed.”
“Quick,” the Chief added. I turned and frantically began to search for Alfalfa. The next three minutes are a blur of bites, blood, loud wheeks, and bruises. But, that’s the next part of the story…next week…