On Sunday’s I like to take a break from writing anything new. My intention is to take this day and repost some of my older blogs for newer readers. But a simple rewrite can improve things. Here is today’s Sunday Rewrite.
The reworking of part two of my Living the Dream Trilogy
LIVING THE DREAM
PART TWO OF THREE (Part One is Here)
PUSHING THE DREAM
Last time you learned how I had a chance to fulfil a dream but blew it. I was left with a choice, to wait for fate to allow the opportunity to arise or take matter into my own hands and force the issue. I had to come up with a way to finally use a fire extinguisher in a responsible manner to, once and for all, settle the nagging question that had gone unanswered for the previous ten years. Was the way I envisioned a fire extinguisher working in a story written for junior high accurate? Unfortunately, weeks had passed since the truck caught fire at the gas bar where I worked; the Fish Bowl as we called it. No other emergencies requiring the use of a fire extinguisher had occurred.
The Fish Bowl would often serve as a hang-out during the evenings. Friends of the gas attendant on duty would sometimes come and pass time in the glass-walled gas shack, when nothing of greater interest was happening elsewhere in town. One night Ross dropped in. Sitting there he suddenly picked up the fire extinguisher and without the slightest twinge of guilt pulled the safety pin out of the handle. I was shocked. Flabbergasted. How could he simply break the seal wired to the pin for no reason other then boredom? There was no proper emergency no reason to do so, yet he did, guilt free. I could never do that. Yes, I may have daydreamed of doing it over and again, but without a valid reason I could never bring myself to pull the pin.
Now that the seal on the pin was broken, the midnight shifts that summer were an unending temptation. Sitting alone in the gas shack, the clock closing in on 4:00 AM, with no one awake for miles, I would slide the pin out. A single nerve impulse from my brain is all it would take to flex my grip. Still, I couldn’t yield to the urge to play irresponsibly with life saving equipment. My dream to use a fire extinguisher in an actual emergency remained unassuaged.
Summer passed into Fall, and working one afternoon I noticed the charge indicator on the red extinguisher had fallen out of acceptible range, indicating the pressure was below its normal level. Being a conscientious employee, and hoping to earn a brownie point or two, I entered the main building of the car dealership and informed management of the situation. The member of the management team responsible for the gas bar, (I’ll call him Larry) promptly told me to get lost and stop bothering him.
A week later, with nothing of greater interest happening elsewhere in town, I decided to drop in and hang out at the Fish Bowl. Melvin was working the night shift. Our conversation turned to the state of the fire extinguisher and how, if there was ever an emergency and the unthinkable should happen, even though management had been informed of the situation, it would be us, as the gas attendants, found liable for negligence from damages that could be prevented with a properly charged fire extinguisher.
This made me mad.
“I am going fix that!” I stood up, snatched the fire extinguisher, swung open the door and stormed out into the parking lot.
Melvin, fell back in his seat, he started to stutter. “B-Brad, what are you going to do?” I didn’t answer, My mind was giddy with excitement. A madness had me it its grip. I was about to do the unthinkable, surrendering to desires long imagined and discharge the extinguisher in the parking lot. I was convinced that if the fire extinguisher was used, the manager I called Larry could not ignore the situation He would have to see the extinguisher recharged. To me this was a responsible reason to use the extinguisher, I was about to make my dream come true.
I laughed with abandon as I yanked the pin from the handle and tossed it into the dark and squeezed the handle. Behind me, Melvin nervously started saying random words in a rapid fashion, it’s what he does when panicked. The chalky, dust-like substance exploded from the nozzle as the cloud of fire retardant bloomed in the dark. It covered the pavement at my feet as I indulged in a dream come true. My question was answered and yes, it worked, just as I imagined it would in that story written long ago.
My dream was fulfilled, but the experience left me empty, my expectations were let down? My dream was to use the fire extinguisher in an actual emergency, but I had cheated. There was no emergency. I sighed, handed the extinguisher to Melvin, went home and went to bed.
The next morning I began my shift at fish bowl, and when the main building opened, I walked into Management’s office and thudded the fire extinguisher down on Larry’s desk with the demand that it be recharged. Larry didn’t tell me to get lost this time, rather, he told me to stick that thing up… well, let just say it would have been very painful to follow his instructions. As I walked out of his office with the empty fire extinguisher under my arm, I turned and pointed my finger, and stated like a prophet of old, “If anything happens. I am not taking responsibility for this.”
Larry called me a name that wasn’t my own and showed me one of his fingers; different then the one I was using to point.
I left. Larry had car sales to manage not gas pump safety equipment to maintain.
If this is part two of a trilogy, then you realize this story doesn’t end here.
===End of Part 2===
Find your way back here again two Sundays from now for the reworking of Part 3 when it all goes up in flames!