Sunday, February 1, 2015


It was Sunday. More than anything he could want in his conceivable lifetime, past or future, Archie Locke wanted some Advil. His head was killing him.

The night before, after weeks of incessant prodding, Lena had finally convinced Archie to pay a visit to the Giving Tree. Regrettably, Archie drank way too much. The cognitive emancipation was intoxicating, in both an emotional and biological sense. But alcohol's punishment afterwards threatened to erase all of its value.

Archie sat up out of bed and immediately regretted making such a decision. His brain screamed out in agony. For a minute Archie thought he would never be happy again.

It was decided, right then and there. Advil was Archie's one and only true love. He begrudgingly sat up from his bed and walked over to put his clothes on. After getting dressed in his severely impaired daze, he had to triple-check to make sure he didn't shove his feet through 2 cups of ramen instead of his shoes. Before leaving, he looked at his skateboard leaning against the wall. He nearly puked in his mouth at the thought of riding it.

While the snow had been successfully diminishing over the past week, the fountain in the center of the intersection was still frozen through. Upon looking around town, there weren't as many people out and about as usual. Perhaps the whole town had a rough night.

The door made a welcoming chirp when Archie entered K Roger's, and Archie went straight for the medicine aisle. He was looking through the different levels of pain killers when something caught his eye from over the aisle wall. He peered over and saw a woman facing away from him with light grey hair and a tan trench coat belted at the waist. He inhaled sharply. It couldn't be possible.

As the woman turned around to face him, Archie's reality seemed to implode. Archie was staring into the eyes of his mother. A doppelgänger of his mother would have been ever accurate, as the woman was exceedingly well kept to have been locked up in an asylum for years.

She said nothing. Archie could say nothing more. She dropped her items and swiftly exited the store, moving between customers like smoke.

He couldn't move. The rationality he once had lay in ruin within his mind. How long had his mother been out? Why hadn't she told him? Questions filled his brain and tears filled his eyes. He'd tried so hard to avoid thinking about his mother. Everything he'd fought so hard to forget had appeared before him with no warning.

He clutched the Advil and moved towards the counter. The time waiting in line mindlessly passed too fast. As he handed the cashier the Advil, he noticed a bottle of antifreeze that the store had set out for people that needed it during the storm.

Advil wouldn't solve Archie's problems. The antifreeze shone like nectar across the store. He grabbed it and fought against the urge to open it before ringing it up. The bottle felt natural in his hand.

As soon as he retrieved his receipt Archie rushed out of the store and tore off the lid of the antifreeze. He took a large inhale, and was immensely satisfied. It was just as he'd hoped. But the air was painfully cold. He eyed the fountain in the center of the intersection, a sculpture of ice. It didn't take many steps until he was standing right next to it. The beauty of the structure was overwhelming. Archie knew this would be a good place for closure.

He held up the bottle of antifreeze, and truly felt it. The usage warning labels were just unwanted advice. Archie knew what he wanted to do.

He turned over the bottle of antifreeze, and the liquid fell onto the ice. Within seconds, the entire structure was ablaze in a dazzling fireball. Archie felt the heat on his face, and for the first time since the meteor shower he felt full. Pyromania was immensely satisfying sometimes.

Potassium permanganate is a chemical compound commonly used in the treatment of water, and it reacts viciously when paired with glycerin. Glycerine happens to be a major ingredient in antifreeze. Water acts as a catalyst, quickening the already destructive reaction. Archie might call his stunt art.

Archie wasn't sure how long he'd been staring at the flames when a man jogged up and asked what had happened. Archie didn't explain. He just watched and smiled. The man watched for awhile, and talked about how something interesting finally happened. Neither of them felt the desire to call the fire department.

"Wanna get coffee?"