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Molotov Cocktails on Chimney Cake Lane

On the eighth Daze of Christmas,

John Weagly gives to us. . .

Molotov Cocktails on Chimney Cake Lane by John Weagly

I don’t know much about fire.

I know it’s hot. I know it burns. That’s about all I know.

I do know a lot about Chimney Cakes. I’ve been making and selling them in an old storefront on Chestnut for the last seventeen years. Cakes shaped like a chimney. Sugar, flour, eggs, yeast, melted butter, and maybe a little cinnamon or ground walnuts. Hollow inside and golden brown outside; a delicious, sweet tube. Chimney Cakes sell pretty well year-round, but they get real popular around the holidays.

Good location and good product. It’s all pretty good.

This past October, guess what happens. This cocksucker opens a shop next door to me to sell gingerbread houses.

He sticks his head in my store around Halloween. “My friend!  My friend!” he says. “You and I—the holidays will be very good to us!  We will be a Yuletide destination!  Celebration central!  The final sugarplum stopover on a holly-jolly journey!”

I have my misgivings about his statement.

The holiday season arrives and people start coming to the neighborhood, looking for special dessert treats. Guess what all these potential customers get excited about? You got it: fucking gingerbread houses. That dickhead can’t bake them fast enough!  Meanwhile, my Chimney Cakes are going stale and crumbling to dust. Have you ever eaten gingerbread?  It tastes like it was baked in Santa’s ass.

It ain’t right. I need the holiday boom to make it through the rest of the year.

My neighbor? He knows things ain’t balanced. He sticks his head in my shop again right after Thanksgiving. “No need to worry, my friend!  No need to worry. Snowflakes and Chimney Cakes—that is what togetherness is about. Your business will pick up as surely as flying reindeer leave a trail of rainbows!”

I decide to do something. Even if this douche-hole wasn’t cutting into my profits, I’d still want to ruin him for the ass-bag way he talks.

I come up with a simple plan: fire.

Seems legit, right? Bakery, heat: burn that motherfucker out. A goodbye with no questions asked.

I fill a couple of glass bottles with gasoline and stick rags in the top. We’ve all seen Molotov cocktails in cop shows and action movies. No reason they shouldn’t work in real life, right?  My neighbor’s got this dumbass plate glass window that’s covered with ribbons, bows, candy canes, and this annoying gingerbread family. I pick a nice, quiet December night, I light the fuses, and throw the bottles. There’s this shattering of glass, a whump of flames taking hold, and my plan is underway.

I watch from the sidewalk across the street. The fire crawls around his stupid shop, engulfing the walls, the counter tops, and the kitchen. I smile, smelling the smoke and picturing all those obnoxious gingerbread houses being obliterated. I pretend to hear the gingerbread people with their wide gumdrop eyes screaming in agony. His whole store is a mess of flames in no time.

Remember, though, I don’t know much about fire.

I don’t know how fast it can spread. It’s only a couple of minutes before my shop joins in the fun. Like I said, it’s an old building and it acts like it’d been waiting on that fire sixty years. With tears in my eyes, I listen to the crackle and roar as the fire devours everything and the walls fall in on themselves. My life’s work collapses into burnt timbers and ash.

I look up at the winter stars as a light sparkle of snow begins to fall. I swear I’ll never eat gingerbread again.

JOHN WEAGLY’s short fiction has been nominated for a Derringer Award 6 times, winning one in 2008, and has been nominated for a Spinetingler Award. As a playwright, his first play was produced in 1992. Since then, his scripts have received over 100 productions by theaters around the world.