Wherein I put out a real-life fire: Stunt Writing day 4

I’m writing this on Friday evening, just before I retire to the bedroom for some hard-earned movie watching with my husband.

Guess what? I didn’t go for an official walk today. You see, Fridays are my designated days off for the week (my husband gets Fridays and Saturdays off, and I like to mirror his weekends so that we can spend quality time together), and I usually have about a half-day of actual work, so this morning I finished up my work, did some laundry, and had a nice breakfast cooked by my lovely husband.

And then we decided to hit the grocery store for a few items.

After chuckling with the clerk about my husband’s t-shirt (it says “I’m married to a smoking hot writer,” and the clerk was like “Well, you are hot… but are you a writer?”), we headed back to our car with our purchases in tow.

Proof that my husband really does exist, and does wear this t-shirt (sometimes with no pants).
Proof that my husband really does exist, and does wear this t-shirt (sometimes with no pants).

Now, to set the scene, it’s southern California. Despite the sprinkling of rain earlier in the week, we’re in a going-on-4-years-now drought. So the vegetation around here, if it’s still alive, is quite dry.

As we were loading stuff into our trunk, I noticed a truck had backed into the space ahead of ours. I mostly noticed this because I saw smoke coming from the tailpipe, which I first mistook for smoky exhaust – but then quickly realized was actually a small fire!

The truck’s hot tailpipe had actually ignited a tall patch of decorative grass, and a small fire was erupting!

I ran over to the truck, and tapped on the guy’s window to alert him of the problem. The guy quickly pulled the vehicle away from the fire and into another spot, while my husband grabbed one of the gallons of water we’d luckily just purchased and began dousing the flames.

At first, it didn’t look like the fire was going to be contained! I was worried that the guy’s truck was going to ignite, since the flames quickly leaped up from the grass, and could’ve jumped to his tires. And my husband poured almost a full gallon of water onto the flames before he managed to put it out!

The driver of the truck came over and emptied the water out of his cooler onto the brush as well, and my husband said “Crisis averted!”

It was kind of amazing how quickly smoke turned to fire. And how scary it all could’ve been, if we hadn’t jumped in to help. I mean, what if that guy’s truck had caught fire? I’m not sure whether or not a gas tank really explodes like in the movies, but I certainly didn’t want to find out! Plus, the other people in the parking lot were mainly elderly folks, who weren’t quite as able-bodied as we were. What if we’d just packed up the trunk and driven home?

But thankfully the fire was quickly contained, and we didn’t even have to call the fire department. However, we did have a small audience of fellow shoppers. They were like “Wow, nice work!” and “Whoo, that’s your excitement for the day, eh?”

One of the store’s employees saw the whole thing go down, and even gave us a replacement gallon of water.

So, to make a long story short (too late!), I’ve realized that:

  1. Dry brush + tailpipes don’t mix – watch where you park that thing!
  2. A great headline for a potential story in the local paper about this incident would be “Smoking Hot Writer Douses Smoking Hot Flames!” (even though, technically, it was my smoking hot husband who did the dousing)
  3. Life’s short, so don’t get sidetracked from your goals!

That last one inspired me to finally sit my butt in the chair and finish writing the first 5,000 words of a book proposal I’ve been meaning to send in for a few months now. I wrote up my synopsis for the book, as well as the first three chapters, and sent them in to a UK publishing company. Now I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that they like what I’ve got!


What did you do today? And what would the headline in your local paper read about your exploits?