“Bye, Scott! Good luck on your work trip! Love ya! Don’t worry about the kids and me! It’s not like I’ll burn the house down while you’re gone!”
I almost burned the house down.
Did you know 9-1-1 actually rings? The phone rings until someone picks up. I always thought 9-1-1 was an immediate answer. It’s not.
It’s more like –
9-1-1-GREEN CALL BUTTON.
Pick up the phone. Shit. Shit. Pan. I need a pan. No water on electrical.
Did I dial 9-1-1 right? Smother the fire, yes. No oxygen. Kill the fire.
I extended my arm and tapped the pan to the flames roaring out of my toaster.
Someone pick up the damn phone.
“Overland Park, 9-1-1.”
“Uh, my toaster is on fire. I need help.”
“I’ll transfer you to fire.”
I banged the pan harder on the toaster. The flames skirted around the edges of the pan.
“Holy shit. FUUUUUUUUC…”
“This is fire. What’s your address? And tell me the problem.”
“My address is ***** SHIT. You need to tell me how to put out this fire on my toaster. Talk me through it or something. It’s not going out. The pan is not working.”
“Is there smoke coming out of the toaster?”
“Yes, lots of smoke AND FLAMES. Flames coming out of the toaster. Shooting up. I’m trying to KILL. IT. *BANG* WITH. THE. PAN. *BANG*”
“What color are the flames?”
“What color is the smoke?’
“I’m banging. The flames are going around the pan.”
*BANG. BANG. BANG.*
“Keep doing that. Unplug the toaster, if you can. Help is on the way. Where is your toaster located? On the countertop?
“Yes, I have this cute, little coffee station in my pantry with a countertop. I don’t know how to…Yes, countertop. OH MY GOD, IS THIS GOING TO SPREAD.”
“Keep doing that. Help is coming. I’ll let you go. You should hear sirens.”
Sirens? Shit. I don’t have a bra on. FIREFIGHTERS? What the hell did I do? I’ll never hear the end of this from Scott.
I held the pan over the toaster. The flames settled down. I removed the pan and looked inside. The flames were smaller but not completely out. I put the pan back on the toaster. I looked at my phone.
Group text message to my street: IT’S MY HOUSE! SORRY! SORRY ABOUT THE SIRENS! TOASTER ON FIRE. THOSE SIRENS ARE FOR ME.
I checked the toaster again. Only smoke remained.
Whew. I should have told them they don’t need sirens.
I opened the front door.
“I panicked! I’m sorry! I’m ok. I panicked. I think I panicked. I’ve never seen flames so big coming from my toaster. It’s out now, I think. I really wanted to try this gluten-free bagel.”
The firefighter laughed.
“Let’s check it out.”
Two firefighters walked in.
“It’s in my pantry. Here. Here’s the toaster.”
The firefighter examined the toaster.
“You used a pan?”
“I didn’t want to throw water on it. That’s good, right?”
The firefighter touched under the cabinet.
“Not hot. The wood is safe. Good job.”
“What about my toaster?”
“You need to throw that away. I wouldn’t use it.”
“I really wanted that gluten-free bagel.”
Both firefighters laughed.
“So I just throw it in the trash can?”
“I would wait until it’s completely cooled. But yeah, toss it. Sorry about that, gluten-free.”
Wait, is that my nickname? Are they going to call me gluten-free on the way back to the station?
“Oh, ok. My heart. Oh, it’s racing. I’m sorry. Thank you for coming out here. Holy shit. What am I going to eat for breakfast now?”
“You’re funny. Have a nice day.”
I picked up my phone.
Me: Ok. So I had to call 9-1-1. Don’t freak out.
Scott: WHAT HAPPENED.
Me: The toaster caught on fire.
Scott: The toaster caught on fire.
Me: Scott, it was big. It wasn’t going out with me smothering the toaster with a pan. You know how I am in emergencies. I can’t think.
Scott: Uh, fire extinguisher?
Me: Oh shit. I completely forgot they made those. Those exist, don’t they? Do we have one?
Scott: HELL YES, WE HAVE ONE! ON THE GARAGE STAIRS!
Me: The hell if I know we have a fire extinguisher! I don’t even know how to work that. No one taught me! I’m lucky I remembered not to use water.
Scott: Oh my God. You pull the damn pin and you spray. The next time you set our kitchen on fire, please use the fire extinguisher first. THEN call 9-1-1. I’m getting all these texts from the neighborhood! I’m like, “what the hell did my wife do now?” I’ve only been gone for six hours!
Me: Scott, I think they nicknamed me gluten-free. And we don’t have a toaster anymore.
Scott: Oh Jesus. I gotta go. Goodbye. Send me a picture of the firefighters. I know you took one.
Me: I gotta go.
I touched the toaster. Still hot. I grabbed a pair of tongs and pulled the bagel out of my toaster. I took a bite.
It was burnt but it had remnants of a good aftertaste. A damn good burnt gluten-free bagel.
If only the firefighters didn’t name me gluten-free.
And don’t forget to buy my book, “But Did You Die?”