Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Writing with a Flare (part II)

Spent Flare


Ok, so the challenge was thrown down and I accepted, I would write a descriptive paragraph about a flare instead of a candle.

We have 4 emergency flares, I think three is the legal requirement, and with a glint in my eye, I ask Himself if I can use one. He stares at me. You know you can't light that thing in the truck.

Indignant, I reply, Of course I know, I'm not a dummy! Then to myself, Damn, I was gonna do it inside, party pooper.

So here is the second attempt at the assignment about description.

I am sitting on the rough, black pavement of a truck stop parking lot in Michigan.  It's cloudy but hot and my hands are sticky with sweat. I am holding a red emergency flare, a 15 inch cylinder that looks a lot like Wile E Coyote's Acme dynamite.

I pull the cap off and use it to strike the top of the flare like a match on steroids.  A thrill runs through me, like shooting a gun for the first time, I feel powerful and scared.  Strike one. Strike two. Strike three.

Crack, whooompf! It's lit now!  It's brighter and hotter than I expected, the acrid smoke fills my nostrils, threatening to burn the hairs. I step back. I perch excitedly on a warm concrete barrier upwind. A seagull screams above me and my heart races. The flame is the color of Dorothy's ruby slippers but so bright it hurts to look for more than a second.

It's more macho sparkler than gentle flame sending hissing, buzzing sparks straight up. The sound like a thousand cicadas thrumming in a tree in summer. Two inches left, it won't be long now, the package said 20 minutes and it's been 15 at least. The flame is getting fatter, less stable.  Half inch left, it's almost to the cardboard packing but still it hisses and sparks. There, that's it, the end. The macho spark has turned into an average flame, like Clark Kent after a hard day being Superman.

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