THE EASTER BUNNY MUST DIE
“You have got to be kidding me.”
I stared up at my apartment building. Fire fighters and firetrucks surrounded it, and hoses were sending huge arcs of water in the air, falling over the clouds of thick black smoke pouring from broken windows. The streets were blocked off, but the frantic look on my face must have acted as passport, because I’d managed to shove my way past, up to the hastily erected tape barricade around the building.
So much for wine. So much for a hot bath. So much for Imani Coppola.
So much for forgetting that my life had fallen apart.
“You’ll have to stand back, miss. There could be falling debris.” A bluff policeman grabbed my arm as I ducked under the tape.
“That’s my building!”
“Do you have anyone inside? Kids, parents?” He paused and looked at me. “Pets?”
I shook my head and he pointed towards a cluster of people down the line. “There’s the tenants they evacuated. I’d go stand with them.”
I headed that way. Fritzina*, the maintenance woman, was standing with arms crossed,s taring at the fire with an unreadable expression. Other people were milling around and Mrs. Gerrity was, somewhat predictably, crying. It looked as though everyone had gotten out, though.
I stepped up to Fritzina. “What happened? How did it start?”
“Started in the basement,” she said softly, eyes still fixed on the flicker of flames. “Wiring, maybe. It’s an old building and I kept telling Mr. Schmitt he needed to have the wiring replaced, or looked at, at least.”
I stared at the flames licking up the building’s side. Thank god for renter’s insurance.
Oh…crap. I looked down at my purse and the overdue bill there.
Surely things could get worse, but it would be pretty hard to do. I was out a job and my uninsured home had just burned down. I held everything I owned in my arms. Luckily I had no love life (the first time the word “luckily” had ever prefaced that thought) so that wasn’t a potential vulnerability.
All my friends worked at the same place I did and I didn’t really feel like commiserating with them. I had to find a place to stay tonight and starting out my unemployment with a whopping hotel bill went against every grain in my body. My mother’s facility wouldn’t take me in.
I was going to have to call someone I didn’t really want to.
*Yes, yes, I know. My first drafts have the crappiest names ever.
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