Fire Alarm (what’s the emergency?)

Fire Alarm (what’s the emergency?)

The buzzing from the fire alarm was so loud, and it was just BLEEEEEPing every few minutes about a low 9-volt battery that needed replacing. I closed the door to my bedroom, but I could still hear it. The chirp became a random irritant that I almost forgot about as I tried to go back to sleep. It was 2 am.

I must’ve really crashed, because about an hour and a half later, the alarm was clearly going off. There was a fire. I did not smell smoke as I jumped out of bed, naked. I pulled on some shorts and a shirt and opened the door to the hallway, slowly, like they show you in movies. Shit, I forgot to feel for heat first. So on. There didn’t appear to be a fire in the hallway or kitchen, I could see the light was on in the kitchen, as the alarm continued to scream for attention. I wondered, “Is this what smoke alarms do when the battery is REALLY about to die?” I think the chirping had been going on for days. I am not clear on when it started.

She arrived at about the same time. Again, I can’t pinpoint the moment the alarm in my house started warning me. My internal alarm was sensitive, and she was pushing into “caution” rather quickly. It was only supposed to be a weekend together. A weekend without her kids. A first. A big commitment. Our union should take a turn for the better if things go as planned. If I could shut off the fire alarm.

Right away I could tell something wasn’t quite okay with her. She was having a hard time not interrupting. Adderall? Something else? She was dressed to the nines and it hyped her 90-pound fit frame, even though she was dressed in all black. It wasn’t a LBD (little black dress) though, this one really did look like she was heading to a funeral. She liked drama. So, perhaps it was the effect she was going for. Throw me off balance a bit. She was even wearing a tiny black hat. Like cartoon tiny. With a ribbon and a bow. All black.

Her kids pinged her phone constantly. They hadn’t really been alone before either. “Where’s the cereal?” and “We’re almost out of almond milk.” From the get go, she seemed distracted. But maybe it was the kids, the texts, the social media posts she had to scroll through. She wanted to be an influencer. Heck, she wanted to be a professional tennis player too, when she was young. She was neither. But she took her IG seriously. Likes and comments were essential to growing her audience.

She had a plan. It started with her scorpion tattoo. I didn’t know this at the moment. And the alarm was only bleeping randomly.

I made her breakfast. We were going to have the day together, doing nothing. “Downtime,” I said. She flashed a wicked grin. I couldn’t have imagined what was going to come next from this single mother of two as she toured my house.

“Are all of these your guitars?” she asked.

“Ah, a Pink Floyd fan?”


“The Wall?”

“Nope. You’ve got a lot of guitars. Why do you need so many?”

“Oh, I’m a collector.”

As she walked into the master bath she squealed just a bit. “Wanna take a baaaath?”

“The Wall?”

“Nope. It looks like fun. Do you have any bubble bath? We could bring in the tunes. Maybe 4:20 a bit.”

Things moved along.

The water was running, Roxy Music was on the Bluetooth speaker. Bubbles were sparkling. “We need better lighting in here. Can you find some candles?”

I watched in anticipatory joy as she began taking off the layers of black. Until…

girl with the scorpion tattoo

“Um, what’s that?” I’d seen some smaller tattoos on our first couple of dates.

“Oh, nothing. Just my bodyguard.”

“I mean, what does it mean, when you’ve got a black scorpion crawling down towards your vagina?”

“Watch out, Mister, there’s a lot of heat down there, and treat her right or feel the venom.”

I had no words.

She eased herself sensuously down into the foam. Her body was young and glorious. And then there was the predator just above her treasure box. I’m not sure I was cut out to be with a pirate woman. I did like her pirate booty. The scorp, well, I could feel my anxiety growing along with my third leg.

“Do you have any champagne?”

“No, sorry. Only tequila.”

“Can you make me a margarita?”

“I don’t have the mixer. But we could get it later this afternoon when we’re out and about.”

“Oh, I can’t go out,” she said. She was just eyes and big curls of dark brown/deep red above the white bubbles.

“I don’t understand.”

“I can’t be seen out at a store or in a restaurant with you. My ex would kill you.”


She left a few hours later. I could tell she wasn’t happy about it. She offered me a discount on her OnlyFans subscription, but I declined. We met on Tinder, not Fetlife.

Just a few hours ago I woke up again, 6:30 am, happy to be alone. There was no threat of fire or violence. I had removed the 9-volt battery from the offending alarm after she left. Everything was quiet. A bit boring. A bit lonely. Safe.

Read more Short-Short Stories from John.

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