Theme: Greed and stupidity.
“Mysterious Fires Breaking out Across Prince Rupert, British Colombia”–John Reeves
“I can’t believe there is another one” read surprised Henry Peters. “That must be 5 houses in the last 2 months. Why would anyone do such a vapid thing?”
“Dad, they dont even know if someone is setting them yet!”
“Oh Billy, wake up and smell the smoke. Fires like that just dont start themselves.”
Billy knew that as he was walking away, but since he was the cause of all the fires he did not want anyone to know. He felt ashamed that the only way he could make money was to set fires and then get called in to the fire station as a part time worker. He had no other way to make money for his girlfriend and her Christmas present. He tried to keep living this life for as long as he could but he was not sure how long he could keep it up. If he were to ever be caught Lord only knows how long he would be locked away for.
Coming from a small town nobody was used to all the buzz going around. It made Billy nervous. That was all everyone talked about on the small shaded streets of Prince Rupert.
“Billy, Billy!” Henry yelled.
Snapping out of his dream world Billy relied “What?”
“Go down town and pick up some eggs would ya?”
“Yeah sure Dad.”
As he walked down the street Billy pondered if he was really doing the right thing. He had convinced himself that since Christmas was the time for giving and he was just getting a little extra cash so he could give some more to his girlfriend; he was doing the right thing. As he looked around the normal hang out spots like the barber shop, he noticed the grim look on all the old-timers and could not really put two and two together to figure out what was going on. He saw the peoples’ faces drop lower and lower. No, he thought it isnt me, I have nothing to do with it.
He finally made it to the store where he saw old Jim Hubley.
“Hey Jim, got a dozen eggs for my old man?” Asked the immature boy.
“Yeah in the back fridge.” Said Jim with a very sad look on his face.
“Whats the problem Jim?”
“Havent you noticed all the sadness going around the town Billy? Its supposed to be Christmas time and there are now so many people with out a house. How is that supposed to be happy and cheerful?”
“Yeah, uh, I was thinking the same thing.” Said the very surprised boy.
Billy was still convinced that he was doing the right thing. It wasnt really his fault that they had nothing and besides he needed the money more than they did.
Walking home he saw a couple people including What looked to be like a father, mother and two sons. They were standing inside a porch of the liquor store. He wondered to himself what they could be doing. Then he saw the sign “Please support the needy.” He wondered to himself if they could have been one of the families that he had made homeless. But, if he was making them homeless then it was his fault. He could not worry about that now though, he had to pull off one of his biggest jobs, the MaCellar mansion. He knew that if he were to be called in for this one that he would get more than an eight hour job.
He noticed the same thing on the way home. Everywhere he looked things seemed to be too gloomy for what was supposed to be a fun and happy time. Still he kept walking towards his house not even thinking that it might be his fault and that Christmas is not really a time to take from others so that you can give to someone.
“Got your eggs dad.”
“Yeah just put em in the fridge, Ill make the bread later.”
“Why didnt I just buy the bread dad?”
“Times are getting hard son and I can’t really afford that much. Would I ever hate to be one of those people without a house around these times.”
“I know what you mean. You should see everyone around town, there so depressed dad.”
“Yeah well so am I son. Can you imagine what it would be like to not have a house on Christmas?”
Still, Billy was determined to make one more person homeless just so he could give the best Christmas present to his girlfriend. He would have to pull it off soon though, Christmas was just around the corner. Maybe it would be tomorrow night.
He approached the mansion planing to burn it to the ground. Everything seemed fine and it did not even look as if there was anybody home. That would make his job ten times easier. He bent down to start the fire on the side of the house when he saw a dog run by him. He thought he would be caught for sure this time, then a small boy came around the corner. The boy looked puzzled. At that moment eighteen Christmas flashed by Billys eyes in about 5 seconds. He could remember all the times that he ran down the stairs to rip open the presents. Then the little boy ran back around the corner. Billy took off through the woods quicker than he had ever run before, he did not know what else to do.
Feeling that he was doing the right thing he went to the police station and gave back all the money that he had made from the fires. He also turned himself in.
“Billy do you know what this means?” Asked the chief of police Sergeant Bilks.
“No, whats gonna happen to me?”
“Well Billy depending on what the jurys gonna say, you could face capital punishment. But until then Im afraid were gonna have to keep you in a cell.”
“But officer thats not fair.” Pleaded Billy.
“Sorry Billy, sometimes lifes not fair.”