How to Commit Arson and Not Get Caught

It happened in this house. We can never shed it from our linens. It is deep in the sofa cushions, ingrained in the wood of the dining room table, entangled in the Edison light. We cannot rid this place of such roots. We must burn this house.

We learn, from a movie, it is best to start two fires on opposite ends of the house. They will spread quickly, outsmarting smoke alarms and outrunning the fire department. We learn we must not leave a trace. First, unroll paper towels. Do not tear. Place the end in the toaster on the counter. Drape slack around the kitchen. Make toast. Next, locate the linen closet. Light a cigarette. Place the lit cigarette into the matchbook. Throw the matchbook into the closet, preferably next to a synthetic pillow. The cigarette provides a time delay. Walk out. Do not look guilty. Do not feel guilty.

We must start over. We will return after investigation; after they cannot track the fire back to us. We will gather up the ashes and watch water carry them into the storm drain. We will find a new lot and we will begin with new linens and cushions and a shiny new dining room table. In new light.


Chels KnorrChels Knorr works as a professional writer and editor, writing everything from flash fiction and essays to corporate emails. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with her husband, a doodle dog and a toddler who never sits still. Check out her website for more of her work.