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Fire, Fire! Hot Girl in My Apartment!

Fire, Fire! Hot Girl in My Apartment!

Lying in bed, one sleeping eye opened only to spot falling sparks falling through the cracks of our wooden slat ceiling. They descended onto an awaiting net of thin cloth that immediately caught on fire, which in turn spread back up to the awaiting dry wood in the ceiling. In a sleepy instant, I knew […]

Lying in bed, one sleeping eye opened only to spot falling sparks falling through the cracks of our wooden slat ceiling. They descended onto an awaiting net of thin cloth that immediately caught on fire, which in turn spread back up to the awaiting dry wood in the ceiling.

In a sleepy instant, I knew what was coming next. Our ceiling and all the other attached wooden ceilings in the seven apartment complex were about to go up in flames! Seven cinderblock apartments with a black charcoal rumble on the floor instead of roofs.

.The last time I called the local fire department in this small Central American village, it took them 45 minutes to get here. It was up to me, the owner, and the workers.

Not the Emergency Type

Next, I had a moment of resignation. I remembered how I always screwed up during emergencies. How I react like a “deer caught in the headlights” when faced with an emergency decision. And I was doing it again!

My woman, Spanish-speaking Mary, caught on to my panic even though I mistakenly cried, “Una fuega en la techo!” This means in Spanish, there is a “hot girl in the ceiling.”

Nevertheless, she knew what I meant because I was pointing with my crooked finger to the ceiling and could see for herself what was happening. Besides having a fire in a studio apartment is a hard thing to miss.

In a relatively calm voice, she said, “Get some water!”

Which, at first, sounded like a rational thing to do. But the ceiling is about fourteen feet up! What was I supposed to do? Get a pitcher of water and splash it up there with my hands?

Meanwhile, during my moments of indecision, the fire quickly spread. I had no more time to think.

The borrowed furniture

Besides, new sofa chairs belonging to the landlord were underneath the fire, and sparks were falling on them! What was going to be my first order of business? Putting out the fire or saving the furniture?

After having decades to think through another unsolvable panic situation in my life while serving as an infantry soldier in Vietnam, I knew the right decision was to refuse both decisions.

Instead, I Emerge Outside Screaming, “Hot Girl in My Apartment! Stop the Welding!”

Imaginary “hot girl” due to my bad Spanish

Of course, the workers on the roof only spoke Spanish, and the owner, who was outside, on-site only spoke German and some English.

After 20 years of living here, my Spanish is ok, but I admit that I have a problem with the Spanish word for “fire.” And so, I ran out the sliding glass window to the pool/courtyard area and again screamed, “Fuega en my apartamento.”

Fortunately, they too decided to see for themselves, rather than listen to my horrible Spanish. It was highly unlikely that I was screaming so loud in a panic because a hot girl was in my apartment.

The help of the garden variety

My Spanish-speaking neighbor with whom I was constantly fighting over his loud music and a roof worker on the ground was understandably not impressed. But, I persisted and verbally grabbed or intimidated the young worker who I convinced to go inside and look.

Finally, he saw the ceiling on fire and understood my panic for the first time. Quickly, he dashed outside for a garden hose.

Gee, I wish I’d thought of that!

Incredibly, the sparks started again.

Here, I still can’t explain why! After the roofing guy put out the fire with a garden hose. The welding sparks started falling again. This time they were falling on the furniture.

What I don’t understand is the Spanish-speaking roofer/fireman told him what was happening. And he continued doing the same once the original flames were extinguished.

Fortunately, I was beyond my “headlight moment” and quickly moved the furniture. Nice, I was at least a little useful.

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