Just a quickie to start me off.... ....and yes, this did actually happen.
|As he considered the window and the jump from the balcony he remembered to factor in the flames that he would have to clear, not burning yet, but soon.|
It wasn't an effort to fit the pieces of this puzzle together, it came naturally. The son of a mathematician, Dave was a natural abstract thinker and problem solver. The questions here weren't so much about the immediate physical obstacles of height and heat. The questions were all of timing. Timing was everything.
In the confusion and destruction that was surely only moments away, Dave was confident he could play the part of helpless victim to perfection. No one would suspect for a moment that the fire was all his doing. Even if he hadn't chosen the time or the reasons, circumstances had fallen into place, an opportunity emerged, and Dave would seize it. But what of Maureen?
There were always variables and in this case Maureens survival was one. Dave counted on her having the good sense to allude danger, and had calculated that only a freak accident or unforseen turn of events would prevent her escape. She would probably live. After that.. he really didn't care. She had served her purpose.
All Maureen had to do was walk out the door next to her. She wasn't the heroic type, she wouldn't walk into the fire, would she? No, she wouldn't, Dave decided. She had seen him slip right by her only a few minutes earlier. Maureen knew that Dave had gone up the stairs, away from the as yet unseen danger. She pretended not to notice, but it was her job to guard him, she had to know Daves' whereabouts. She knew. She had to know.
She didn't care about Dave anyway, in fact, he was pretty sure she hated him.
Timing. He would have to do this just right. If he waited too long, the flames would be too much and he would surely sustain burns on his way off the balcony. Too soon, and it might look like he knew what was coming. He could appear lucky, right place at right time and all that... but not too lucky. A couple of fire stains on his pajamas might be good. He might have to let himself get burned just a bit. Fire was supposed to really hurt.. no one would do that on purpose.
Dave was waiting by the window, waiting for the signal to come. Just then it occured to him that he really didnt know what the signal would be. Maureen would scream, something would crash, or maybe he's be the first to notice it for real himself, flames shooting out of a basement window or something. So he waited.
Dave was learning first hand what generals, adulterers and thieves had been been taught over and over again for as long as people planned enterprises against others will. No matter how well thought out the plan, there is always uncertainty. All the more so now, as this plan had been hatched on the fly, so to speak.
Timing was everything. As soon as he knew that the fire had engulfed the basement, that it was time to flee, he wouold open the bedroom window and jump onto the balcony, and then the backyard. Just needed that fire to happen. Where the hell was the fire? He had stood there in the basement as the socket as it had started to hum. The humming grew louder and was finally puncuated by a crack, with a bright flash and billowing smoke. Fire came next. Had to.
Now, all at once, the uncertainty, the variables, it was too much. The clear thoughts of before gave way to questioning. Maureen. Was she even still where had had last seen her? What if she had gone somewhere else where she would have less time to react? What if she would notice the fire until it was too late. Dave was ready to go, but Maureen might not be. Maybe he should go make sure she was still by the door. She didn't see the socket explode like he did... or he almost did.
The TV was in the way.
After the humming had started, Dave had instictively started to back up and by the time the whole thing blew, the TV was in the way, obscuring his vision. The socket was behind the TV set, which was just bad luck really. He wasn't even sure he saw it when he went back there in the first place.
It was all Maureens fault anyway. She could have decided to sit in the study, or in the room that Dave was in now, to watch Mary Tyler Moore. She had however chosen the kitchen, which sat right at the top of the basement stairs. This of course meant that should Dave need to do anything upstairs, get something, use the bathroom, anything, he would have to walk right past her. Which he eventually did anyway, but that was after the socket explosion.
So when it did come time to pee, and he had held it as long as a one-litre bottle of Orange Crush would allow, Daves choices were clear, and stark. Walk right past Maureen, right near her.. or find somewhere else to go, somewhere in the basement. Dave was the only one who was ever in the basement anyway, it was his domain. But even still... it had to be hidden, a forgotten kinda place, somewhere no one ever looks.
No one ever looks behind the TV set.