by D Carlson
A 291 word tribute to the late but always great Ray Bradbury
|Fireman Ryan Greenfield looked around before unlocking his house. Even after hearing the tell-tale electronic beep he knew he wasn't safe. He left safety far behind months ago when he decided on this life of crime.
He checked each room with his illicit “bug sweeper” and removed the over-sized fireproof coat, homemade pockets and pouches bulging of small books he had rescued from the night's jobs.
Books he was supposed to have burned.
Five or six week ago a mail carrier had “accidentally” looked through the mail slot an old Brownstone house and was horrified to see cases and cases of books. Non-government approved books were illegal and the seventy-three year old owner would spend the rest of his days in prison.
The mail carrier had been commended. It was her duty to report such a flagrant offense. .
Ryan's squad had been dispatched to burn the private library. The young man was knew that at one time books were revered, even collected. Even fiction and works that spoke out against government, if you could believe the old-timers. Curious, hoping nobody would see him in the corner of the blazing room, Ryan plucked two or three random books off the shelves and slipped them into his boots.
Ryan Greenfield's life of crime had begun. Each location was a new score. He couldn't stop. It had become an addiction he didn't want to quit.
He was carefully adding the contraband to the wonderful collection he had hidden in one wall of his home when--
The front disintegrated into kindling. “Check the bedroom! His father mentioned a wall compartment.”
My own father? The stunned fireman Ryan Greenfield was tackled to the floor and handcuffed.
He wept with the first crackling of flames.