Roland Goity edits fiction for the online journal LITnIMAGE. His stories appear in dozens of publications, including recent or forthcoming issues of Fiction International, Eclectica, Underground Voices, PANK and Monkeybicycle. He is writing a novel about football, celebrity, and the American Dream.
As a child he gathered twigs and stood them up against each other in mini teepee structures, draping their sides with brittle, fallen leaves. Then, in the evening, he’d strike a match and set them ablaze on various mounds of dirt beyond the bender board boundaries of his parent’s amoeba-shaped lawn. From inside, behind the living room window, the tiny bonfires looked like luminarias. There his parents would sip their daiquiris with delight, even as their guests peered through the window at their little boy with looks of concern and consternation.
“What’s he doing?” they’d say.
“Having fun,” his mother always answered.
“Don’t worry, our boy ain’t no pyro,” his father liked to say. “Rather, he’s hell-bent on becoming a fireman.”
“Isn’t that lovely?” the mother would ask.
He paid his own way through state college, working at the coliseum, the venue outside the city. Providing pyrotechnics for the biggest, flashiest bands of the era. Glitter rock ensembles, power trios, goth and speed metal sensations. Flames rocketing from a stage-side vessel, up to fifty feet high at the precise moment the solo kicked in. The requirements of the job were strictly sanctioned, but he was noted for creativity and displays like no other. So good at the task was he, promoters from every corner of the map sought his services.
For a time, it was a living, but he sought something more....
And now he works for the Agency, is a patriot’s patriot. He incinerates things every day. Usually just print on paper, but sometimes, when time is precious, an entire office must burst into flames, “heater defect” check-marked routinely. The thing is, people sometimes misinterpret the facts and there is never room for
second-guessing. Who can say what the real truth is? Information is combustible. In the wrong hands it roars like wildfire.
So like a true fireman, he keeps setting backfires until it’s no longer a danger.