If I told that stupid bastard once, I done told him a jillion times. I reckon now he’ll never learn, neither. I told him, Tyler, you can eat whatever’s in the house, you can put your feet up wherever you want, and you can give old Charlene here a little slap when I mouth off, honey, but you can’t, and I repeated to his big, stupid, face that didn’t listen, I repeated: don’t you ever fuck with my Nana’s glass statue. Nana had been a rich woman but kept most of it to herself, letting it slip through her fingers for us to catch like we was puppies under a mommy dog with titties fulla milk, but Nana loved me best. I done explained to this life support system for a cock and balls that my Nana’s statue was all I had of her, and she’d been the only nice one in the family, least to me. When Mama would make me chicken fingers most every night, Nana made me real food; stuff she made by hand like a fucking kitchen sorcerer. Mama said if it took more than reheating, it wasn’t worth it, and that I sure as shit wasn’t worth it. So you can sure as shit bet that the day after graduation, I packed up whatever shit I had outta the double wide and left Mama swearing up a storm in the smoke of her Benson and Hedges Menthol Ultra Lites 100.

     Now back to Tyler and how that dumb shithead got his.

     He’d been working long hours at the factory, trying to save up some money to buy a real hog, instead of the rusty bucket of scraps and bolts he called a motorcycle. That shit was held together with spit, solder, and hope on a good day. Not great surprise that it was on its last, broken legs, so Tyler’d been working hard. Hard enough to make him forgetful of my one, hard and fast rule: don’t ever fuck with my Nana’s glass statue. Well, while I was out that night, pulling a shift down at the local strip club, Tyler came home, already drunk, drank every last beer in the goddamned fridge that I’d bought that afternoon, and proceeded to smoke one of his cowboy-killers, a Camel unfiltered for the judgmental non-smokers out there, to plunk his muddy shoes on my coffee table, shelling and shucking peanuts in every direction, drinking my favorite beer, with no coaster. After a long night of showing my titties off to ugly men for a dollar a pop, I could have forgiven Tyler for all of it. Well, probably. What I saw next, though, threw a switch on in my head; you know, like in them cartoons? When the mad scientist flips the switch to start Frankenstein’s heart? It was like that.

     With all the ashtrays drying in the sink, he took down my Nana’s glass statue, a nest with two birds; one on each side. When my Nana had given it to me, she’d told me that we was those two birds, and no matter how far apart we’d be from each other, we’d always be together in the nest. He took it down, used one of the birds as a cigarette holder, and burned down at least half a pack of ash that smelled like burning tires into the one thing I cared about.

Once that switch flipped, I got my ass going. I pulled a frozen pizza out of the freezer, stuck it in the oven with the cardboard box still on, and turned the temperature up to BROIL, which must be hotter than 500 degrees, and turned on the burners to LITE. Pilots didn’t work without matches anymore. I grabbed one of Tyler’s cigarettes, lit it up, and stuck it in between his fingers, which were right above the couch cushion. The fucker was snoring the entire time. Can you beat that?

     I stood outside, still covered in body glitter, down the street a little ways, you know, a safe distance. I waited, smoking one of my cigarettes, a Marlboro Lite, the smoker’s cigarette. I thought I heard Tyler wake up one last time. I thought I heard a muffled shout as he smelled the gas, saw the cherry from the cigarette in his hand, and he heard the ticking of the burners trying to catch. It could have been his shout, or it could’ve been the reaction of the gas that’d filled up the trailer meeting the cherry of his cowboy killer.

     I didn’t think it’d be so spectacular. Or beautiful. Or that’d make me feel so damned good. Or that’d be on the news that night. I stood there as long as I could, watching it, feeling it, loving it. I thought it’d be small and mean nothing like everything else in my life.

     Oh, but the fire went wild.