As soon as I arrived home, I decided I was going to take a nap, with a brief stop at the bathroom to honor the gods of fast food breakfast in the only way they accept. While doing that, I noticed black smoke pouring in through a vent above my head. Because I'm not disgusting, I got properly cleaned up and then immediately went out into the living room to investigate. All I could see was the couch, the back of which was glowing orange, for some reason. It then dawned on me that on the other side of that couch was a vent leading to a utility room where the washer, dryer and water heater were all kept. I didn't have much more time to think before the smoke was so thick that my only option was to head out the door, which, fortunately, was just a few steps away.
I made it out unscathed, but a lot of things certainly could have gone wrong. For one thing, if I'd opted to buy those cigarettes instead of breakfast, or even if I hadn't decided to bullshit around and read the newspaper after, I most certainly would have been fast asleep when that fire started. I'll give you all a second to solemnly reflect on all the comedy you might have missed if that had been the case.
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I added that caption up there for you, the sourpuss who assures me that smoke detectors would have woken me well before smoke inhalation killed me. To that, I say, "Yes, we did have smoke detectors, but we also had a freezer full of Tombstone pizza at all times." Fuck the old west, Tombstone pizzas earned their name by killing functioning smoke detectors. We were probably using ours for a change dish by that point.
So, yes, I very well could have died, thank you very much. Also, I was selling weed at the time, a fact that dawned on me only when firefighters and police officers had arrived to put out the fire and randomly stroll around the house to assess the damage. An arrest is the last thing you want to chase a house fire with, so I made an excuse about having money and a jacket inside that I'd like to grab if they wouldn't mind. This was all true. The money was profit from having just sold an ounce of weed and the jacket had another one ready to be sold in the left pocket.
"Uhhhhh, nooo, you probably wouldn't recognize it, even if I described it to you. Best to grab it myself, officer."
I recovered all of those things, so if nothing else, I had plenty of party supplies. Also, rent was due that day, and it should go without saying that I decided to forego writing the check. So hello way more cash than I usually have! On top of all this, in any house fire, the Salvation Army gives you vouchers for clothes, meals, and hotels. So, still covered in soot, my sister and I spent the next day shopping at shitty department stores and eating a turkey dinner at Perkins. I mentioned that this was Thanksgiving Day, right?
"Ohhhh, come on, at least the thing about Tombstones killing smoke detectors was funny, right?"
If you're wondering what all of this has to do with Crackhead Kenny, it's simple. Remember that job of his I mentioned? He came home from it and, as one does, immediately placed his work clothes in a Coleman cooler. He then placed that cooler on top of the dryer, at which point it promptly fell behind the appliance. Kenny paid this no mind and went about his day. Eventually, the pilot light on the water heater ignited the clothing inside the cooler, which then itself ignited. We lost everything, thanks to Crackhead Kenny.
Taking this as a sign that a change of environment may be in order, rather than find another place to live in Peoria, my sister and I decided to move to Madison, Wisconsin, where we could stay with mom until we found something else.
And that's the story of how crack chased me out of Illinois.
Adam would like it a whole lot if you'd download the latest episode of his podcast and/or watch him tell jokes at Rooftop Comedy. Then come see him do that in person the first and third Tuesday of every month at Westside Comedy Theater in Santa Monica. Once you have all of that out of your system, follow him on Twitter and Facebook.