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There’s something about fire that gets the people going. Anthropologists would say it’s based in our ancestor’s discovery that fire gives us warmth to survive and frightens off predators. In modern times, its purpose is inherently the same. Couch fires. Bonfires. Flaming Dr. Pepper shots. The list goes on, but they all appeal to our primal desire to watch shit burn. The sensual dance of a hungry flame is fantastic for all, but there’s always one guy that gets way more into it than everyone else. That’s where Lewis Bertram fell on the spectrum.
At age ten, Lewis had his first run in with authority. After finding a book of matches in his dad’s cigar box, Lou decided to go out and play in the wood shop. Half an hour of howling sirens later, the firemen and his parents were giving Lewis a long talk about how “good boys don’t play with fire.” His distraught helicopter of a mother went to find the number for a dependable psychiatrist. His father swore under his breath and grabbed a beer. The firemen just left shaking their heads. It was the first time young Lewis had ever felt real power.
Eight years of therapy and a semester of college later, Lou was forged into a man. His mellow persona and stellar work ethic had convinced his new friends that he wasn’t a raging pyromaniac, but beneath his measured façade, the hunger remained. As the chilly season set in, Lewis made it his mission to ensure that warmth and destruction would be known as his thing. As a bumbling bunch of former high school losers, his friends found it refreshing to have a guy so committed to establishing new traditions. Roasted pigs and high octane pyrotechnics soon became their go-to way of drawing crowds to parties. Still, Lewis needed more.
In the frigid days of January, with spring semester just kicking off, Lou and his buddies decided to throw a “Titans and Tight Ends”-themed party. Lewis, dubbing himself Prometheus, showed up with his usual plethora of pallets. It was set to be a grand occasion, and a gasoline-fueled inferno was soon raging in the house’s backyard. Having made the acquaintance of a young lady with a fittingly on-theme posterior, Lou found himself on a new quest to quench the fire in his loins. In his moment of distraction, tragedy struck. All he had time to hear was the dreaded “hiss” of a fire extinguisher before the gift he’d given man was reduced to embers by vandal members of a rival organization, who sprinted away from the scene.
Naturally, the party soon dissipated. As his brothers returned to the house to drink alone and watch questionably good NBA teams, Lou remained outside seething. His masterpiece ruined, the only thing keeping him warm in the freezing winds was a burning hatred for the men that humiliated him. Some say revenge was a dish best served cold, but Lewis preferred things red hot.
The following weekend, the vandals became the vandalized. Lou watched as they looked on in horror at their once mighty house being swallowed whole. Flickering flames licked at their Greek letters and devoured the fresh new hardwood floors. Other students were sprinkled among them, gawking and swapping ideas that “they probably forgot to use an ashtray.” One man slithered away from the group as the familiar sound of sirens echoed in the distance. Lewis knew they wouldn’t make it in time. He was sure of it.
He returned to his house to celebrate this victory over his enemies with the knowledge he’d never get caught. With the soft tones of the Red Hot Chili Peppers echoing in the background, only one thought crossed Lou’s twisted mind – “Good boys don’t play with fire.”.
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