So I'm in my home office with the window open slightly for fresh air, tapping away at my laptop, in my mismatched teal sweat pants and red Deadpool t-shirt, when I catch the faintest whiff of smoke. At first, okay, someone's probably barbecuing on their patio, which is against the lease rules, but people do. But it's midday on a Monday.
The smell gets stronger. I look to my left, at the office window, and see a billow of gray smoke. Seriously real smoke. I get up so fast that shit falls off my desk and scares Jinx out of the room. I don't have a wide view of the building from that window, but I could trail the smoke to the ground. The mulch around a group of air conditioning units is on fire.
Flames. Smoke. More flames.
Don't tell anyone, but my apartment burning down is one of my few very real fears.
And my apartment reeks of smoke. I dash into the kitchen, thinking water! I need to get water down there! So I grab my watering can and set it to fill in the kitchen sink. Then I shut the living room window, because smoke!, terrifying Puck in the process. All kitties have fled to my room, because Momma's acting psycho.
Once the watering can is full, I put a plastic pitcher under the faucet,and flee for a pair of shoes and a sweater. A gray and white striped sweater, to complete the hobo look. With both containers full, I somehow managed to get out of my door and down two flights of steps to the ground.
A gentleman is already there stomping at the fire with his sneakers, so I immediately feel dumb for wearing sandals, but hey. Water! I brought water! I pour the water around the flames, which have made a circle about three feet wide and have half-torched some kind of grass plant.
Between my water and his feet, we've got it under control. He starts wondering what could have started it. He's found a few cigarette butts, but none of them are hot. I tell him about how one spring, the mulch outside a store I worked at spontaneously burst into flames. Something to do with moisture, trapped heat, and the chemicals in the mulch, so it was likely the cause of the fire.
He stomps at it a bit more, and another lady neighbor brings more water. Once it's finally under control, he volunteers to call the office and let them know. I come upstairs, fling my windows back open, and turn fans on because it reeks in here.
The cats are watching me with distrust in their eyes.
And my hair smells like smoke.