“Yes, officer, I understand you have to call the fire chief immediately in matters like these, but—in matters like these—you need some background on me and Big Dick first. Cause there is some history.
“This whole issue started back in the nineties when Big Dick’s son, Little Dick, put some shaving cream inside my boy Charlie’s shoes. Sure, it’s just some harmless joshing, but this was the day of the big City-Poly game. They don’t do it no more, but back then, every Thanksgiving, the two high schools would play each other. Used to be at Memorial Stadium for years, but in Baltimore, all good things must come to an end.
“What? Yeah, like your Turkey Bowl, but not for sissy-boy private schools.
“My apologies, officer. Didn’t mean it that way.
“Anyway, that shaving cream messed up his good cleats, so he had to wear his old ones, and sure enough the sole of those fuckers fell off during one of his runs, making him fumble. One of the Poly players snatched it up and scored a touchdown.
“Now I was none too pleased about the loss, especially because I had money riding on the score. Way I figured, Big Dick owed me that money. He didn’t figure as much, so the only way for me to have my recompense was to take matters into my own hands the next year.
“Really, the whole thing was his fault. He wouldn’t have left his big-ass turkey soaking on the back porch, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to switch out the brining seasoning for Epsom salt. But I can assure you, after eating all that turkey, one thing they did not do was sleep.
“That’s a good one, officer. ‘Turkey Trots.’
“Anyway. My wife talked to Big Dick’s, offered to host them for dinner, like a peace treaty. I think they saw the writing on the wall and wanted to squash things before they came to a head. I mean, you saw what happened with the Christmas decorations, but I stand by my statement: You can’t fuck a man’s animatronic reindeer and not expect to get shot.
“They come over the next year. Big Dick even brings over some mashed potatoes. I says to him, ‘How the hell you get these so fluffy and white?’ Family recipe, he says. That might’ve been true, if’n your family was drywall, because those goddamned potatoes were full of caulk.
“At that point, he declared war on himself. And, well, it kind of escalated from there. One year I fill his car with corn stalks and rotten pumpkins, then he’s rearranging the gourds on our front stoop to look like dick and balls. Keep in mind my 82-year-old mother lives two houses down. That’s just poor taste.
“What? No, no. The pilgrim with his musket up his keister was definitely those neighborhood hoodlums. Yessir, same ones who cut off the Virgin Mary’s head last Christmas.
“As I was saying, I slip iron shavings into their sauerkraut in place of caraway seeds, then he puts a kidney inside our cornucopia. An actual goddamned kidney!
“Our wives eventually negotiated a cease-fire. Things were threatening to get out of hand, and frankly, I think they were tired of cleaning up. Everything was fine a while, till my youngest makes the All-City and his doesn’t. Like it was a slight.
“He decides to give my wife oyster dressing. Gram’s Special Recipe, he says. Extra moist. I couldn’t figure why he kept laughing, thought maybe he’d been at peach schnapps again. But I don’t think I have to tell the next day, when he asked if I liked the special sauce, I wasn’t pleased.
“Yes, officer. He meant semen.
“So, yeah, maybe I overreacted. Maybe this house fire is my fault. But how was I supposed to know he lost his sense of smell years ago? Sure, I guess gasoline and grease do look a lot like when they’re in a turkey fryer. But you know, his wife was always going on about wanting to remodel. And gas is expensive these days. Way I see it helped him out. After all, it is the season of giving.”