And yet there they burned, crimson red of the fabric ensconced in a growing column of orange flames.
"Oh gee," said Melvin. "Oh, gosh!"
The boy hopped in place for a moment, arms flailing, fingers convulsing, hands finally coming to rest on his skull. From downstairs came a muffled shout.
"Melvin, sweetie, is everything alright up there?"
The boy threw himself from the fire and into the door, locking it and jiggling the handle just to check. "Just fine! It's fine, mom! I love you! See you when you get back! Goodbye!"
The fire had not been part of the original plan. The original plan was to convince Cindy DeLauder to go with him to the Annual Freshman Ball. The original plan was to make the rest of 8th Grade- thus far a lonely, pitiable existence outside social circles and crowds and cliques- something better. Something worthwhile. It was his introduction into high school, after all, and as Coach Till had emphatically reminded everyone not mesmerized by his horrifically short shorts and waxed legs, high school was a microcosm of real life.
Melvin had looked up microcosm, and was trying to remember what it meant when he realized the fire had spread to the carpet. If only he'd been warned of the combined danger of hairspray and electrical equipment.
Melvin wrung his hands. "Oh, poop!"