Ralphy, Alice’s dog, wasn’t listening. He ran off, his leash dragging on the ground. The unprovable cause.
The plan was for me to pick up Alice in Reims and to drive to Brussels for the long weekend. My artist friend, Zach, had gotten us invited to an album release party followed by the opening of the Collectives‘ latest show. It would have been better to take the train.
What I know of those two events, I owe to Zachary’s acting the selfie addict. He thought the whole story ridiculous and felt obliged to taunt me with the latest happenings.
The fireman said it was impossible. I told him I could not see what else could have caused it. He told me to slow down. Think before speaking. He could think of another cause. Thirty seven minutes later a van full of fire department technicians were taking apart what was left of my car. It would have been better to take the train.
I phoned my insurer. I reported the fire and asked how the process for a replacement vehicle worked. The person thanked me for calling. He then asked me to wait while he patched me through to his supervisor. I was thanked again, told that the fire had been flagged as suspicious by the fire department, received an avalanche of the most sincere condolences for the difficulties this was causing, asked to please understand that this was procedure and that my case was on hold until authorities cleared the flag.
Alice started calling her friends, then acquaintances with good vibes and maybe a car. Zach gave me the number of a someone he knew who might be willing trade favours. It turned out she only took cash because favours are zero interest debts. She laughed at that.
It didn’t matter. I had questions to answer, asked by people whose long weekend I had spoiled, people who were hoping that they could get this over with before the lab results were in. It took a few more hours for them to finally accept it as cause unknown (they were never going to accept that Ralphy’s leash could create a spark that somehow made the car catch fire). It took me a few more hours for me to get them to explicitly rule out suspicious circumstances. It would have been better to take the train.
At least we have the photos.