Five Facts About Fire

by Hannah Hoare

#1 Pistachios can spontaneously combust

I know, crazy, hey? Apparently it’s the oil or something. High fat content. When they rot, the oil heats up and then, wham! they explode. Little bits of nutshell shrapnel pinging everywhere. That’d hurt, huh? Probably blind you if it went in your eye. I wonder how long they take to go off? I might get some.

#2 Earth is the only planet where fire can burn

So no barbeques when we colonise Mars. Not enough oxygen. Kind of funny how the thing people need to stay alive is the same thing fire needs. Only a flame goes blue when it’s got lots of oxygen, and people go blue when they don’t have enough. Like that kid next door that time she got a bag stuck on her head. I didn’t babysit for them again after that, which was a pain. I used to get five quid an hour.

#3 Fire is an event, not a thing

Hell yeah, I buy that. They locked me in my bedroom after the barn went up that time. Didn’t want me to know how much fun they were having. I could see them through the window, though. They loved it as much as I did. Smouldering straws floating up into the night like fireflies. It was beautiful. Dad even cracked open some beers. I think my sister got off with one of the firemen.

#4 Hominids have been lighting fires for 400,000 years

“This fascination of yours is nothing new.” That’s what they say. Like that’s supposed to make me feel bad, or unoriginal or something. But that’s dumb. Those hominids are my homies. They knew a good thing when they saw it.

#5 Fire stopped the bubonic plague

Hear that? Great Fire of London burned all the rats and fleas and basically saved the world. That plague would have killed everybody. And it was gross. Big, black boils in your armpits, leaking pus everywhere. You have to burn shit like that; it’s the only way to deal with it. Fire swallows up everything bad. It purifies. And then you can start again.

Hannah Hoare is a writer with a yen for cold places, who is at her happiest when looking down from a hilltop. Her world revolves around her addictions to gin and tea, and her pathological dislikes of Brussels sprouts and goats’ cheese. She lives in Bristol, UK.
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