By Jeremy Arias
A man on fire walked into the office and sat in his seat. His computer took no more than a few attempts to turn on. It usually took two.
“Morning, Gabe,” a man with a bullet in his brain greeted. “How are you?”
“I’m fine,” replied the man on fire. “I’m just a little tired. What about you, Fred?”
“I’m tired too,” replied the man with the bullet in his brain. “Seriously though, fuck work!”
“I hear you,” said the man engulfed in flames as he stood up from his desk. “I’m gonna grab a coffee.”
And so the man on fire walked through the aisle of cubes, computers, coffee cups, and Cool Craig, who just had half his face removed. In the break room was a woman with a wire wringed around her neck.
“Hey, Jan,” said Gabe as the flames began to dissipate into embers.
“What’s up, Gabe?” she said as she took off a sweater, revealing bruises and scrapes.
“Not much,” answered Gabe reaching for the pot of coffee. “How was your niece’s party?”
“It was really fun!” she said as she began to ooze blood from her neck. “I’m just really tired. Emily woke up twice last night and didn’t let me sleep. That’s going to be the last of sweets after sundown.”
The flames began to rise as Gabe began to panic.
“Are you okay, Jan?” asked the man on fire.
“Totally fine, why do you ask?”
The man on fire took a second to think. What was it about her that made him ask.
“I notice you had a bruise on your arm…” he mentioned.
“I fell picking up after Emily,” she lied as more blood leaked out of the wire, slowly turning her face pale. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine,” answered the man in flames. “It’s just a little hot in here.”
“Turn on the AC, or better yet,” Jan suggested, “just try not to think about the heat, like at all! Just tell yourself it’s really cold and you need a sweater, you’ll trick your mind into-”
“No,” screamed the man being swallowed by fire, “it’s REALLY hot!”
“You know what I do? I try to pretend I’m at the beach, just picture that! Or even a penguin at the zoo! The arctic circle isn’t as cold, so a zoo should do! Or even think about ice! Or Ice-man! Or you know what else I do? You should try-”
The crackling of his bones and pressure in his skull had built up far too much to even care what she does for minor heat.
He was on fire.
He was fine.
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