In the middle of the night she woke up and thought she smelled smoke. She was alone in the room, he hadn't come to bed yet. She got out of the bed, grabbed a robe and padded downstairs, almost tripping over the cat who had taken to sprawling out in the middle of the staircase as a form of rebellion ever since they'd moved here from Michigan.
She made it down the stairs and all the lights were out except the little one over the kitchen sink. But she did see light coming from under the door leading to the basement. She bent down and sniffed under the door and again detected smoke. She went back to the hall closet, grabbed a Louisville Slugger and headed back to the door.
She opened it as quietly as possible and started down the stairs. She wasn't sure what to expect. Maybe the kids were getting high. Maybe that old dryer had finally caught fire. Maybe the neighbors were taking revenge for his complaining about their Sunday patio parties.
It was none of those things. He was standing over a garbage can burning the letters.
"What the hell are you doing?"
"I'm getting rid of these things that upset you."
"In the middle of the night. In our basement in our old wooden house with our kids asleep? What, you couldn't just walk the box to the corner and put it in the trash."
"I wanted them gone forever."
She looked around the basement and then walked towards the lawn mower. She picked up the big can by the mower brought it back over to where he was lighting another letter with his Zippo and splashed him with gasoline. He screamed as he was quickly engulfed in flames. That was the great thing about Zippos, they didn't go out.
He continued to scream and burn as she backed up the stairs and shut the door.
"What's going on?"
She wheeled around quickly to see the ten year-old standing there holding his teddy bear looking frightened.
"Daddy's had an accident," she said. "But we'll be OK."