Icky Abe Part 2
The birth of the man named “Torcher”.
Icky Abe had just delivered his new born, a flickering of flame, so weak, so very tiny. He blew gently, oh so gently; just a soft puff, enough to give life but not enough to cause his baby any undue stress. His infant flame being just born, so new and in need a soft touch to grow to became stronger, growing slowly minute by minute.
Icky knew that the air held very little moisture; quite dry for this time of year. He placed just a few dry tenders at his babies feet; not too much, not too little. The flame was catching and with just the slightest of help it would grow into an inferno in minutes. Maybe it would become a configuration; this being Ickys’ ultimate dream, the height of his accomplishments a ragging inferno the likes the West had never seen. Icky had two fatal fires to his record; one being his mother Ruth Ann and later Isaac the youngest of the Newman family. Icky had found his talent useful in removing those that had done him wrong in a flamboyant flaming way.
Icky Abe born Abram Willis Durk suffered being a rejected child; beaten by his mother, bullied by class mates, he was always a sickly skinny child. Icky labored to scrounge the garbage cans of the small city of Bishop Creek, Washington by order of his mother Ruth Ann for scraps to feed himself and his disabled mother. Icky discovered as a young boy being forced to be the constant companion of the town’s garbage dump the instrument of fire. He found he was able to take a small smoky fire, regardless of its weakness or conditions and turn it into a full blown inferno in just a matter of minutes. Wet, packed tightly, caked with mud, no wind, it didn’t matter to Icky, and he was able to nurture a spark to an inferno in the most difficult conditions. He was a natural arsonist.
Bishop Creek was just a few hours from the bustling Sea Port of Seattle. Being a small town having just seven students in classes ranging from first grade to the eighth grade; it didn’t take long for a student to witness Abram going through the town’s trash and coined his hated name of Icky Abe. Icky Abe burnt down the student’s house for pay back, a grand pay back of which he watched along with the people of Bishop Creek. Being without a fire house, Bishop Creek residents watched the Newman house burn to the ground. It was the only choice the people had. It was very clear to anyone watching the inferno who had set the fire as Icky Abe danced, pranced and ejaculated in his pants at the excitement of the flames. He went completely hysterical at seeing Isaac the youngest of the Newman family exit the house engulfed in flames.
Icky knowing that he’d never be allowed to live in Bishop Creek burnt down the towns Postal Office and the last standing building of his childhood on his way out of town. With the light of the burning Bishop Creek Post Office as a back light Icky headed south, a quick wave of one middle finger riding high, Icky distanced himself from the choking smoke of his youth and declared his name to be “Torcher” a man’s name from here forward.
Torcher’ walked miles upon miles, at a few times he was able to catch rides with tradesmen making their way south to the Port cities of Portland and Astoria. Never minding the cold rains of fall or winter snows Torcher was able to nurse fires to life and was very much appreciated by the tradesmen that he travel with. Being put to work with his new found friends he had plenty to eat and lost the sickly snotty child he was and filled out to be a healthy young man of sixteen.
Working in Portland he mopped floors and cleaned up the back rooms of the working girls. Torcher found that he had little want of flesh upon flesh; his love being that which made sparks fly and smoke fill the air.
Tiring of the thankless work and comings and goings of the girls he called family; he left Portland and headed further south. The next big city he wanted to see was San Francisco. He had heard much about the city from the working girls. Most traveled the coast from Los Angeles to Seattle working in brothels along the way, then turning around and working their way back south along the coastal highways. He had an idea that would not leave his head concerning the location of the city of San Francisco. The tails he heard of the morning and evening winds sparked a thought in his mind that just wouldn’t rest. A plan was forming that only he knew no one else would hear his plans.
Torcher arrived in San Francisco late in March of 1906. Wandering the streets looking for work and a place to stay he couldn’t help but notice things that most people would dismiss as the norm. That being the uncanny natural breeze that worked its way morning and night from the south to the north like clockwork every day without misses. It started each day with a faint movement of air and then worked it’s self into a gusty blowing being only taking pause in mid day and then returning after a rest to blow even harder in the early evening.
He tasted the air wet, heavy with salt from the ocean, but he found that the salt dried the wooden planks he walked on to near bone dry. Checking the buildings sidings from the boardwalk next to the bay to the top of the high hills, he found that most buildings were tender dry boxes waiting for one with a plan and a match.
The first of April came and went with Torcher unable to find work or housing. He began to think that the city rejected him as the people of Bishop Creek had rejected him years before. Anger and frustration took its toll on him as he hadn’t the time to devote to his true love in this city of unwelcome.
The plan came together one morning as he made his way down from the highest hill in San Francisco heading to the bay front to again ask of work another day. The wind was at his back and growing stronger as he made his way down twisting streets. He imagined a small start just a flicker of flame just might work its way from the heights to the bay, maybe beyond if placed in just the right spot if he could just find that spot. Forgetting anything to do with work or a place to stay out of the soaking fog and rain, Torcher turned on his heel and headed back the way he’d come. Working east and then west slowly he worked the wind. After hours of work he finally discovering the vortex of the prevailing wind the exact spot to which it came and worked its wings every morning and evening. Happy with his discovery he returned to his shanty dwelling and made lunch. His plan now in place he ate and waited, resting knowing the next morning would be one of work and a hasty retreat. Visions of Armageddon filled his dreams.
The morning woke with thick fog and a tremor in the air. Torcher walked in cloaked shadows to his place of delivery, a birth of fire, cleansing the lands of buildings people and clutter. Looking around seeing not a soul, he placed his small bundle of dried moss and twigs under the siding of a long forgotten Hotel on the upper edge of the heights above the city of San Francisco. It started with just a whiff of a breeze, gently, barley able to feel on the cheek of one’s face. Torcher lit the spark of fire as the ocean breeze breathed its first breath of morning. Spark became flame, flame became full live fire. Toucher watched as his off spring jumped to life. The siding of the dilapidated hotel sprang into snapping tender. Fire rose quickly up the sides of the building and along the side walls. Jumping from the roof to the next building it gave birth to a new spark of life. Torcher ran along the streets watching as his child grew and grew. Spreading quickly from one building to another the fire exploded under the morning breeze. Torcher had to run at full speed just to keep up with the speed of its growth. Sparks flew in the increasing wind. At Seventy Second Street the fire had a large gap to jump to continue its rapid advance towards the bay. With little to no delay the fire cast embers to the adjacent building catching the drapes of one apartment and instantly bellowing into an inferno. Torcher watched as the fire jumped from one block to the next, this was becoming his greatest feat.
Racing along Fourth Street with his eyes watching high as his fire raced along the roof tops, Torcher tripped on a curb and fell face first on the cobble stones. As he wrenched himself up on one elbow the ground began to shake. Harder and harder as the minutes passed the shaking grew stronger.
Lying on his back he bounced along the cobble stones keeping eye on his growing fire as it jumped from roof top to roof top. Shards of glass rained down from the failing buildings, stones came loose and fell also. One large facade of a beautiful building broke loose under the shaking ground and impaled Torcher through his chest. With his last breath he watched as his fire jumped to the next block and raced along.
San Francisco was completely destroyed in the fire and earth quake that April day. History knows not that the San Francisco fire was set by a boy from a small town in Washington State, an abused boy wanting to even the score of his childhood.
From the Ramblings