The telly was really loud, which is why we never heard those people banging on our front door. And the door was never locked, which is why those people didn’t wait for us to hear them but just burst in and ran down our hallway.

“What in God’s name is going on?” Nana shouted.

“Did you know your shed is on fire!” they shouted back.

Now that was a stupid question, if you ask me, because if we knew our shed was on fire we would not have been dancing and singing along with Freddie and the Dreamers on the telly. No, we would have been outside throwing a bucket of water on it.

But no-one seemed to care because everyone was running out through the kitchen and through the scullery into the backyard.

“Our shed is on fire!” Nana yelled.

“It will burn down the whole bloody street!” shouted the woman from next door.

The flames were already reaching up to my bedroom window and that’s the problem with a shed that’s on fire when the shed is built against the back of your house. And our house was in a row with all the other houses so the woman from next door was quite right because it could burn down the whole bloody street. And that’s why they had to get a second fire engine to join the first one.

“Stand back! Stand back!” shouted the Fire Chief because all the windows were exploding.

Then all our other neighbors came into our backyard because they heard the fire engines and that’s how the whole street knew our shed was on fire and they would rather watch our shed burning down than Freddie and the Dreamers singing on the telly. I just stayed quiet and watched the sparks floating up into the black night sky, over the roof of our house.

Everyone cheered when the firemen put out the last of the flames and Nana made them all cups of tea.

“How the Devil did our shed catch on fire?” asked Nana.

“Sheds don’t just burst into flame on their own!” exclaimed the Fire Chief.

“Well, that’s right enough!”

“I think it’s pretty well certain that someone left a candle burning in there. We know these things.”

“A candle?  But no-one was in the shed.”

“Well, someone was in there and that person left a candle burning on the shelf.”

“What? Who would do such a thing?” Nana replied.

“It was me!” I shouted.

And that is why you must never, ever play with matches. Especially not when you are five years old. And very honest.


  1. Dear John,
    Your last two posts have been excellent. I loved them and felt sick reading the fish one– it was so well drawn. They just keep getting better and better. You are one of my favorite authors.
    Well, we are in the beginnings of a monster hurricane so I will sign off.

    Warmest regards,

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