there was The Great Chicago Fire. I was there. The stories
of how the fire began were wildly contradictory, but I was
there. Some people say the fire was started by a stampede
of cows. Some say it was just one cow. Some tried to blame
it all on someone they didn't like. One fella tried to blame
it all on his own brother, just because his brother had stolen
away his girlfriend and married her. The wedding took place
in Las Vegas. It was a modest affair of about 150 guests,
non-denominational (which really pissed off the parents of
the bride, but hell, you can't please everybody). During the
ceremony, some rotten little punks yelled "Fire! Fire!" and
the whole place cleared out in no time. The maid of honor
even broke her ankle in two places after being shoved down
the altar by the always overly zealous justice of the peace.
Well, the ankle was pretty back and the maid of honor had
to be shot, and exactly one week later the entire block burned
to the ground. Even the bricks burned.
But at least nobody tried to blame it on a cow. And the wedding went ahead as planned.
And some people actually believe that Nero fiddled as Rome burned, and that he really did look like a badly aging Peter Lorre. On Sunday nights we'd all gather 'round the television set to watch the Disney show, and I would always fall asleep from boredom. But I had a big old Siamese cat named Butch who'd always loved to play with my face moments after my head hit the pillow. So I'd awake startled, sometimes, crying, sometimes covered with blood and crying, staring into the idiot box. Sometimes I'd see Walt himself, sometimes Mickey or Goofy. But sometime I'd see a thousand bright blue caribou racing a dust storm to the finish line, neck and neck all the way like nature's own Indy 500! Flesh and blood against the elements! And I remember wondering to myself, "Why are they racing?" THEN one fine day I understood why the race took place. It was because the hairs on those caribou necks were being tickled by the instinctual knowledge of a fire raging not too far away, and most certainly headed this way. Humans often get the same feeling...like an oddly warm breeze malevolently fueled by the maddening flames behind it. Come ride the fiery breeze of GALAXIE 500!
-Kramer, NYC, July 1989