Genre: Young Adult
Last summer, the arsonist struck every home on the block but ours. The first fire erupted in the Kinneys’ luau pit. By the time the firemen arrived, the Kinneys’ patio, which they called a “lanai,” was as charred as an offering to the volcano gods.
I joined the huddle across the street. Despite everyone’s frowns, all eyes gleamed. Why? Cause Lionel Kinney shrieked at anyone who parked near his property, even though he had a three-car garage. Cause Bianca Kinney never said hi unless she was about to ask you to baby-sit for Kyle and Kiki, their twelve-year-old twins of terror, neither conjoined nor identical, yet still achieving novelty points for having been spawned via fertility treatments.
Every time a window exploded, we “ooohhhed” as if on an amusement ride. I wished I’d brought my cell phone so I could send a picture to my best friend, Ruby, a big-time believer in karmic retribution.
The smoke smelled like plastic, and my eyes itched. But I had no interest in going home. I’d been too depressed to sleep earlier. It felt liberating to cry in public without anyone suspecting my tears weren’t smoke related. Not that I was some kind of exhibitionist.
I rubbed my eyes to get a better view of Bianca pushing against a man wearing coveralls. Although it was two a.m., she wore lipstick. I wondered if she’d gone to bed fully made-up, like a sitcom mom, or if she’d taken a moment while running for her life.