I heard a rumor

Last night the house on our part of the block one street over burnt down. As I’ve come to expect from our city’s first responders, the number of emergency vehicles might have caused you to think that an entire block had been napalmed. Dozens of fire engines and even more squad cars clogged every part of Damen Ave. from Belmont to Roscoe. Curious, of course, I sidled up to a group of bystanders listening to a cop. Here’s the gist.

Cop: “… firecracker.”

Me: “Hey, I live one block over. Is everyone OK? Did you just say this was caused by a firecracker?”

Cop: “Yeah, everyone’s fine. No, firecracker is what we call people who flip us the bird from the window like that woman over there.” Points.

Me: “How did this happen?”

Bystander: “I don’t want to start any rumors, but she had a lot of cats. Lots of cats.”

Me: “Cats don’t start fires.”

Bystander: “Look, that’s all I’m gonna say. I don’t like rumors. But she has a lot of cats and she’s been in the news. If you know what I mean.”

Me: Pause. “My house got a little wet from the fire hoses. Could have been worse I guess.”

Same Bystander: “Oh yeah? Any water damage? Here’s my card. I’m an adjuster.”

Me: “My god, you’re like an ambulance chaser for fires.”

Bystander: “Hey, I live in the neighborhood.”