February 1, 2022 Fire and Chaos

Published by Victor Barr on

Everything was such a haze for Jimmy. He couldn’t remember the last time he could think clearly.

What the hell was he doing in the back of the police car?

When did it all go wrong for Jimmy? 

He tried to think, but his brain kept scrambling everywhere. His thirtieth birthday was coming up and in his mind, the last ten years were a blur. How did he end up handcuffed in this stupid cop car anyway?

Think, think, think. Come on brain it is there. 

The last hour started to come back to him. Jimmy was mad, they’d told him to get out, but he had no where to go. His last welfare cheque was gone and his new friends suddenly didn’t want him on the couch anymore.

It was time to hit the streets again. 

He remembered the anger, the fear and the doubt. He remembered yelling at the guy on the corner. Why did he yell anyway?

No one understood.

Least of all Jimmy.

Now he was in the back of the cop car at the top of this hill. What town was it again? Oh yeah, West Kelowna. He started out in Kelowna a couple years ago. He needed to get out of Vancouver before he died. Kelowna seemed like it would be a good place to start a new life. 

Until covid hit.

Then there were more and more people coming to Kelowna and with them came the drugs. More meth, more smack and crack. Whatever he could get his hands on he took.

He tried for a while to clean up when he got to his new home. He even had a place to stay, but then his roommate stole his stuff and took off without paying the rent. 

So back to the streets he went. He had a tent on Leon for much of the first summer in covid. There were a couple people that got sick, a few just disappeared. But so many more came. The street was getting crowded, until there were too many people. And they were all told to leave.

The one cop was nice to Jimmy, he even gave him a ride to West Kelowna and told him about the church where they help people get sober. 

Getting straight, clean and sober seemed like a fantasy to Jimmy. There was a time he wanted to get cleaned up and get a life. But that felt like a distant dream now.

All Jimmy knew was his next fix – how could he get it… 

Part of him felt like he wasn’t in his body anymore. It was like there was a little kid inside yelling at him to stop.

But he couldn’t

How did he end up in this cop car?

It started to come back to him.

He looked into the mirror in the cop car and saw what he’d become. Was that really him in the mirror? His hair stood on end and his face was dirty and charred with soot from the fire he started to light.

The fire! 

Now it was coming back to him. Jimmy had lit the garage on fire. He was cold, he was angry and he really had no idea why he tried to start the garage on fire.

It tumbled together for him again. He had taken the bike handlebars and was using them to stay safe, no one would get him if he blocked them with the handlebars. Then he walked up the hill on Paynter Road and saw the truck. He could use some of those tools. Maybe he could sell them. 

But the guy came out and yelled at him so he turned and tried to start the fire.

Fuck did he need a fix. Something, anything… he was starting to jones and anxiety flowed through his veins. 

He felt sick. Like he was going to throw up. But there was nothing in his stomach. Why don’t the demons in his head leave him alone? Why, why, why? More, he needed more… He wasn’t even sure what he needed but he felt empty.


So he lit the place on fire. If it all burned, maybe it would take him with it. It consumed him.

More, he needed something more..

Jimmy looked out the window and everyone was looking at him.

Leave me alone.

Mental pain echoed in his head. The policeman in the front seat was talking to him, what did he want?

“…maybe they can get you some help. Do you have anyone that can come get you? I am going to take you to the station, think about if there is anyone that you can call.” The policeman in the front seat said as they drove down the hill toward the station.

Jimmy could barely speak, his desire for his next fix had paralyzed him. He thought about the cops words. Was there anyone? His mom overdosed when he was fourteen, his dad took out his anger on him so Jimmy ran away when he was sixteen. He really had no one to call. Maybe they would put him in jail for the rest of the winter, at least he would be warm and fed. Maybe he could even get off the drugs.

As if the cop heard his thoughts he got his answer, “I doubt they will keep you for long. Maybe overnight.”

The police car drove Jimmy down the road. He sat in the back seat and stared out the window as a single tear creased his dirty face.


Authors Note:

Yesterday someone came and tried to set fire to our neighbours garage. Fortunately the fire department came and quickly put it out .

There was man arrested on scene and taken away in a police car. He looked wild and his hair stood up all over, he looked as if he was living on the streets. He was seen wandering our road carrying handle bars and using them in a threatening manner. The above story is fictional but I wonder how close it comes to the truth for many of the troubled people in our country.

The biggest epidemic that no one wants to address is the plight of the drug addicts and the homeless. There are more and more people living on the streets in desperate circumstances.

And the price of housing has skyrocketed since covid began. 

Something needs to be done to change the course of society and find a way to help those that can no longer help themselves. Better yet, find a way to prevent people from becoming homeless and desperate in the first place.


Pat mulligan · February 3, 2022 at 6:32 am

Well done…

Amber · February 16, 2022 at 4:08 pm

Very well written Cal!

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