Life at Fire Station 20


As told by Bat­tal­ion Chief Mar­cus Burr of Orem, Utah

We call the cof­fee machine Lazarus. The youngest guy is respon­si­ble for keep­ing cof­fee in the machine and we nor­mal­ly run through eight or nine pots a night. We have grinds donat­ed to us month­ly by Fis­cher’s and those are usu­al­ly gone in a few days.

They have Bin­go nights in the cafe­te­ria area once a week, but they keep the stuff here in our pantry so we’ll pull it all out on slow nights. At first we’re jok­ing around with the ball machine, but occa­sion­al­ly we’ll all sit down and play a few games. One time four guys got Bin­go at once, which is a math­e­mat­i­cal anomaly.

We have a dog; her name is Tilt. We call her that because of the way she tilts her head when we talk. She’s not a Dal­ma­t­ian because Dal­ma­tians aren’t actu­al­ly that smart. She’s a res­cue. One time we were all watch­ing the His­to­ry Chan­nel, this show about the Dust Bowl and the Great Depres­sion, and we swore we saw Tilt. And just when we start­ed to get excit­ed she reached over with her paw and shut off the TV.

We’re not required to exer­cise but we’re sup­posed to exer­cise. There are things like that; if your hair gets too long you’re going to have to pull it back. The only rule that real­ly ever gets to the guys is not to look at the cry­ing dia­mond. Scratch that–the hard­est rule is that we can’t ever talk about Chester’s wife. She was a real dog. Some of us think she’s trapped inside the cry­ing diamond.

The paint­ings in the main hall­way change at night. At day they are very nice, very pret­ty scenic paint­ings. At night, though, inside of them lit­tle images appear of our fam­i­lies, our wives and kids burn­ing alive and smil­ing. They show up in the paint­ings as if they had always been there. It is too dis­turb­ing. Pyra­mids of meat and crum­pled horse bod­ies. You think you would learn not to look at the paint­ings but you still look. Any­way they’re back to nor­mal by sun­rise, and there’s a brand new pot wait­ing in Lazarus. ♦