:: Article

Dear Fire Extinguisher

New fiction by Laurence Pritchard, with art by Sarabeth Dunton.


Dear Fire Extinguisher


Dear Fire Extinguisher,

I love your shape. I love your cylinder. I love your shine.

I love how you perch on the wall by the fire exit.

I love the work you do. You save people. You sit there silently, nobly, wanting nothing back.

Soon. There will be another fire.

I will set to the task well and take your hinged lever in my fist and thumb the pin back towards me and unlock it and raise your solid body and not stare into the flames but into the base of the fire and destroy the fuel that ignites the fire.

I will heave and pitch you from side to side, the motion of sweeping mites and grime from a horse’s flank. I will heed the wish to act impatiently and will not rest until the curling flames have vanished and the smoke and stench have gone into the void from where they had rudely belched.

As the last tongues of flame wither, I will approach the dwindling fire, and concentrate the jet into the crucible of the fire as she spits her last.

Then I will attend to you, see that you are well, polish the shine back into you, shout to others, and wait for their calls back to see that they are safe. I will raise you up to the sky in triumph and leave, trudging, out of the smoke-gutted room and out onto corridor where I will settle you back in your holder.

If you say nothing, if you make no noise, if you do not write, I will not mind.

I will be waiting for the next time when we are together again.

There will be a next time.

I promise.




Laurence Pritchard
is a writer and translator (French to English) based in Bristol, UK. His work has been published in Nanofiction, The Big Issue, UFReview, Chincha, and PANK. He can be found on Twitter: @laurence99

Sarabeth Dunton received her BFA in painting at the University of Michigan in 2006. Her current practice emphasizes drawing as a mode of experience. She finds inspiration in both traditional modes of landscape painting and more contemporary dialogues of abstraction, and uses intuitive processes and a personalized specific style of markmaking to created her works. For her, the act of drawing is a physical chronicle of an intimate relationship with the space in which she works. The work is the physical apprehension of an action, a memory, and an archetypal understanding of how we view and realize landscape. After many years traveling, wandering, and transplanting herself, Sarabeth moved from New Orleans in search of a more diverse and vibrant art scene, landing in Kansas City.
Sarabeth’s work has been shown in New Orleans, Kansas City, Chicago, Ann Arbor, Michigan, and internationally in Paros, Greece. She is a co-founder of RAD school, had writing published by a 8 1/2 X 11 press, and has been granted residency fellowships based in Joshua Tree, Ohio, and rural Missouri. Find her on Instagram.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Tuesday, February 16th, 2016.