I am play-fighting with the five-year-old when the fire alarm goes off. I tell her to wait in the garden, and I go to investigate.
On the first floor there is no evidence of a fire.
On the second floor there is no evidence of a fire.
On the third floor there is no evidence of a fire.
On the fourth floor I smell smoke.
I cautiously ascend to the fifth floor, where the stench becomes more pungent.
I spot the source of the smoke; it drifts out from beneath the thirteen-year-old’s bedroom door.
My heart leaps and gathers speed. I grab a phone, dial 999 and hover my thumb over the call button.
My hand trembles as I push the door open and enter the room.
The smoke is thick. I rush to the window and heave it open, gasping at the fresh air.
I scan the dense mist and espy a flame flickering in the corner of the room.
I dash to the bathroom and dampen a towel, return to the bedroom and smother the flame. As the fire dies, the smoke gradually clears to reveal the thirteen-year-old, lying indolently on his bed.
“What the fuck are you doing!?” I screech.
“Burning Hershey’s Bar Mitzvah invitation.”
“Because he blocked me on BBM.”
The Male Nanny