My First


Monica’s place was no joke. Built with wood so fine it would make even the most steadfast futurist pine for a re-communion with nature. Nestled below shrub covered cliffs and other beach houses. It stood next to a strand of sand and seawater only accessible to those whose property it touched.

It was a place I envied. Seeing the photos she posted online of each sunset, all from the comfort of her bedroom, made my blood boil. She had an indoor hot tub, a reading room the size of my family”s apartment, and even her own personal gym. That’s why it had to be my first.

I’d done smaller things, sure. Trees, mailboxes, benches, and even an old car. They weren’t real firsts, though. I could always give this hobby up if those were it. Monica’s place was what made it a passion.

So I gathered my things and took the kayak into the ocean. I’d take it down the coast, past the two strands of public beach before getting there. There wasn’t much premeditation, instead I had desire and that’s all you really need if you want something hard enough.

Monica was an only child. Her mother dead and her father a C-list actor always traveling for work. Aside from the housekeeper who came on weekends, she lived alone. That afternoon she had water polo.

As I pulled my kayak onto Monica’s beach, her house’s real size dawned on me. I’d always seen it from a distance, from the ocean or from online. In person it was massive. I wasn’t sure if I could even do something that big.

I put on my pink ski mask. Now I was just some anonymous girl. If the footage survived it wouldn’t be useful. It’s not like Monica would suspect me, I didn’t even know her. The longest conversation we had was her telling me she liked my skirt.

The great thing about rich people is that they don’t realize bad things can happen to them. They leave their doors unlocked or have spare keys all over the patio. With Monica the key happened to be in a sunflower pot.

The great thing about reality is that bad things happen to everyone. The fates don’t discriminate when it comes to suffering.

I took a moment to enjoy the house, nice long halls, high ceilings, and the sun setting over the pacific visible through the house’s many windows. Her room really was nice. I left my first lit candle there. Then in the gym, then the reading room, and finally one at both entrances.

Turning on the gas is what made the adrenaline start pumping. I ran back out onto the beach and made certain to give the security camera my middle finger. I got in the my kayak and rowed as fast as I could.

Once I was far enough away that the house seemed small again, I stopped to watch. The sky was filled with pink clouds and the orange tint of the sunset. I stared at Monica’s bedroom window, waiting for it to be illuminated. I knew that candle would be the first to go.

Then I saw the living room lights turn on. Monica stood inside, looking around as if something smelled of rotten eggs. I looked at my watch, it was 6:30, I’d took too long. It was just supposed to be the building, not her.

Then the chain reaction came. First her bedroom windows blew out and the sound of an explosion rang across the waters. The reading room and the hallways were engulfed with flames. There was no way she got out, I saw the back entrance explode, and I had set a candle at the front one too. The beautiful wood was now burning. Soon her once perfect house would be nothing more than ashes.

I left knowing that the firetrucks would be coming. I didn’t want anyone to notice a suspicious looking kayak enjoying the show.

As I went up the coast and saw the sun finally set, I didn’t feel regret or guilt. Instead I realized my passion would never be the same. Now I’d always have to do it with people.

~ fin ~

Joseph H. Stryker is a twenty year-old nobody. Born in Laguna Hills, California and now residing in Lake Elsinore, California. His stories can be found on Near To The Knuckle and Out of The Gutter. All in all, he just isn't that interesting. You'll most likely forget who he is the second you finish reading this sentence.