printed in Gall's "In the Line of Duty" (2003)
Galls chose to title this story:
by Mica Calfee, Capt. Irving, TX Fire Dept.
Over twenty years
ago, when I was just starting my career as a firefighter, we were dispatched
to a “bomb scare”. They were so rare in the small town I worked
in at the time, that we conducted a search with military precision on every
one. We were trained to look but never touch. We were told, “Do not
touch ANYTHING.” “Do not move anything.” “Do not
turn on any appliances or light fixtures.” Even keying our radios was
considered a possible source for detonation.
On one “bomb threat,” to the town’s public library we lined up for the briefing. I had been a firefighter for only a month. This was my first call of this type. We were each given an area or direction to search. I was given the entrance way and the public restrooms. We went inside and the restrooms were immediately on the left.
When I entered the women’s bathroom I found myself in a foyer or entrance area. Unfortunately the light was off. Unknown to me, it was a large flood light, recessed in the lowered ceiling, just inches above my head. I naturally, instinctively, reached for the light switch. It was as though my eyes and hand had decided to ignore my brain which was still processing the instructions of “Do not turn on ANYTHING!” Even as my hand flipped the switch my brain was trying to stop it. But it was too late.
Remember, immediately above my head, recessed in a low ceiling, was a large, reflector type, flood light bulb. What I, to this day, do not understand, is why it picked that one moment in time, TO BURN OUT! The flipping of the switch with my brain still saying no, was accompanied by a loud pop and a flash of light as bright as a bolt of lightning. For an instant, I felt like I was Wylie Coyote with a bad “ACME Road Runner Explosion Kit”.
Needless to say, it was probably a good thing I was ALREADY in a bathroom.
Copyright© 2004 Mica Calfee or Galls -In the Line of Duty.
Cartoon property of Galls- In the Line of Duty
Please contact for permission to reproduce anything on these pages.
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