A Hot Time in the Old Town

"See, this was different from Ezra. He'd died in the middle of an inferno, burned from the outside, and he'd looked it. Bobby looked almost like he'd burned from the inside. He was gone in a second, and the bedclothes around him were completely untouched.

"I called the cops. They combed the place like IRS auditors, but I knew they wouldn't find traces of gasoline or any other flammable liquid. Accelerants, they call those. And they didn't. They questioned me all night. What could I possibly have told them?

"I couldn't concentrate on what they were asking me, anyway. It was cold in that apartment. My arms and legs were covered with goose bumps. I don't know how that much heat could have dissipated so fast.

"During the interrogation I snuck a glance at the thermometer on the furnace control. Would you believe it read seventy degrees? Felt like a refrigerator in there to me. All relative, I guess.

"The cops left at dawn. Nothing more came of it, except that the newlyweds found out what happened and hit the road soon after. So did the college kid. Left most of his stuff behind, too.

"I never had another tenant. Never advertised for any. I stayed there myself, though. For decades. Grew old there. I was stuck, you see.

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