Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Fire Extinguisher Incident

Last night I saw what happens When Good Fire Extinguishers Go Bad.

I didn't even know it was there: stashed between the file cabinet and the wall, silent and malevolent, no safety pin engaged, like a ticking bicarbonate time-bomb. As I hurriedly searched for something in the mile-high assortment of crap on top of the cabinet, a heavy book fell off and suddenly evil-smelling clouds of thick yellow dust were spewing outward like a geyser from hell. "What the fuck!!??!" I shrieked. "ANTHRAX?!!"

I kicked the file cabinet aside, revealing the offending fire extinguisher. I stomped on it and it stopped spraying, but not soon enough. Within seconds, half of the store was engulfed in a stinky haze of yellow dust. I opened both doors and grabbed the Febreeze, but Febreeze only works on such microscopic solids as those found in farts. I persevered. I sprayed. I waved my arms around. I cursed. I tried not to think about the extra couple of hours it was going to take to clean this up. I found out that on a hot night, customers will demand ice cream cones no matter what the condition of the store, even when the ice cream machine itself is coated in a layer of toxic-looking yellow dust.

Another thing I learned is that nothing cleans this fire extinguisher shit up. We swept, mopped, and vacuumed as best we could, and at 10:30 (sharp) declared the place "clean" and left. Hopefully the management learned something, too: like it might be a good idea to give a little more thought to the placement of our safety equipment in the future. And for fuck sake, engage the safety pin.