The fire burned brightly and I could see it from almost a mile away. I knew it had to be Rich starting the fire pit in the backyard. He was the only one who could ever make the fire that big or even wanted to. I wondered what this would signal for the rest of the night. When he went all out like this, he went all out in everything.
I worried about his all or nothing attitude, but so far he hadn’t gotten into trouble. As I got closer to the house, the fire seemed to be getting out of control and I wondered how far Rich would let it go. Usually, the height of the fire depended on how much he had had to drink after work. If work had been stressful, he and the boys went to their favorite corner pub – Steve’s. Since they spent so much time at Steve’s, the bartenders knew them and what they liked to drink. Rich liked to joke that it was the place ‘where everybody knows your name.’
If work hadn’t been so bad, Rich usually just stopped for a six pack on the way home and drank on the back porch until the sun went down. As I got closer and saw the trucks of all his friends parked in the driveway, I knew work must have been worse than ever. I also knew I had to get anything I cared about before my brother burned down the house, too.