Rickles: The Greendale Arsonist



Rickles: The Greendale Arsonist



The Fire Department responding to another arsonist fire on W. 2nd Street in Clarksdale, Mississippi around 2:30 am. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Fire Department responding to another arsonist fire on West 2nd in Clarksdale, Mississippi around 2:30 am. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Any similarity between the arsonist at work in Clarksdale, Mississippi at present and this sordid tale of one delusional man’s poor understanding of scripture and what constitutes “loving thy neighbor” is purely fictional and coincidental. There are two tales–one real one not. The real one now occurring in Clarksdale is sickening and may God bless the firemen, policemen, and others who are hunting the rapacious soulless person who is nightly burning our town. Godspeed justice and God protect our citizens and their property! May God’s true fire stop this person or persons dead in their tracks! The second tale told here from the point of view of Rickles, the Greendale arsonist, is completely fictional but sickening as well.

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Rickles: The Arsonist.

Rickles: The Greendale Arsonist

I am Rickles. I love fire. Can’t stay away. Can’t turn my head. Heat. Fire. Smoke. Poppings. Whistles. Cracks. Sizzles. Thunder. Flashes of brilliant white light. Amber faces turned crimson in the soft-yellow light of a crackling, hot night.

Just one more. I will stop. One more fire. One more night of warm pleasure. One more night of spontaneous orgasm. My eyes are wide, open, and full of light–reflected and refracted. My belly is fiery, incandescent, and awash with impetuous passions.

One more spark, one more flick, one more sulfuric snort. Always a match, never a lighter. The sound of a match, even a safety match, across a built-in emery board, thrills me, frees me, sets my loins astir. Why should I stop? They are vacant. No one inside. Shouldn’t be.

If someone cared, then why are they vacant? Is it not up to me to lay them waste? To set them ablaze? To fan the flame of my conquest? Noble deeds done dirt-cheap. A wake up call to those who slumber in their self-contained, unguarded lives.

I will come for you one day. Oh, I will come for you, with the fervid, flicking sword of vengeance.

But first, the vacants! The empties! The tired, the dry, the brittle! Almost burned ‘em all. Now, now I will roast the torrid and tepid souls intent on living lives of desperation. I will do it with flame! Flame changes everything! They will never be the same!

I will torch, eradicate their very existence! Have they not all played a part in my pain? Does searing heat and judgment wrought not allay my paroxysms and torment exponential? Shall I not seek relief in the loss of others? I shall! They are all asleep in their consumer-ridden stupor! I will burn them to the ground! I will cast them aside as ashes to a Northeaster. Their lives will dance away, awash in white ash and granite powder, floating on a leaden cloud of smoke, soot and pain.

God’s prophet, Isaiah said:

Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw and as dry grass sinks down in the flames, so their roots will decay and their flowers blow away like dust; for they have rejected the law of the Lord Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel. Therefore, the Lord’s anger burns against his people; his hand is raised and he strikes them down. The mountains shake, and the dead bodies are like refuse in the streets.

I am Rickles, the Lord’s avenger. I will burn the unholy bastards, the corruptors of children. I will set ablaze all they have. I will destroy all they hold dearly. I will set right all wrongs. The Lord is not a respecter of persons, nor am I. I will burn white, black, rich, poor, whole, lame, young and old. I will kindle that which cannot be undone. Crackle, pop, split, splinter! Sounds of a fiery baptism! The sounds of a holy purging.

To the very depths of Sheol, the belly of the abyss, Hell itself, the worms will sizzle, slurp, and glow. Glow little glowworm, shimmer, shimmer.

Shimmer my ass; I will burn those sons-of-bitches, burn ‘em like hell is a hound and hot on their laconic, fat asses. Woo! Tonight, Greendale will be awash. Tonight, I burn a street. To the ground. Memphis will see my bonfire to the vanities. Jackson will gaze in the distance and see an early dawn to the North.

Your rat dogs mean nothing to me! I will slit their throats like a lamb to the slaughter. Your children mean nothing to me. The Lord and I have forsaken them. You will know me. You will fear me. You will rue the day I entered your life in the twilights, the late nigh, and yes, the daylights to come!

I have a plan. It’s your plan. You call me foul! I call you foul! I will show you foul! The smell of gasoline, kerosene, lighter fluid, and burning newspaper, these are a few of my favorite things. I will burn you; I will turn you; I will make you bleed, you and your kin will roast like a stuck pig in a fire pit. The smell of your foul flesh burning will be a sweet oblation to the Lord of Host. The One who brung me!

Surely, surely, it is His voice I hear in the flames. The voice. The one I call IT! But it is the Lord! Surely? He/it/them/legion, they may be done with me tonight. I am tired. They are insatiable. Leave me alone. I want rest eternal. My reward will be great!

Just one more fire! I can stop, before they catch me. I am smarter than all of them. I leave no trail I do not intend. They think they know who I am, know me; they are wrong, they always are! One fire a day, for three straight months! I am nearing 100–the magic number. My apotheosis draws night!

They say I am looking for insurance money, for revenge, for thrills, for jollies. They say I am black; I am, but that has nothing to do with the justice I administer. They say I am a frustrated gay man; I am, but that has nothing to do with the Lord’s vengeance at the hands of his willing servant. They say, they say, they say. I SAY!

I SAY! That is what the life-grinding bureaucrats need to recognize. It is about my words! I SAY! My justice! They amount to shit! They do their deeds over the phone, in secret meetings, always seeking their own good, not the public good. They will burn, they will be shamed, they will lose; they always do. I will render them effete, dissolute. They will be spent, hollow, and lifeless.

Tonight, tonight, will be my last one! My fix will be complete tonight. My first life form-from life form will be seared tonight. They will squeal, wither, and smolder. I will chuckle with derision at their screams, and I will then quit. I will cease the Lord’s reckoning! Surely? I will!

No accelerant tonight. All things must be pure. The fire, the one that speaks to me, says pure fire needs only a match. I will obey. I will heed the voice I hear only when the flame is high and the watcher’s position is cold from the fire’s draw.

The voice will be pleased. I will tell it I am through! It will understand. It must. It is my decision. I am tired. I want to rest. Sleep for days. Tonight’s the finale. No fire equals no absolution. Fire purifies, rarefies, clarifies. The Bible says so. The refiner’s fire is a must. I must refine those needing refining. The voice told me during last night’s burn who was to blame tonight. There will be a conflagration this very evening–a fire to fire all fires.

I don’t pick them; the voice does. It says go and I go. It says strike and I strike. It says watch and I orgasm. It must know. I know. Combustion cleanses. Combustion spontaneous eliminates dross, removes all that is useless and hinders; all is removed. The earth can rejuvenate only after fire. The first cataclysmic was flood, now I bring fire. The voice needs me. It thinks I am willing. I am willing as long as I am willing. This will be my last, but I am so close to a 100–the magic number, triple digits, records set.

I will talk to the flame tonight, maybe it will be assuaged with the coming of the barbaric screams, the slitting of canine throat, the flame tonight must reach contiguously to the “occupieds” up and down Percy Street. My night. My deal. My time.

Burn Baby Burn! A fiery reckoning is on its way…

PART TWO: TOMORROW, visit www.deltabohemian.com at 3:00 p.m. for the rest of RICKLES…


This is a work of fiction. Any similarities to people or places, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

WARNING: This story, though ultimately shrouded in redemption, does portray some characters in their basest state, including coarse language, non-gratuitous graphic sexuality, and internal dialogue and behaviors, which include obvious incidents of racism, sexism, and behaviors unbecoming those seen in a moral and polite society.

Please read no malicious intent into the author’s purpose for developing these flawed characters other than to present to the reader believable Delta characters–always fodder for a tale told by an idiot, signifying very little, other than just a Delta tale worth telling.

William Prentiss, with the assistance of his able and noble bride of mythical proportions, a fine meta-muse named Madge Marley Howell, has begun thinking about the “Great Southern Novel.” He will be describing characters rooted deeply in the Delta psyche.

He knows no more about them than does the reader. They reveal themselves line-by-line and serif-by-serif. William is likely more expectant than the reader to find out how his developing characters will behave.

At what point will plot be made manifest? It depends. In describing the characters and an incident or two from their past and present, Mr. Prentiss believes the story line will become clearer as the morning sun burns away the dross like dew on Saint Augustine.

All characters are fictional, but how could a Delta writer not use real-life folks and genuine incidents as the skeletons awaiting the meat and sinew of prose and verse? For a better understanding of this character, read Carlene, Father Percy and Milky Steve, Grinnel, Genevieve, Eddie, Blue and David “Straight” and Adelaide – all under DELTA SHORTS.

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  1. Shit!!!-W.P.H. That was chilling dude.

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