Katrina and Annette have left the party and arrived, drunk and disorientated, at an empty train station with no way of getting home. With bellies full of beer and only a packet of Consulate menthol cigarettes between them they head off to seek shelter nearby and are about to attempt to light a fire...
The Great Tampon Fire Part II
The problem for girls that think things like Scouting and Guides are ‘for knobs’ and ‘well boring’ is that, unless you have parents that are socks–and-sandals wearing, practical, outdoorsy types, you may never be taught some of the things that are very useful when you are frozen to your marrow and wondering how you will make it to morning. Like making a camp fire.
As ill-educated as we were in the ways of survival, we were conscientious enough to realise that setting fire to the train station would be a bad idea and made for a wooded area nearby to ‘make camp’.
The lights from the station cut through the gloom and enabled us to see a disused hut within the woods that whilst not exactly a hotel, did offer some shelter. It had a dirt floor and someone had helpfully put some beer crates inside as seats.
Annette and I agreed to split up for five minutes to search for ‘things to burn’ (kindling had not yet entered our vocabulary) and then return to the hut with our spoils. It was dark and damp but Annette came back with some nice little branches that seemed dry and I – wonder of wonders – had found some magazines!
“Check this out Annette,” I said, “I’ve got some magazines, so we can definitely have a fire.”
“Nice one,” she replied, “What are they?”
“Dunno,” I said, squinting at the pages beneath me, “hard to see out there, hang on. Let’s hold our lighters over them.”
I opened one of the magazines, put it on the floor and we flicked our lighters at the same time. The darkness lifted slightly to reveal an impressively hairy fanny.
“Oh my fucking God!” shouted Annette “that woman’s got her minge out!”
She was quite right. Not only did the woman ‘have her minge out’, she was also holding her legs apart and looking at the camera as if to say “Yes, this is my vagina, and I’d greatly appreciate it if you would take some time to have a really good look at it.”
We flicked to another page, more of the same. I had inadvertently brought a selection of porn mags into the hut.
“Uurrgh, I don’t believe I’ve touched those. They’ve probably had some blokes’ jizzy fingers all over them. Oh this is rank.” I felt truly rotten; this was not the triumph I was expecting.
“Well,” said Annette, “these deserve to be burned, dirty perverts. Let’s get the fire going.”
This was easier said than done. We knew nothing of making nice little balls of paper to get a fire going and even if we had, I can’t imagine either of us wanting to touch those magazines any more than we absolutely had to. Annette edged the magazines into the centre of the hut using her boot and then artfully arranged some of the sticks on top. It looked kind of ok but after some encouraging burning at the edges of the paper the flames expired. The lady was still there, but now her minge was singed.
“I think we need something to really get it going.” Annette said.
“Dunno, like a fire lighter or something.”
Whilst we knew neither of us was going to have a fire lighter on us, we were hopeful and so emptied out our pockets to see whether we had anything that might prove suitably flammable.
Bus tickets – not big enough
Train tickets – not big enough either
Fag packets – too valuable, needed to protect our precious last few cigarettes
We decided that what with tampons being made of cotton, they must be great for starting fires and set about placing them on the magazines and in between the sticks. They lay there, like stillborn mice, little string tails laid out behind them. I think we hoped that if we lit the strings they’d go off like dynamite. We scattered the bus and train tickets on top to add to the fuel then set about applying our lighters to everything possible.
As we were to find out, tampons are not an effective alternative to fire lighters. Our efforts at keeping ourselves warm using only our wits and found items was a stinking, smouldering mess of masturbatory material and sanitary wear. The smoke and the shame took us back to the train station where we waited, freezing and miserable until the 0825 to Basingstoke came in and took us back home. To add to our feeling of stupidity the guard informed us that the milk train had ceased to exist at least 20 years ago.
Compared to the previous night's lodgings my mum's house felt like a spa and after I had scrubbed my hands clean of every trace (real and imagined) of my futile foraging, I slept through most of Sunday. In hindsight, our complete ineptitude as arsonists was a blessing in disguise – the hut we had been in was made of wood.