Harry walked up to the antique chest of drawers, slid open the top drawer, pulled out an item, and with an exaggerated flourish, waved it about in the air. “Do you remember this?” he said to his little sister.
“Oh my God, Harry,” Elaine said. “Is that the slate tablet that Dad used to teach us the alphabet and arithmetic?”
“Yes,” Harry said, “I found it in this old chest of drawers yesterday and couldn’t wait to show it to you.”
Elaine gazed at the antique tablet. “Seeing that brings back so many memories of Dad from when we were kids,” she said, her eyes welling up. “I do miss him, Harry.”
“So do I, Elaine,” Harry agreed.
“Do you mind continuing to go through his stuff on your own?” Elaine asked. “Because Dad died intestate, I need to go see the lawyer to sort things out and I want to see what we can do to avoid probate court.”
“Sure, go ahead,” Harry said. “I certainly don’t envy you for having to deal with all that legal mumbo-jumbo.”
Written for the Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Sunday Writing Prompt, “Choose an Antique.” Also for these daily prompts: Ragtag Daily Prompt (chest), Your Daily Word Prompt (flourish), Word of the Day Challenge (gaze), and Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (envy).
Jim Adams chose “Burn/Fire/Flame” for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday theme. There a probably hundreds of songs about burn, fire, and flame, but the one I ended up choosing is “Burning Down the House” by the Talking Heads.
“Burning Down the House” was released in July 1983 as the first single from the band’s fifth studio album, Speaking in Tongues. The song became Talking Heads’ biggest hit single in the U.S., peaking at number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100. Writing credit goes to Chris Frantz, Christopher Frantz, David Byrne, Jerry Harrison, and Tina Weymouth.
Chris Frantz, the drummer for the Talking Heads drummer was inspired to help write this song when he went to a P-Funk show in New York City. He heard the crowd imploring the band to “Burn Down The House” and got the idea for his song’s title. Frantz and Talking Heads bassist Tina Weymouth, who was also his wife, created the original track in a jam, then took it to the band where they refined it. To form the lyrics, they picked words that fit the rhythms, which is why the words don’t make a lot of sense. This is common practice in the world of Funk, where you don’t want the lyrics to get in the way of the “groove” on a feel good song.
In an interview, David Byrne said that fire represents the process of psychological transformation, so burning down the house is destroying one personality and creating another one.
Here are the song’s lyrics.
Watch out, you might get what you’re after Cool babies, strange but not a stranger I’m an ordinary guy Burning down the house
Hold tight Wait ’til the party’s over Hold tight We’re in for nasty weather There has got to be a way Burning down the house
Here’s your ticket pack your bags Time for jumpin’ overboard The transportation is here Close enough but not too far, Maybe you know where you are Fightin’ fire with fire
All wet, hey, you might need a raincoat Shakedown, dreams walking in broad daylight Three hundred sixty five degrees Burning down the house
It was once upon a place, Sometimes I listen to myself Gonna come in first place People on their way to work, Baby, what did you expect? Gonna burst into flame
Burning down the house
My house’s out of the ordinary That’s right Don’t want to hurt nobody Some things sure can sweep me off my feet Burning down the house
No visible means of support And you have not seen nothin’ yet Everything’s stuck together And I don’t know what you expect Staring into the TV set Fighting fire with fire