Larry's Letters

From: Larry Niven
Sent: Tuesday, October 28, 2003 12:29 PM
Subject: fire

We still have a house.

We missed all the excitement. When we saw live flame this side of the western ridge, we fled. Of the friends who called to offer refuge, the Browns were closest, and that was where we went. We spent the afternoon and evening listening to the radio. Listening to the fire.

The fire certainly reached Chatsworth, where we live, and beyond. The front line was in Porter Ranch. The fire had crossed a broad unnatural firebreak, the 118 freeway. We didn't hear of houses burning in Indian Springs/Falls. We zonked out early, exhausted, I guess, by staying up Saturday and Sunday to watch and listen and pack.

This morning we tried to get home, found the Poema way to the Falls blocked, went away. Marilyn wondered if the Iverson gate (to the Springs) was open. We ate breakfast, then returned. The fish are fine. (The cat is at the Browns, behaving herself very well.)

The fire burned its way right up to our front and side doors. The firemen must have been dancing with the Devil. A real writer would have watched or helped. The hills are uniformly black. The houses around us are untouched. There's a stench of smoke inside the house. Nothing's harmed.

This letter is generic. My generic mistake was in planning to come home after 2 or 3 days. For that, I was ready: three days of diet supplements, one pair of slacks, etc. I didn't take enough info from my computer to resume a career. I took many T-shirts, no shirts. Oh, the list goes on. I didn't practice Murphy magic: didn't prepare for what I hoped to avoid. Some mistakes you don't pay for.

Larry Niven/Marilyn Niven

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