kim cancer
11 min readMay 1, 2020


Confessions of an Arsonist

The following is a fictional account of pyromania and philia…

Ever since I was a little kid, I have been a pyromaniac.

I understand pulchritude in the corpus of fire, its shape, arrays and radiant colors. Its eminent heat and energy. How elegantly it licks, sucks and swallows…

My first memory of fire involved watching a middle-aged black man walking down the street. The black man paused midstride and pulled out a small square of silver from his coat pocket.

The black man had these gargantuan hands, and with the plump ball of his thumb, he flicked open the silver square, and KERRRRCH, the most magnificent tiny bulb of orange appeared and arose; this spectacular little triangle of light that he controlled so masterfully. He then lifted the flickering flame up to a cigarette, and POOOOF! a small cloud of smoke burst and purled from his mouth.

Transfixed, I craned my neck as my housekeeper led me down the street to our awaiting driver, and I stared in awe at the miraculous power this magical black man beheld. He noticed me staring too and smiled at me and winked, looked away, checked his watch and sauntered off.

After that, anytime I saw fire, I could not avert my eyes from it.

On the TV, I came to adore action cartoons and movies, especially their explosions, watching the heroes jump away from bombs and burning buildings.

I would secretly wish, though, the heroes would instead dive into the explosions so I could see the fire singe and scorch them, and I would pause, rewind, and rewatch blasts and detonations over and over and over again.

The news too, I came to love, after I passed by the televisions in father’s office, and one of the televisions was tuned to the news while father was on a business call.

Behind father was a row of wall mounted widescreen televisions, carved into the oak paneling, and on one of the televisions was live news coverage of a quaint, single family house on fire, firefighters fecklessly battling the blaze with retardant and water cannons.

Father in a sweater vest, his arms on his hips, his shiny white hair slicked back, was yelling frantically, something about “tax shelters”, his angry face pointing and pecking at one of the speaker phones on his mahogany desk, and he was screaming like mad at the phone, at the top of his lungs, as I stood and watched the fire, in awe, and my heart skipped a beat as the small house crumbled, succumbed to flame.

I did not know the news had fires, but after knowing it did, I would watch the news, every day, hoping to hear about any fires. I would watch either in father’s office, or in the kitchen, as the chefs prepared meals (and there I could also stare at the rings of beautiful blue flames licking phosphorescently under the pots and pans).


We were lucky to live in California where there were forest fires and wildfires, Santa Ana winds. Wildfires were the best. How they would spread and annihilate such large areas, cause firestorms.

I got to see wildfires on TV regularly. See wildfires swallowing up trees, houses, buildings and hollowing out vehicles. I would perch and sit at the television with my mouth agape, watching in amazement at the fire’s delightful sizzle and pop and the hypnotic yellow orange and white colors of the burning…

Once I was old enough to browse the internet, I began to seek online videos of fires. First seeking out scenes of fires, bombs blowing up in films, and I watched several fire-related films, including the movie Firestarter, which I viewed 286 times.

But when I discovered YouTube, I found that authentic footage was far more invigorating.

I first preferred violent fires, fire attacks, and I went through a phase where I compiled an exquisite database of Molotov cocktail throws, most of which were derived from riot footage from foreign countries.

Then I diversified. I conducted internet and library research, assiduously studied famous fires from history like The Great Fire of Rome in 64 AD, The London Fire of 1666, Peshtigo 1871, The 1923 Tokyo Fire, San Francisco 1906, and The 1956 Marcinelle Mining Disaster, to name a few…

I was enthralled upon learning the histories of great transportation fires, ship fires, and building fires and wartime fires and watching corresponding online video of wartime napalm attacks, firebombing raids, firebombing of cities in World War 2.

I became a student of notable arson cases like The Pillow Pyro, The Happy Land Fire, The UpStairs Lounge Attack, and was infatuated by the numerous fire attacks on buses, public transit in China.

I became a Wikipedia editor, contributing and editing statistical information, references on fire disaster and arson attack pages.

And I played video games like Grand Theft Auto so I could shoot flamethrowers at people and vehicles…

All my dreams involved fires, me on fire, happy to be burning and/or me setting other people on fire and them laughing and/or me doing push-ups or jumping jacks or aerobics in front of burning towers, houses, cars, trains, planes or forests.


While watching and dreaming were passive, cathartic kicks, I required more stimulation. I had to try fire for myself. Feel it with the skin of my own hands. See it living with my own eyes. So I decided to experiment, play with fire.

It was not easy to evade my housekeepers, my house’s security detail. But I could sometimes escape off into the edges of our estate, dash through the hedges and topiaries and find my way to the far end of our property, past the pool, where there was a cut between the perimeter fence and the pool house.

There, I would play controlled burns with matches I swiped from the kitchen and burn old school textbooks and books I had stolen from mother’s library. I would stand still, wide-eyed, feeling all happy and mesmerized as the serrated teeth of small flames ate away at the crackling pages.

But I was caught on surveillance camera, and father stalked and chased me through our house’s winding hallways, up the double staircase.

Panting heavily, father kicked and punched me, dragged me by the leg and picked me up and flung me like a sack of potatoes into my room and lashed me several times with his snakeskin belt. His bright blue eyes like gentian petals in a moonlit pool. His upper lip staying stiff as bone as he beseeched and cursed me.


Despite his admonishment, corporeal punishment, the urge remained. The desire to burn. To watch things burn.

It grew stronger, even, and I would dream of fires more vividly, and planned and plotted to when I would be able to set fires again.

And often I would ideate padlocking father in his office, gasoline to the double wooden doors and lighting his office on fire, thinking of him behind his colossal desk, his coughing and cavorting and his ivory dentures falling from his mouth.

His silk pants and his snakeskin belt and his golf clubs all aglow, smoldering, and me in a toga, running wildly through the halls of our house with a blowtorch, burning the Belgian millwork, burning the sculptures and French paintings he had bought at auctions, and shooting a fire hose filled with jet fuel along the exterior of the dwelling and burning the whole fucking house down, me watching it in flames from outside the front gates, then flogging myself with a blowtorch to pat myself on the back…

I would think of burning alive anyone I hated. Teachers. Classmates. Janitors and school security guards most of all. Sitting in class, I would visualize how wonderful it would be if I could turn my pen into a flamethrower and incinerate everyone in the classroom. I would piss in a school bathroom’s urinal and wish my dick were a flamethrower and that I could use it to piss fire and torch my whole school down to the ground.

The only classes I liked were math and science, especially science, because of the experiments and Bunsen burners…

Come high school, I grew to detest my classmates even more than the security guards and janitors. I hated the jocks and cool kids most. Particularly I started hating the cool kids’ cigarette smoking, the scent it made. The way the smoke looked, and the way smokers looked.

It was so stupid, smoking. Smoke was so inferior. Its corpus simply an excreted byproduct of fire. The waste of fire. The shit of fire. And anyone I ever saw smoking cigarettes, like those cool kids who would sneak off behind school to suck cancer dicks, I would think of letting loose a flamethrower at them, cackling at the superiority of my flames over their smoke…

By the time I got my license to drive, father was sleeping in his office at his firm’s headquarters, and mother was always off skiing wherever it was winter. Of an age to be left largely to my own devices and with the freedom of movement, at last, I had the freedom to play fire games again.


After school or on weekends, I would drive my Mercedes C-Class to a rundown part of town, where the black people used to live. That part of town had a surplus of abandoned buildings.

Since no one was around, it was easy to build small bonfires, watch and admire the flames.

But it was insufficient, the small bonfires. I wanted more, bigger brighter more colorful and extraordinary blazes. So, on Halloween, wearing an Obama mask, I filled a few gas cans and heaved and splashed them over an abandoned little 2 floor, single family home, and set it alight.

Running off, watching from afar, it gave me a high like no other, seeing such a structure disintegrate and burn.

I revisited that area, torched a few other houses and a closed down toy factory, the factory’s joists and its smokestack collapsing under the weight of the lustrous flames, the ground shaking like an earthquake as it toppled, and I clapped and growled as the collapse sent a rush of blood to my head.

But I had to stop my activities around there, when it turned out a few squatters were inside one of the buildings I had burned. They had been homeless drug addicts and had burned to death. In all, there had been 3 of them.

At first, I did not think much of it, reading about it online. I was only slightly disappointed and annoyed that I would need to find a new area to play fires. However, when I saw their pictures, the drug addicts who perished, I was elated.

They were so ugly. Missing teeth. Covered in tattoos. One had a huge stupid red afro like Sideshow Bob. I could imagine the drug addicts in flames, coughing in conflagration. It was superb, envisioning the amber tongue of the fire licking over their diseased bodies, charring and cleaning them of their wasted lives… I felt so warm and fuzzy that I jumped up from my chair and danced the Dougie.

I knew what my next game would be…


A week or so later, I set off at night. Drove down to Skid Row. I had taken precautions, had tinted my license plate, dressed in all black and disguised my face with makeup, wore a stocking cap and kept a loaded handgun in my coat pocket.

I stopped my car when I spotted a homeless man, sleeping rough on an empty side street.

I got out carrying a gas cannister and smelled a distinct odor of piss as I crept towards him on my tippy toes. I mechanically emptied the cannister, pouring the noxious liquid over him, placed the cannister to the pavement. As he grumbled and shook awake, I lit and dropped a paper matchbook onto him, and I gasped in amazement as he combusted.

Down on the sidewalk, he flailed his limbs, making flame angels and screaming in measured, high-pitched squeals as he, the old bearded Ernest Hemingway looking homeless man, was hugged in a cocoon of fire.

My penis became erect. Looking about, there was no one close, so I reached into my pants, and smelling at the astringent odor of burning hair and flesh, and watching the beauty of the hot dancing flames, I pulled on my cock and came into my X-Men boxers after only a few strokes, I was so excited.

Then I grabbed up the cannister, ran back to my Benz and peeled out, riding off feeling like a god!

This became my modus operandi. Sneak down to Skid Row in the cloak of night, find lone homeless, douse and burn them, and masturbate as they flopped, screamed, groaned and burned.

Twice the homeless stumbled up to their feet and took off running. One ran away, turned a corner. I do not know where he went. The other ran rather fast; way faster than I would expect of a bum. He got almost halfway down the street before he crumpled and faceplanted to the pavement.

It was a laugh riot, too, watching the bum, in flames, running away, slapping at himself, and eventually falling to the ground, flapping the last bit of life from his arms like a duck that had been shot.


I had expected to find accounts of my activities in the news but did not find anything. I was disappointed. As fun as it was, I wanted recognition for my efforts.

Eventually it made the news, that 8 homeless persons had been burned alive. But no one really cared.

Still, a copper or two could be posted to the area, so I decided to halt my homeless fire fun for a bit, not wanting to go to jail.

The whole thing annoyed me, twofold, that I could not play cremation sport with the bums anymore and that it had gotten so little press coverage. Only a short mention on the local evening news and a tiny blurb on the bottom of the Fox News website! What the fuck?!

No respect! Arsonists are the Rodney Dangerfields of criminals.

No respect. You always hear of murderers, serial killers, mass shooters, mobsters, drug dealers, terrorists, monomaniacal dictators, and all that, but never arsonists.

Why is it that none of us have gotten famous? I guess we had Timothy McVeigh, but he was more of a bomber and a domestic terrorist, not really an arsonist, and he just sort of looked like an asshole. I preferred more random carnage than political violence, anyway.

I thought of ways to change the perception of arsonists. Get us more respect…

I thought of scoring Super Bowl tickets or World Series tickets and setting a fire there. A bucket of kerosene tossed at a star quarterback or coach, watching the jock ass jerkoffs flailing in flames.

I thought of my favorite comedian, Anthony Jeselnik, his comedy special: “Fire in the Maternity Ward,” and how chaining in a fancy hospital in Beverly Hills or Aspen and setting a fire and scorching a bunch of squealing infants would surely amass worldwide attention.

But these were just fantasies. My career as an arsonist arrived at an end when life got in the way, and aside from masturbating to fire videos online, I stopped setting fires after the news broke about the burning of the bums.

I doubled down on my studies, and finished high school, made the honor roll, and joined the Young Republicans. I went to _________ University where I spent most of my time exploring the intricacies of managerial finance, horizontal mergers and economies of scale…

I did not start any fires all through college, except a handful of times, when at summer concert festivals, I walked about, concealing a zippo, and I snuck up behind dirty hippies and lit their long hair on fire. I did that once to a Rastafarian, too, at a concert, lit his dreadlocks on fire and ran off giggling.

Nowadays, for my fire fun fix, I post ads on Craigslist, escort sites. Plenty of women let me pay to have sex with them as I burn them, touching a small blue flame from a blowtorch to their backs as I fuck them from behind and the women bark, whimper and yelp while I fuck to fire footage on my high-definition television.

Burning prostitutes helps alleviate stressors, takes the edge off my mania and philia…

Mostly, though, these days I am in the firm’s upper floor offices overlooking the park, my eyes affixed to balance sheets, tickers and charts on computer screens.