Shattered Designer

2363 Fire Blue TarpCharissa looked terribly disheveled and upset the Tuesday after the fire when I insisted we meet. She was very nervous and could not look me in the eye. Ordinarily she was very sweet, neat and orderly.

Charissa was a good but money strapped graphic designer who could have been persuaded to copy a file or two for a couple of hundred dollars if a suitable distraction took place.

Major acts of arson were not in her game plan.

When we talked the week before the fire Charissa was suddenly and strangely insistent that we meet at my home office. Ordinarily I went to her home two blocks away. I was close to finishing my happiness book, I was excited and pleased.

Weird things had been happening all week. She wasn’t earning much on the job and had said next week would be equally fine so I didn’t feel badly about leaving a voice mail message around 1 pm to postpone our 3 pm Friday June 17, 2005 afternoon meeting. I left to run errands.

When I headed home around 3:40 pm helicopters were circling overhead, fire was shooting out of the house next door, across the narrow driveway toward my house and ten fire trucks lined the street. The old asbestos shingling saved my house but it was badly toasted.

A vicious voice mail message was left around 2 pm furious that I had postponed the meeting. It didn’t even sound like Charissa and it didn’t make sense given the previous conversations we’d had.

It left the impression a fire was set shortly after 3 pm to coincide with our meeting to provide a distraction. She’d copy the book files from my PC’s hard drive and run a program to disable it.

The fire would destroy my house and all the working papers and materials I needed to prove the book was mine. I’d been threatened that, “I’d loose it all.” That’s what they meant.

Charissa’s brother was prominent in the professional speaking organization that had tried to smear and discourage me.

A similar fire destroyed a house under renovation on a neighboring street the month before. The fire jumped the driveway and also destroyed the house next door. Was that fire used to vet the contractor for a job on my neighbors house?

Our neighborhood had been fire free for years and has been fire free ever since…

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