Thousands of exultant Miamians threw gasoline and broken furniture into Marlins Stadium, fueling an inferno that quickly enveloped the arena. Flames leapt hundreds of feet into the cool night air through the retracted roof, lighting the gleeful faces of children, adults, and elders alike. The consensus among the revelers was that the city needed this communal conflagration to stave off its unseasonably cold weather. It was 64 degrees.
Valeria Martinez was busy throwing a bookshelf into the blaze when I asked what brought her to the stadium.
“Well, I was sitting at home and it was getting a little chilly,” she explained, wiping her hands on her jeans. “And I figured I could either put on a light sweater, or do something for the city. So, I brought my old Ikea set out here to set on fire. Imagine my surprise when I saw everyone else doing the same!”
There did not appear to be any centralizing force or call to action that organized Miamians to join the arsonistic merriment. They simply arrived on their own accord with flammable material in tow, and seemed happily surprised to see so many of their neighbors shared their pyromaniacal objective.
Anthony Espinosa stood in the Marlins parking lot with his husband and two children.
“We had a little bit of a drive up,” explained Espinosa. “But it’s totally worth it to let kids partake.”
“Where’s home?” I asked.
“Naranja,” he replied.
“You drove half an hour to let your children set a stadium on fire?”
“No,” he corrected me. “I drove half an hour to let me children set THIS stadium on fire.”
An hour after the first embers were lit, a dozen fire engines surrounded the engulfed building, but did nothing to put it out.
“Oh we’re just here to make sure none of the surrounding buildings go up,” explained Lieutenant Deborah Briar, nonchalantly leaning against the hood of her truck. “What are we supposed to do? Let everyone freeze to death?”
“It’s 30 degrees above freezing,” I answered.
Briar’s eyes narrowed.
“It’s an idiom,” she retorted. “Don’t be an asshole.”
“You’re right,” I said, shrugging my shoulder. “Sorry. I’ll be right back.”
I walked to West Plaza entrance, squeezed past several families roasting marshmallows, and threw my bundle of firewood into the blaze.
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