Laugh? I nearly died…in fact I practically shat myself. My plan had worked well, I had wrought the Holy Chaos, blessed be. Of course, things hadn't turned out quite as I'd expected.
It had begun the previous Friday, as I trudged away from the A4e Programme Centre in the late August sunshine of Festival Edinburgh. My elation at the ending of yet another week of oppression by the Tools of the Conspiracy was already dissipating as I foresaw the prospect of another dreary Monday looming. Could I have such a stupendous bacchanal over the weekend that my spirits would be lifted? That seemed unlikely given that last weekend's little "incident" required me to lay low for a while. The little voices in my head had told me to do it. Actually they'd said, "Go on, you know you want to" which is close enough for me.
I breathed deeply, clearing my mind to allow inspiration to bubble up from my subconscious. As I walked past the Sheraton Plaza, a giant display screen caught my gaze. It carried a film trailer for the movie "Serenity." I paused to admire smokin' hot babe Summer Glau, in infeasibly tight pants and thigh boots, high-kicking the crap out of a random goon. The scene cut to spaceships and a massive, fiery explosion. Suddenly I had it. The lovely Summer's muscular thighs had kicked my limbic system into gear and the flash of the explosion had triggered the answer. The landlord had decorators working in my tenement. For the exterior painting they had a large can of aluminium powder to mix in with the paint. The discarded car panels at the garage round the corner would provide a ready source of iron oxide. A simple job to produce a fifty/fifty mix (by volume) of aluminium powder and red iron oxide dust. Thermite! The daddy of incendiary mixtures; the violently exothermic reaction as the aluminium scavenges the oxygen from the iron oxide produces molten iron at 2200°C. Sweet. This flashed through my head as I resumed my ogling of the glorious Ms Glau.
The trailer ended, my walking and the plan continued. The office space adjoining the A4e Centre was empty and had been for some years. Straightforward to break in and lay thermite charges safe in the knowledge they would remain undiscovered until their detonation. I needed an ignition system with a timing mechanism to ensure I could be long gone from the scene. The thermite reaction needs high temperatures to kick it off, sparklers or magnesium flares work fine. However, some kind of electrical burn would be the way to go for timed devices. I couldn't rely on the empty office building having power though. Time for some rummaging through skips to see what technological detritus the consumer culture could yield to me. It transpired I didn't even have to do that. As I walked past the parking structure for the Scottish Widows office complex I saw a pile of discarded computer equipment waiting for recycling. Two uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) caught my eye. Big batteries, heavy-duty capacitors and control circuitry. Perfect. The batteries wouldn't need to be able to hold a charge for long for my purposes. The short walk back to my flat with the heavy battery packs, while unpleasant, was heartening. An evening, or two, tinkering with the electrics of the UPSs (fun and danger with electricity) a little breaking and entering (adrenaline kick). Then everyone enjoys a good, roaring fire. Maybe life wasn't so bad after all.
So here stands your narrator, in front of the Caledonian Hotel, laughing like a drain as the fires rage through Rutland Square. The exploding gas mains sending pillars of dust high into the sky like the pyroclastic detonations of erupting volcanos. The heady stench of high temperature combustion perfumes the air. Already the biggest blaze in Edinburgh history, easily out-stripping the conflagration that consumed the Gilded Balloon, and the party was just getting started. But it wasn't the inferno I was laughing at. I was adoring the Goddess's cruel taunting of me, blessed be. Agents from the Federation Against Copyright Theft had raided A4e Edinburgh over the weekend and closed down the Centre for numerous violations of Copyright Law relating to the so-called "training materials" used on the inmates.
It's time to collect my wits as best as I can. There's looting to be had in the soon to be devastated city centre. For out of the Holy Chaos comes opportunity, blessed be.