Tropic of Candles
by Will Bailey
Lights out. [puff...flicker] I said, lights out! [puff...flicker] Lights out! Lights out! Lights out! [puff, puff, puff...flicker] Why won’t you go out, candle?! Now I know how the Phantom of the Opera must have felt blowing out all those candles in his Phantom lair every single night (Phantoms gotta sleep, too)! See, the problem with filling a fireplace full of lit candles is that, eventually, you have to get down on your hands and knees to blow them out, one by one. This is annoying for several reasons: 1) if it’s not a working fireplace, the smoke’s only alternative escape route is up your nose; 2) the candles near the back require an extra forceful gust of breath, causing hot wax to splash up onto your face; 3) Newton’s Third Law of Physics states that you will always bump your head on the underside of a fireplace mantle, no matter what. Sure, I’ve thought about purchasing one of those fancy, long-handled candle snifters they use in reality show elimination rounds, but I’m a writer-not a Professional Set Designer or Props Purchaser. I haven’t the foggiest idea how one goes about making such a niche purchase. Do I bring a sack of gold farthings to the nearest Catholic Church and ring the bell? Do I burn a candle in the attic window every night until a monk knocks on my door and utters the secret password in Latin? What are those snifter things even called? Alter Wands? Candle-Handles? No-Bloze? Will somebody please get back to me on this? I can’t go to sleep until all these candles are out.