I Came, I Burned, I Fled - OZY | A Modern Media Company

I Came, I Burned, I Fled

I Came, I Burned, I Fled

By David Hall


Because it’s always good to know how to beat an arson rap.

By David Hall

My wife, two kids and I have been going to Disney World once a year for the past eight years and we always fly out of the Detroit Metro Airport. Detroit is a two-hour drive from our home, and it’s become tradition that we go for lunch at this really amazing pizza restaurant in Plymouth, Michigan, before we head into Detroit and check into the airport. 

Part of the charm of this restaurant is the large, wood-burning oven that’s the crown jewel of the open-concept kitchen. It’s the centerpiece of the joint and is separated from the seating area only by a waist-high wall that runs along the entire edge of the kitchen. 

We sat chatting over sodas, and I knew our food would soon be ready, so I excused myself from the table to hit the john to wash my hands. It was on my way back from the washroom that it happened. 

As I walked along the kitchen divider, I noticed a small coffee station setup: a carafe, some creamers and a little basket full of sugar packets. 

In one impulsive motion, I grabbed five or six sugar packets and tossed them straight into the mouth of the oven. 

It only took a few seconds for all holy hell to break loose. 


Everyone in the restaurant turned to look. A cook with a long wooden pizza spatula danced back and forth in front of the oven as small but violent fireballs erupted inside the large ceramic cooker. Thick, acrid smoke started to leak out of the oven’s chimney and mouth. From out of nowhere, a dude in chef whites charged into action and let loose with a heavy spray of foam from a fire extinguisher.

“Oh my goodness!” exclaimed my wife. “What happened, Daddy?” asked my youngest. 

I felt a cold wave of panic wash over me and settle in my gut. It felt like I was going to puke. After a few minutes of chaos, our server came to our table.

“Unfortunately, as you probably saw, we had a fire in our wood oven. We do have a regular pizza oven, though, so if you don’t mind waiting, we’ll get you some fresh food out as quick as possible, OK?” 

“We actually have a flight to catch,” my wife responded (“YES! FUCKING YES!” I exclaimed in my head), “so I think we’ll just pay for our drinks and go.” I rocketed out of my chair, put on my coat and started to help my kids get ready. 

“Can I talk to you for a second?” Oh, Jesus, I thought, as I looked up and saw the restaurant’s manager standing a few feet away from our table. My wife gave me a confused and concerned look.

“What’s going on?” 

“I need to talk to your husband for a minute, ma’am.” 

I felt a cold wave of panic wash over me and settle in my gut. It felt like I was going to puke. After a few minutes of chaos, our server came to our table.

With that, the manager walked back toward his office. I followed, shrugging my shoulders at my wife’s confused look, but as I passed the coffee station again, I had an idea and grabbed a few more sugar packets. 

“I oughta kick your fucking ass, you stupid son of a bitch.” 

Apparently the manager was not one to mince words. He sat at a desk in his small office. A man in kitchen whites and a hairnet stood beside him. 

“What?!” I did my best to seem confused. 

“Sugar! SUGAR! You threw fucking sugar into my oven! You know how long that shit takes to clean? And I got a restaurant full of customers waiting on their fucking food, you asshole!” 

“Sugar? I don’t …” 

“Miguel saw you grab a bunch of sugar packets and throw them into the oven.” The manager motioned at the cook standing next to him, who nodded his head in agreement. 

“No, no, no, no,” I feigned. “I grabbed some sugar packets on my way back from the washroom, but that was just for our flight. We’re flying to Disney and I like to have extra sugar in my coffee. For flying, you know.” 

I pulled the fistful of sugar packets out of my pocket and held them out as evidence. 


“Bullshit!” The manager was really angry now. He came around from his desk and stood menacingly in front of me. 

“Why would I ever do something like that? I’m here with my family, we’re on our way to Disney … we just stopped in, like we always do, on the way to the airport.”

It was only for a fraction of a second, but I saw a glimmer of doubt flash across the manager’s eyes as he quickly looked at Miguel. I had my out. 

“I don’t have time for this shit. I’m leaving.” I turned and walked out of the office, half expecting to get jumped. When I got to our table, my wife and kids had their coats on and were ready to go. 

“Let’s rock,” I said.

“Don’t ever come back here, you asshole!” 

I, and everyone else in the restaurant, turned to look as the manager, standing a few feet from our table, addressed me. 

“What the hell!?” said my wife, looking at me, then the manager. “Dave, what’s going on?” 

“Your husband threw sugar into my oven … that’s what caused the fire!” 

My wife gasped, and the other patrons looked at me suspiciously. 

“He’s crazy. That’s crazy,” I told my wife. “He just wants to blame me cuz I took some sugar for the plane ride.” 


“Don’t you ever come back, you dick! You’re lucky I don’t call the cops!” 

So yeah. I guess the lesson to be learned is don’t ever throw sugar into a wood-burning pizza oven. 

You might get embarrassed.

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