It was Thursday night in Halfmoon, New York, and 43-year-old Michael Orchard stood before a neighbourhood that had been set ablaze.
Every single home, falling in flames.
He did not panic. He did not hesitate.
Michael Orchard had a job to do.
He ran door-to-door to warn the people, only to be bafflingly dismissed. He wondered why, he wondered what had come of his town, but there was no time for questions, because Michael Orchard had a job to do.
Suddenly, Michael heard a deafening wail amidst the roar of the fire.
It was his neighbour’s house, crumbling to rubble and burning to ash; and it was a puppy, lost in the depths of its falling kingdom. As its cries grew stronger, so too did they grow weaker. The smoke was suffocating all hope, but Michael Orchard had a job to do.
He fought through the flames, and found the young pup. It was scared. It didn’t want to go with him. ‘Don’t worry,’ Michael said. ‘I’m going to save you,’ he said.
As he embraced the petrified pet, he realised his exit route was blocked. It didn’t matter.
He didn’t stumble, he didn’t lose a beat. The walls were disintegrating around him. He dodged every falling treasure, every flaming memory. He felt hurt. He felt burnt. He did not feel scared.
By the time he made it out, the dog cradled in his arms, the police had arrived.
They ran towards each other.
He’d done it! He saved the dog from the fire!
Michael Orchard had done the job he had to do!
Of course, there was no fire. There was never any fire. Michael Orchard was mistaken, for he was tripping on a smooth blend of cough syrup and LSD.
Orchard was, of course, detained. He had reportedly been banging on doors yelling about a non-existent fire, before driving his black BMW Sedan through a fence, breaking into the back door of his neighbour’s home, and kidnapping their dog.
He was charged with third degree criminal mischief and second degree burglary, and placed in county jail with a bail of $15,000.
“He drove over yards and through the fence. At no point was he on the roadway. And no illegal substances were found in his possession,” said Trooper Mark Cepiel.
Michael got to feel like a hero, the neighbours got a free new door, the dog was okay, and they all lived happily ever after!