The gas jets are off. I went out, then down into the bowels of the beast. The gas jets have been turned off and locked in place. One thing we don't need is for the half acre to be on fire, then threatening the houses around. I sat there and cried.
The gas jets would be on if I had a normal person's follow through. The whole thing of "On! Off! Off! Off!" is a personal matter, worth crying over, really. I put my hand to the knob. Unlock it, and one twist of the knob would spark it into life. Two twists would be a moderate stream. Three twists would be almost there. Four twists would either be life or suicide. What do I know about gas?
I rested my hand on the knob. I took my hand off. I walked through the structure, down the stairs to the steel balls, looked at the coldness below them and felt the steel. Freezing. I clunked one and it sounded full. Four twists of the knob would heat them, assuming the pilot light's on. It could be death, seriously. If this hole filled up with gas ... then let's say I stumbled on the stairs and broke a leg ... then let's say I stumbled again and hit my head and passed out ... the gas would take my life. It'd be a disaster. I must not turn the knob. Gas jets must stay off! Off! Off!
But still, could I do it? I want there to be some ceremony to it. I need there to be some official words of inauguration. To mark the historic occasion. That's why I must be above ground, not under. Being under the ground is for people like Cousin Roto. He will turn the knob. He will respond to my call, "Gas jets on!," just as he responded to my command, "Gas jets off! Off! Off!"