IT was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed. With
the brass nozzle in his fists, with this great python spitting its venomous kerosene upon
the world, the blood pounded in his head, and his hands were the hands of some amazing
conductor playing all the symphonies of blazing and burning to bring down the tatters and
charcoal ruins of history. With his symbolic helmet numbered 451 on
5 his stolid head, and his eyes all orange flame with the thought of what came next, he
flicked the igniter and the house jumped up in a gorging fire that burned the evening sky
red and yellow and black. He strode in a swarm of fireflies. He wanted above all, like the
old joke, to shove a marshmallow on a stick in the furnace, while the flapping
pigeon-winged books died on the porch and lawn of the house. While the books went up in
sparkling whirls and blew away on a wind turned dark with burning.
10 Montag grinned the fierce grin of all men singed and driven back by flame. He knew that
when he returned to the firehouse, he might wink at himself, a minstrel man, burnt-corked,
in the mirror. Later, going to sleep, he would feel the fiery smile still gripped by his
face muscles, in the dark. It never went away, that. smile, it never ever went away, as
long as he remembered.