Arnold, fretful that his current wardrobe exposed his fashion follies, hopped aboard a bus to the Bandaged Bowery: the shopping district for cheapskates, paupers and addicts.
His attentions turned to the moth-infested thrift store beside the condemned laundrette – a sanctum for sartorial misfits and assorted glue-huffing roadies seeking something soft to rub against. As he passed through beaded curtains into the dense ganja frowst, a gang of arson-loving hoodlums were scuttling out, having set fire to a third-hand blazer leftover from a Gestapo officer and a retired KKK strategist. Arnold, sifting through a pile of cravats, turned his attentions to the garment as it burst into flames.
“Wow, what a spectacularly dazzling coat!” he exclaimed. The shop owner – on his third mortgage, fourth wife, and fifth bag of heroin – slimed over to his customer.
“Yeah, we call ‘dat the, um… yeah, the um blazer. ‘Cause it blazes. And it’s a blazer,” he said. Arnold glanced at the puncture marks on the man’s arm and observed his deathly pallor.
“Yeah, yeah. Totally. So d’you wanna buy it? It’s the latest thing, innit? Fire chic. Yeah, all the fashion crowd are doin’ it. Settin’ their clothes on fire. So d’you wanna buy it? £750. Yeah?” he pushed. A spasm in his left arm sent his hand almost shooting into the flames.
“Well, I don’t know. Doesn’t it get rather warm in there?”
“Drink lotsa water. Heats you up in the winter. So, d’we have a sale? £750, yeah?”
“What the heck. I’ll take it. I can’t wait to see their faces at the office when I walk in with this!”
Arnold paid the scabby salesman and walked out with his new blazing blazer. At first, the flames nipped his hands and roasted his shoulders, but he soon grew accustomed to the snug inbuilt heater. Back out in the sharp winter frost, the flames provided immunity to the subzero winds: it was like walking through a sparkling hot summer afternoon. Heads turned at the sight of his coat. Some folks tried to put out the fire, but Arnold dodged their jealous assaults.
When he arrived at his office, his colleagues were divided as to the merits of this new garment, both for the long-term future of the organisation, and the short-term future of its employees.
“It’s an interesting blazer. I like the flaming effect. That’s very clever,” his friend Tim remarked. His boss, however – not taken with the coat – summoned Arnold into his office.
“Arnold, it’s great that you’re expressing yourself and everything, but do you see how this blazer might prove problematic around the office? I mean, not only might you set the building alight, but your colleagues might get jealous. I can’t have this sort of rivalry in my team. I’m sorry – the blazer has to go.”
Arnold retreated to the bathroom, wriggled from his blazer, and extinguished the garment in the sink for the sake of his job. His brief flirtation with fashion over, he went back to dressing like a tramp.