Containing fire and rain and an image of female perfection.


A paper mache woman of perfect proportions, wearing nothing more than a bathing suit, her arms loaded down with roses, was being set up across the street from the Portland Building by dozens of women. Roxana took pictures in rapid succession, while Portlandia looked on impartially. It was getting dark and the sidewalks were wet, but for the time being the rain had let up. The women had grabbed the chance and their effigy and got her to the appropriate spot before the clouds could let loose again.

Once she was erected, the women set their bathing beauty on fire, right in the middle of the downtown area where all the evening strollers and window shoppers couldn't avoid noticing what was going on. It took her a while to catch, but she finally began to burn in earnest just as the first drops of rain fell. The women cheered. In the flickering light of the flames, Portlandia even seemed to be grinning.

The women, their ranks swelled by the curious, were watching their paper mannequin being doused by the rain when they heard the first sirens. They congratulated themselves and each other and scattered.


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