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Posts Tagged ‘fire’

“No, that’s not how you do it,” I remember her saying to me.

We’d play in the sand box and I’d make my GI Joes build forts and point guns.

“This is where the barbed wire will go,” I’d say and pour some of my cherry kool aid in a hole. “That’s the blood of all the dead guys.”

“No, that’s not how you do it,” she’d say again.

“But you have to have guys on the look out.”

“No.”

“Then how do you do it?” I’d ask, since she knew everything.

“Set up a well,” she said. “Make them chop wood for fire to keep warm. Make that guy carry water,” and she gave him a bucket to carry.

“But what about the bad guys?” I protested.

“Oh, they’ll be doing the same thing.”

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I just got a new scooter. Someone at worked asked me if I could stand it up without a kick stand. I said no, because it’s two-tired. GET IT!?!?!? TOO-TIRED… TWO TIRED!

The thing is, it doesn’t work if you say it outloud.

I still laughed though.

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I found this ad for vitamins for kids.

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I remember being scared to go to church. There was a plaque with three American flags near it in the entrance hall with a list of names that said, “Brave parishioners who have died in service.”

I remember hoping it wasn’t the 9:30 a.m. service, that they 11:00 a.m. service must be the one with the real fire and brimstone.

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“What do you think you’d call that?” I ask my nephew.

“I don’t know, a horn?” he says putting together a Lincoln log cabin.  

There is a train far off that you can hear every evening when dusk sweeps in, the time before dinner is cooked, after you have the lake water showered off and the canoe is put away, the time that everyone is ten pages into the next chapter or five moves in each to the chess game, another log just got tossed onto the fire and the crickets have just started singing.  It’s then that you hear the train.

“No,” I say.  “Horn is too harsh.  It’s softer than that, more nostalgic, like a remembrance of something lost.”

He stares at me blankly through his thick kid glasses, his hair sticking straight toward the ceiling, lake water and sand still there.  “You’re right.  It’s not a horn,” he says.

“Not a horn,” I say.

“It’s a choo-choo.”

“Yeah, a choo-choo.”

And he’s back to his log cabin as the train is far off and fading.

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The year I learned to speak a foreign language, a guitarist assured me I was crazy enough to jump off a bridge.

I had passed by the guitarist often on my walk to work. He played there most days. I would see him each time, see his same outfit, his same position, half lying down against the wall, knee up and strumming away. We would both nod and I imagine he saw me, saw my ever changing button-downs and ties, friends that would come and go by my side. He never asked for money, though his guitar case was always open. There was never any sign to ask either, just a nod, an implication of respect. I always intended to bring him.

He is the one that brought it up and with sincerity that I do not see often and I answered him. He caught me in a moment. I told him that a place I love, that I loved, had just burnt to ashes and that I had watched it do so.

The first thing the insurance inspector did when he came was hand me his card. It said he was in the FCID division of his company, SMIF, which was a smaller subsidiary of the mother company CHANNEL. This was all marked for me there on the card. He never asked how the fire started, nor for any proof of our claim, he stayed a while, inspecting the ashes, filled some test tubes.

He jumped up and down on the ash to see it rise. “Protocol,” he said.

The inspector did ask me, however, what I did for a living. I had no acronyms. I told him I was a student because I had no other answer.

“What school?” the inspector asked me.

“I’m not in school,” I said.

“Student of life then, huh?”

“Student of discount plane tickets.”

We tried to hold a vigil for the place before all the ruins were cleaned up. We wanted to do it fast, like a funeral, soon after the body dies, we said. It was a Tuesday night and only half of us could come. It was cold that night and our candles were blown out easily. We were all still there, but had no place around us. It ended quickly and we all grabbed handfuls of ash and walked over to the river. I forget who said something and we all tossed our ash off the bridge and mostly the wind took it over to the bank, but some we saw trickle down and rest just atop the water and then it was carried down stream, eventually falling in.

It was that night that the guitarist saw me sulking on my way home and that night that I told him.

He asked me why we had thrown it in the river.

“Protocol,” I said. “The idea of the thing.”

He told me I had to go in after it, that the river is taking it somewhere.

“I’m not crazy enough to jump off a bridge,” I said.

He said, “You’re crazy enough to follow an idea.”

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