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Friday, May 18, 2012

Spudly and the fire


7th February 2012
Dear Cassi,

I do not imagine I have ever told you of the fellow who I once called friend that had the nickname Potato Head. Potato was an odd one and still was one of my closest companions for twelve years of my life. I do recall his Spudly face looking to me like a lump of clay when I first met him. Then at the time all faces were as clay to me and I could only recognize people by voice.
   
Well, one of Potato’s early vices was his love for fire. I do recall one incident when I had found a pack of matches discarded for being wet that he had then torn up trying to light every one. Let me remind you that as I lived in abuse at home most of those folks who called themselves my friends were not the most considerate of people.
   
One day Potato got his hands on a lighter and took it to school. This was in the fifth grade and I was eleven. He took his lighter into the field with some other children and lit a paper bag on fire. I stomped it out and he insisted that he would simply light it again. I walked away having no way of stopping him and the three other boys he was with at the time.
   
The fire he lit fed off dry pine needles and grew to the size of a small car. I permitted myself no more than a glance back at it as I moved off. I could still see that the fire was menacing in nature.
   
I recall the children calling out “fire, fire!” and the teachers running to put it out. Then we were all called to the office and Potato told them the whole story. I was happy to be exonerated of blame but why someone would light such a fire is still beyond my reckoning.

Stay safe, Cassi




Richard Leland Neal

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