Daily Droppings: Burning the Past

Posted: 19 May, 2012 in Daily Droppings, Other
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Shuffle Says: “Fun has just Begun” Devil Makes Three Devil Makes Three

I’ve been back at the typewriter lately (thank the gods) so here comes some shit.


Two men are sitting in a yard around a fire pit. One remains silent. The other is continually showing papers from a trash bin into the fire one page at a time. He gets up and circles the pit tossing in more pages. Occasionally there is a fold he doesn’t see or a staple and a small stack of pages are tossed upon the heap. He picks up a stick from the yard and alternates between poking at the pit and fanning it with a file folder. A few minutes pass and someone walks by the fence, stops, steps up onto something unseen on the other side of the fence and looks in on the backyard. It is a police officer. He sniffs at the air and turns to the two young men.

-What’s this? Y’all cookin?

His tone is friendly enough, but Joseph, the one standing, hesitates before answering.

-Not so much officer, just burning my past.

The officer stares at him for a moment, not sure what to make of this.

-Well, just make sure you kids are safe, he scans the yard, his eyes settling on a pile of green hose laying against the corner of the back porch. He nods toward it. -That hose work?

-Yessir. Absolutely  sir. I was and eagle scout sir, wouldn’t dream of havin an unsafe fire sir.

The officer is suspicious. He wonders what level of sarcasm might be soaking the sentence. The young man’s voice hadn’t changed at all, but all those ‘sirs’… What is wrong with this kid? Still there is nothing technically out of order with the scene, save perhaps the fact that the old house looks as though it could collapse at any moment and he can’t help but feel that having any fire within a hundred yards of that drying swelling shrinking death trap of a residential antique should require a state permit and the presence of at least one fire brigade.

-I was in the boy scouts once myself, y’know? the two men say nothing. -Well, have a good evening, gentlemen.

Joseph silently steams as the man walks away. The officer’s intrusion of his little ritual has tainted his mood.

-Fuckin cops. Bunch of nosey ass…

He walks back to the fire and continues to add papers. It kills the flame so he starts moving things and fanning the embers. The other man speaks

-What the hell are you doing? he asks

-Destroying all that I am one page at a time

Patrick takes a stack of pages from the bin and reads aloud

-Sophomore philosophy. titled “What it all is comma man exclamation point”, he reads the punctuation

-With Petra Mehan. Fucking brilliant lady.

Patrick rereads through it for a bit.

-So?What is it all maannn?

Joseph tears the pages out of his hand and tosses them into the fire.

-Fucking ashes, that’s what.

-Isn’t this what you did for your senior thesis?

Joseph nods -Wasn’t thorough enough I guess. Found all this shit from freshman year and even highschool that I had been keeping in  a drawer.

-and I guess this is one way to spend a Friday afternoon. I mean it’s a hundred and two degrees out, there’s two dollar margaritas at the pub, but fuckit let’s sit around and burn your papers from… Ap European history.

-No one asked you to stay, paddy. In fact, if I recall, you were on your way out as I grabbed this bucket.

– what? and miss it when your theatrics go horridly pear shaped? hell no.

-It’s funny when you think about it. burning papers isn’t nearly as easy as you would think.

-How do you mean?

-Well, for instance, once you already have a fire it is easy to set fire one page at a time, but it takes a lot of attention to keep it going and if you throw a stack of them on there. it just won’t burn too easy.


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