The Big Brick Review - Little Bricks

Building on the narrative of our brick at a time.

Come On Billy, Light My Fire

by Geoffrey Neil

I QUIT SMOKING at 11. It was after a summer of mischief that fell just shy of hellraising. My best friend, Billy, was a grade ahead of me and the pack of Marlboros and Zippo he flaunted were about all I knew of his middle school education.

“Can I bum a smoke, dude?” I’d say, having already inhaled the vernacular for 7th grade survival.

One night, after sneaking out of Billy’s house and dodging the motion-sensor floodlights, we took our drags on the loading dock at the nearby elementary school. Billy flicked his butt into a dumpster that reeked of cafeteria.

At first, the only thing that caught fire was a devious idea. He knelt and held his Zippo to a cardboard box. Then two more. Within minutes, flames danced above the rim of the dumpster. Sirens howled as we booked to his house.

While I pulled the bedsheet to my chin, I vowed, “No more smoke, no more fire.”

Geoffrey Neil is an English teacher near Rochester, NY. His journalism has appeared in the Democrat and Chronicle, Washington City Paper, and Rochester's City Newspaper. This is his first literary publication.

"Come On Billy, Light My Fire" photo © 2015 Gregory Gerard


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