Friday, May 24, 2013

The Cleansing Flames of Confession

I'm gonna share something with you, but you've got to swear to keep it to yourself! I think the statute of limitations is probably up for this stuff, but I'm not exactly sure. I don't want to go to prison at 57 years old (don't think I'd survive with my cute little tushy), so I'm counting on you to keep your lips sealed...

When I was a little kid I was a pyromaniac! I know what you're thinking, but please hear me out. At around 8 years old when my family lived on Jennings Avenue, there was a small field next to our house, on the other side of the driveway. One day I was smoking a cigarette in that field, along with Peter Junker (pronounced Yunker) who was a few years older than me. The abandoned field was fairly over grown with a few small trees, tall weeds, and such. It was in the summer and was very dry. I guess we didn't put our smokes out properly, and an hour later the field was up in flames!

I don't know who called the fire in, but my mother and I watched the big red trucks as they pulled in. One of the firemen approached us, asking if we knew anything about how this fire was started. Actually, they were asking mom, who honestly said she had no idea. I certainly didn't say I knew EXACTLY how the fire started, they put it out, and left. I never confessed to it, and I'm sure no one remembers that fire by now.

A few years later we had moved to Moses Lane. I was about 10 or 11. We lived on a long driveway, shared with two other houses. One day I was out exploring in the neighborhood with... a future facebook friend, who shall remain nameless, lest he also face charges. At the very end of the driveway is where Lynn Klemuk (pronounced Klemuk) and her single mother lived.

They had an old garage which they never used. Along with my co-pyro, I snuck into the garage one summer's day to see what we could see. It was very dark in their, but early on, we came upon some candles, and found some way to light them. As we rifled through stuff, we came upon a stack of old Playboys! We immediately sat down and began "reading the articles" as they say. For a couple pre-pubescent teens, this was a real treat!

As we sat there gawking, we suddenly heard the sound of a car coming up the driveway. Not wanting to be caught, and feeling embarrassed and ashamed of ourselves we made a hasty exit out the back door. Later that night, I heard firetrucks once again. There was in fact, lots of noise and flashing lights going on in our driveway. The whole family threw on some clothes and went outside to see what was going on. The Klemuk's garage was on fire! Must have been the candles we were burning earlier.

This time things seemed a lot more serious than my other guffaw a few years back. In fact, I recall a fireman asking my mother if any of her children could have been involved in starting the fire. She reacted strongly to this querry, acting like instead it was a suggestion. She told him ALL her kids had been home and in bed when this fire started, which was true. She went on to tell him that she wasn't pleased to be asked such questions. It's a good thing it went on no further.

So now you know about my secretive criminal past. I was an evil kid, but those days are long behind me. Now I'm an upstanding citizen in my community! Where fire is concerned, I'm much more aware and careful than I was back then.

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