Playing with Fire

FlashNano Day 4: Write a story involving fire


Growing up on a Navy Base, my childhood memories consist mainly of my dad being overseas for long periods of time and returning to glorious, tear-filled homecomings.

I also remember the Navy kids who lived near us. One kid stands out above the rest, his name was Jay.

Jay had a blonde bowl cut, freckles, wild eyes and danger coursing through his 8 year old veins. I was equal parts mesmerized and terrified of this kid.

So, when he ran up to me (kid never walked!) and asked, “Wanna go play?” I immediately said, “Yes!” while ignoring the voice in my head screaming, “No!”

I should’ve listened (shoulda, woulda, coulda).

Wild eyes flashing, “Go get your Dad’s matches!”

“M-m-m-my dad’s matches??” I stammered.

“Yes! We’re going to light my Big Wheel on fire!” Jay exclaimed. The statement, said out loud, made him literally start to jump up and down with anticipation.

“B-b-but, my dad….” I started to choke out.

Jay was locked into his plan, “GO. GET. THEM!”

With a mixture of terror and hysteria, I went on my quest to steal my dad’s matches. Even though nobody was home, I crept quietly to the table where I knew they’d be and with a tiny squeal I swiped them.

I ran outside. Jay was on his Big Wheel and ready to roll. “Follow me!”
Frenzied from my first criminal act of stealing, I ran after Jay to the corner of our base housing.

Hopping off his Big Wheel, a maniacal look in his beady little eyes, Jay grabbed the matches out of my hand and lit one like a pro. FIRE! This kid made fire! He held the flame to the Big Wheel tire… nothing happened. Frustrated, he tried again. Still nothing.

Shoving the matches at me, he says, “You try.” Not being a pro, it took me a couple of tries, but soon I had it lit. With a pleased smile I held the match to the tire. At that moment an 8 foot tall shadow slowly appeared on the wall.

Jay looked at me in shock, like “What are YOU doing?” His face took on the sweetness and innocence of a little lamb.

Match still burning in my hand, I turned around and looked up….MY DAD!

The flame died in my hand as my dad picked me up by the back of my neck, like one does a wayward puppy.

My dad spoke no words. The fury in his eyes spoke plenty as he held me out in front of him at eye level. Dropping me with a PLOP! He growled, “Get home!”

At this point, I must mention the lesson I learned that day…Boys can be real jerks.

I looked helplessly at Jay in hopes he’d tell my dad this whole scheme was his idea. But, no, that kid had struck the pose of one of those angelic cherubs gazing heavenwards with eyes of saintly innocence.


I was on my own.

My dad kicked my ass home that day, literally. His Navy booted foot air-lifted me off the ground as I ran ahead of him. Over and over again. I know kids these days don’t get spanked or air-lifted with a Navy boot, but trust me, it’s a highly effective form of learning. I never played with matches again.

After this episode, Jay and I were no longer allowed to play together. Apparently, I was a bad influence on the little cherub.

About Jody

Jody is a graphic designer, doodler, reader, lover of dogs and the Los Angeles Dodgers. She runs a popular print on demand site The Whimsy Doodle Shop and can usually be found drawing or with her nose buried in a book. Jody lives in LA with her husband and a sweet senior dachshund, Pickles.
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4 Responses to Playing with Fire

  1. Steven Baird says:

    Yes, boys can be jerks. But there’s always karma. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Joyce Woychik says:

    This brought back memories of Christopher when he was a young boy, I know he’s told you the story.

    Liked by 1 person

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