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      "My Fling"


childhood story) I was about 7 or 8 years old when my fascination with matches and fire took over my life and put everyone else’s on the rotisserie wheel. We all lived up in apartment 22 in the South Bronx where my fling began. I used to hear so many fire trucks sirens day and night that I would go out onto to the fire escape to see the trucks run right through my block. I use to hear those trucks so much that I became a firefighter in my room. It would drive my parents crazy when they heard me go out on a call to turn off another blaze, especially when I would start making up my own sirens with a tube of the paper toilet.              At first it was just looking out the window and some of the blazes and smoke that would set off a parade all over the streets and I would ask pop to take me outside. He would always say “cut it out, that’s not a game outside”. I heard him, so I had to do my own investigation with a book of matches that I found on the couch in the living room. At that time we had the best of everything. The couches in our living room were so expensive that my mom and pop kept plastic over them to keep them fresh and new forever.             Once I started playing around with the matches it was just the way the flame use to change colors right in front of my very eyes, wow. I loved it, the color blue, and kind of red and yellow sparkling sometimes. Mom and pop were so busy in and out of the house sometimes I thought that if I set fire to something, anything in the building that I might get more attention that I really wanted so we could go out and do more of my things. I was a middle child you see and my parents being heavy drinkers and smokers so I thought that our apartment was a perfect place for a barbecue. All I need are my trustee matches that give me the strength of Spiderman or like the flaming guy in the Fantastic Four.               I always started my flames tiny in my room or in the closet and got much bigger in the hallway and out on the fire escape. I first, like I said, started lighting matches to gaze at the flames but it got worse quick. I lit up small pieces of papers and cardboard that would actually burn for a while and I always made sure that I was close to my big glass of water incase I had to put it out. There would often be a blue heavy smoke wherever I did it and the smell would stay forever. Let me remind you, that on top of being a super, super, hero I was also a scientist conducting experiments in burning stuff. I would take into account the actual smell of the burn, the light of the flame, and count all the colors on the things burning.            Shortly into my fire fighting and experiments I decided to expand my studies by trying out some new material to burn, which was my sister Sonia’s hair. Sonia is about 2 years older than me and always is hugging dad and dad carrying her around all the time. Sonia was sleeping on those new couches with plastic all over them and we even had panel on the walls to keep them new too. Her long straight hair was hanging right over the very end of the couch. I approach more like one of the G I Joes and got up to the couch and saw her full hair dribbling over the end. I think mom and pop were in the room doing something so I went ahead with my mission. I pulled out the matches from my left pocket and on my back and had nothing but hair in front me. I look at that big fat long black hair and just thought, “How will these hairs burn in front of me?” I stroked my match and didn’t hesitate one second. I was pretty impressed with the results. The hair had a quick melting effect and shriveled without even my match touching it. I even enjoyed the smell that the hair releases into the air around me. I burnt a tiny bit before sis woke up and was curious as to what the hell I’ve been doing around her. After sis getting a whiff of the air around her, seeing matches in my hand and for some reason just a bit of her black hair stuck on the plastic of the couch, I think gave me away. I swear she leaned back on one foot and gave me a Bruce Lee kick to the chest that I caught an asthma attack and had trouble breathing. Mom and pop came running out of the always closed bedroom door and pop yelled “Que pasa aqui!” he was in his underwear. I really couldn’t talk because of my asthma and sis was yelling that I set her hair on fire when she was sleeping. Pop look like he was about pummel me into the ground like the Hulk but mom ran out and saw me having trouble breathing. Mom got scared and called 911, despite I had trouble breathing I could hear the sirens coming which was cool. I got a great ride on a nice bus with a bed, lights and sirens. Sis was crying in dad’s arms and mom and pop look like they were talking about whom they should be mad at or who their worried about, I think. On getting off the emergency bus and into the hospital a doctor in a white long coat put a see through mask on my face and told me to breath easy. So I did of course, I always do what I’m told to do by men in tall white coats with pointy things in their pockets.                    There I was in the white bright room by myself and I could hear everyone behind the rolling curtain in front of me talking. My super clear mask with the long hose was connected to a big green tank that I actual seen on firefighter’s backs while they were on a job. The doctor, mom and pop looked at me like if I were crazy and a smile on there face when I tried to walk out of the little room with my back pack over the green tank and said “let’s go turn out the fire”. I thought for some reason I could take it home with me. I was breathing easy by then but I got a slap from the hardest hand in the world for almost setting sis head on fire and went back home crying in mom arms. Sis was feeling sorry for me and almost gave me a hug at home just before we both went to bed in our sky blue room.             I felt good the next morning and my asthma went away. Sis even gave me a hug and dad said “how you feeling son?” “Good Pop” I said and just ran to the bathroom to get ready for the day. Mami was making my favorite yellow hot oatmeal that you put sugar and milk on. That day my grandmother was taking care of mom, and me pop, and sis went out shopping or something. That day I was through with little burns and I wanted to do a Godzilla volcano fire so I went in the bathroom, and while Grandma was watching Novellas. I started unraveling a roll of toilet paper in the lake (toilet). I even took that one roll and filled up the Grand Canyon (bathtub) with the pink super soft paper. With my trustee matches hidden in my right sneaker I had the powers of Batman. I set a blaze the planet of Nebula in the toilet and in the shower put the hot lava on. The flame was huge twice my size, the heat was like the hottest day out in the sun for hours and my skin boils over. The smoke made me cough loud and I put a small towel over my mouth and nose so I could keep my eyes open. I felt I was on my way to a new break through, I could feel it. Grandma started pounding on the door and yelling, “I need to use the bathroom, get out!” I said as my blaze was going “Grandma I’m on the toilet”. I started right away turning off my blazes with streaming water from the shower and my handy cups of water. Grandma Started yelling out, “I smell something burning, get out now!” I was to busy fighting my fire to pay attention to grandma until she said the words of death “wait for your fucking father to get home”. “OH SHIT”, I thought. I fought that fire with everything I had and even had some of my super heroes to help me. We got all of it done and cleaned up all the evidence of the fire in the lake and in the Canyon. I really think mom would have been proud of me with the cleaning job I did.             I opened the door to the bathroom and a light puff of smoke went over grandma’s head that she didn’t see. I looked at Grandma and said, “OK I’m done”. Grandma said looking down at me, “wait till your father gets home”. That was pretty bad to think about but what happen was worst. I missed one little thing in the early studies of fire. I always took into account the colors blue, yellow, and red. The smells paper was OK but I liked plastics better. Sis hair was amazing cause without a touch of the flame the hair would disappear. I didn’t know the toilet seat was burning hot when grandma went in. I think its called conduction or convection. All I heard after grandma went in was the loudest and biggest AHHHH conyo, puneta, tuto bien aqui. I mean, how I could know that the heat on the toilet seat was going to stay around after I turned everything off so good. Grandma ran out of the bathroom with her pajama dress thing up to her belly button and screaming, “look what you did to my ass! “Wait till your fucking father gets home”. I had taken evasive maneuver even before grandma came out the bathroom and went into my control center way on top of a closet that I had full view of everything in the house and I had my trustee matches if I needed light. I felt safe in my cave where dad could not find me and grandma just gave up looking for me. But she knew I was somewhere in the house and screaming over and over the same thing about papi coming home soon. I wish I had bought some food with me because I’m getting hungry.            I was in position looking out and I heard the front door open and slam. Grandma didn’t waste any time, she ran right up to dad pulled up her dress thing and said to pop, “look at what your fucking son did to me, and he set the toilet on fire. It’s the first time I saw grandmas butt and she had a big red circle around it just like the toilet seat. It was red and pink with bumps on it. It was funny at first but I knew the hands of steel were coming to get me. All I kept saying to myself is “where’s mom at”. Dad started yelling “Tuto (my kid name), Tuto get out here now dam it! I couldn’t move pop was looking for me like inspector gadget with sees through glasses. He found me so fast and took off his belt and said “you did that to grandma! You did that to grandma!” I couldn’t say a thing because I started crying from the time pop found me and pulled me down. I was standing and on the first hit with the belt I fell down to the ground and cried harder. To be honest I did that on purpose so dad might stop with the belt but Pop hit me on my butt and side of the legs so I guess to get better shots at me he held me up with one hand and whipped me with the other. Grandma went back inside the room and all the sudden the front door opened and mami came in and I ran to mom and hug her leg. Mom said to pop “Que pasa!” and pop said, “Go look at my mother’s ass”. Funny thing mom never talked about grandma’s burnt butt. All she did was hold me until I stopped crying and put me in bed.            Mom and Dad talked to me the next day about all the dangers and harms fire could do but they didn’t know who they were talking to because I’m the “Heat Miser” so don’t worry. Time passed and we all went on to visit our family in Puerto Rico, we had a house over there. My sister and I would hang out together a lot over there because all my cousins spoke no English and sometimes they would pick on me and even my sister. We were all around the same age and more boys than girls. My sis wouldn’t take much from any of them and would fight if they touched her or me the wrong way. They had a clubhouse just behind their house and every now and again they would let us in and we would eat and play around all day. They had a mattress on the ground and not much else. It was cool hanging inside there but ever time sis and me were hanging around them they would always try to take things away from us. Like our money, they would always ask us for anything around our neck or wrist, my favorite super toys and the girls would always take things that were in sis hair that look cool.  Sis and I got tired of that so we stopped hanging around them or inside that cheap hut. My sister got into a fight with one of the boys there and was hit on her face. She never cried the whole day and didn’t tell anyone about what happened. Sis had scratches around her elbows and chest and told mom and pop that she fell in the woods back there. I heard all the boys and girls talking about what had happened and I was mad. I really felt bad for Sonia that day. Sis and I met up later outside in the back looking at the hut and I told sis “wait for me here”. I walked over to woody clubhouse and pulled out my trustee matches that could make the Wonder Twin power activate and I went inside the hut and set the mattress on fire. I ran out that fire went as high as ever seen it. Everyone one came running from all directions and some guys even went inside to look for something. They ran with buckets of water over and over again to turn off my biggest blaze ever. Mom came and hugged us both and didn’t let us go for anything and Sis and me smiled at each other even when we went to bed but never really spoke about my beautiful biggest flame ever. Mom and Pop didn’t say a word to me so I thought they must be proud of me. I really thought that my science was big. We all took that giant plane back home and the station wagon back home to the Bronx.            My last blaze that I remember we were home and mom was watching her Novellas (Spanish soap operas) and I was lying behind her in bed. Mom sometimes would tell me to stay there with her and I would. Mom was smoking another one of those burning sticks and I had the ashtray right next to me behind her. The funniest thing happened. One of those burning sticks was still blowing white smoke. Mom had one of these dolls up on the panel of the bed that she calls “La Munecas”. I heard every now and again that they were friendly and spiritual and for good luck. I looked up at the doll and looked right into her face and she spoke to me. She said, “Give me a puff of the stick”. So I did. I gave it to her the wrong way and she blew up like a Christmas tree. Her dress and hair were fully flaming. Mom grabbed me and held me tight and started screaming “Fito, Fito, and Fuego”. Pop burst into the room just like one of the x-men, like wolverine and he saw the doll on fire and picked it up with his bare hand and rushes her to the bathroom and turned on the shower to turn off her attitude, I think. I saw so much white smoke coming out over my pops head when he came out the bathroom. Pop was looking at me breathing hard and looking now like an eight arm monster. Mom held onto me tighter and was saying some thing in Spanish that I really didn’t understand because I was scared looking at pop. But I think mom told dad that it was her fault with the burning of La Muneca, dad didn’t hit me. All he did was showed me his hand and arm and it was black and bright red with bumps and skin missing. Pop just held it there and said look. I started crying for hurting pop and didn’t know that was going to happen. Dad left to the Hospital and mom took over the beating duties. She gave me a half of a slap and a little whip with a small cheap belt, but I cried and mom stopped.             Mom put us all to bed and I didn’t even see pop or hear him while I stayed up. Sonia sleeps right next to me in her bed and Maria of the Angels sleeps in mom and pops room. I started crying that I hurt pop and I really didn’t like my finding this time. As I was falling asleep and dad came into the room and I had my eyes half closed. He pick me up with his hand that had a big bandage on it and by my arms took me to the bathroom and said to me turn off that light now, then we went to the kitchen and pop said the same thing, so I did. After all the lights were turned off even in the living room and fish tank I couldn’t see and was scared. But pop lit up a candle between us and we sat at the eating table and pop started telling me what we are going to do tomorrow. He said that he was going to take me to the Hospital to go look at the burnt people from head to toe. I started crying right away and pop tells me to go over to him and I climbed up on his lap and he tells me “son you cannot play with fire anymore and look at what you did to your father son. I said, “I’m sorry Pop, I didn’t do it pop, it was the doll, please don’t take me to see the burnt people pop, I’m sorry”. Pop stuttered and “said tomorrow we are going to go see the burnt people so you’ll see what could happen to people if they get burned from head to toe”. Pop turned on the living room light and put me on the ground and said, “Go to bed!” I just ran to mom’s bed and went behind her and got comfortable. She was sleeping deep because she snored just like chimney but I really loved the sound. I went to bed and I dreamed a lot about the burnt people from head to toe, they were like zombies to me. When I woke pop wasn’t even on the other side me. Mom wasn’t even in bed. I was feeling kind of good and waiting for mom to come back into the room. Mom came in and gave me my morning kiss and said “como esta mi hijo?” I said to mom “where’s pop at?” Mom said “daddy’s at work baby but don’t forget that if you play with fire papi is going to take you to the burnt people”. Well that was it for me my fling with fire. I went brushed my teeth and ate breakfast, my favorite, with sis, I even kiss moms little angel. I thought that morning that the burnt people were just a little too much for me to go see. I guess I could get other super powers and do other science things like what I saw on channel thirteen it was called, I think, the t h e o r y of r e l a t i v i t y, so when mom started watching her game shows I went to the refrigerator and took out a dozen of moms eggs and started dropping them out the window one by one and I wore my Green Lantern ring to shield me from the splat


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