So the fire department visited me this week.

After checking out the City of Springfield Fire website, (see what an earnest citizen I am?) I mistakenly believed I was allowed to burn leaves, while yielding a water source, restraining said leaves to a microscopically small two-by-three square foot space, and of course, constantly supervising all potentially property-damaging activity. It turns out I was wrong.

With a gigantic pile of leaves behind my back, and the cheap and cracked, piece of shit hose full of ninety degree angles at my feet, I carefully monitored the very small pile of leaves allowed to burn in the very small two-by-three square foot space of dirt.

They smoked like the devil because I kept putting out any embers causing the fire to burn past its boundaries. I was being a good citizen.

At some point, I heard an extremely loud fire truck pass on its way to a fire. At another point, I failed to noticed a fire truck park in front of my house. I was consumed with my responsibility of being a good tender of a very small fire. My daughter announced the arrival of the firemen and I let them in the fenced-in back yard, while barely turning my back on my smoldering responsibility. They were kind. I was embarrassed.

They handed me a piece of paper about safe fire practices. I explained the misunderstanding and wished I’d put my tooth in for the day. Sometimes it’s enough to feel as if people suspect you of being illiterate. Being illiterate and missing a tooth is too much.


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