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"A Good Fire"

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"A Good Fire"

Vince crumpled the valentine with one reddened fist. It slithered without protest or catch down primitive ceramic tiles behind the stove and disappeared in the airspace concealed by Alma's cast iron covered kettle.

"We don't miss her over-spiced cooking," his stomach rumbled in reminder. "Plain old Irish stew coming right up," he answered.

Unused to solitude, he knew he'd become another crazy old coot talking to himself and inviting parts of his abandoned body to join in the free for all.

Slouching toward the television to check for a game, he realized he'd given up for the day on clearing his desk of decades past' detritus. Manchester clipclopped down the barren wood stairs and wound his furrily tangled bulk into the overstuffed armchair with an arthritic whine and yelp.

"Hey, Vinnie," Benjamin greeted him on pushing the seldom-bolted plank door in with a shuddering screech against roughened log flooring. "Ready for the church gig?"

"Sure. I got the plaster yesterday."

"What's up with the desk?"

"I'm looking for good material to start a bonfire."

"Anniversary's next week, ain't it?"


"Doin' okay?"

"Great. The old grocery lists are sorted by color in the bottom drawer."


"Katie ate most of the dried flowers and made a nest with the rest."

Ben peered into a rusted wire cage at the green parakeet. Katherine continued pecking into her littered floor with a curious gaze briefly toward the audience.

"Up for Saint Slick's yet?"

"Let's do it." Vince grabbed his old Foster Clan cap from a hook to the door's right as he clomped by it.

"Better get our coins up front this time."

"Yeah," Ben smirked, "before he's gotta go, catch us later, his dad died."

"... or his kid's real bad sick."

"... or his dad died, again."

"... or rose," Vince smirked from the gruff side of his head.

Ben chuckled as they opened the truck doors in unison.

"Might run into The Buttercup, you know," Benjamin warned.

Vince hitched his work pants up and scowled. "I'm ready." click for enlargement

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"The way of the Cross is not easy, yet it is the tuneful, the rhythmic, the beautiful, the lovely way."
-- Edgar Cayce, Association for Research and Enlightenment

Original material c. A Country Rag, Inc. and/or Jeannette Harris, Jonesborough Tennessee, April 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014. All rights reserved.