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Like I Was Never There 2010

Janet Kuypers
(poetry converted to prose)

    so I decided to sneak off one night to go camping with Sam and Vern. we all rolled out our sleeping bags out on the far side of a field at night. Sam had brought a hurricane lamp, but he didn’t have any oil for it, so him and Vern went down the street, broke into a garage there, got a can of lawn mower gasoline... because, you know, it makes perfect sense to use gasoline in your oil lamp. but anyway, in the shadows, by a street in the dark, they planned to fill the hurricane lamp with gas, but in the shadows, they couldn’t see what they were doing. so Sam said that he needed more light so he cold see, to fill the oil lamp with gas, so Vern decided to pull out his lighter. (Vern, the bright one, was going to light the way, I suppose.) and Vern lit his lighter, but there still wasn’t enough light.
    keep in mind that they were hiding in bushes, by a street with a lamp post. what to do, what to do.
    Sam asked Vern to move the lighter closer. I mean, these two flunked their eay through a couple of years of school, and I know I was young but I knew this wasn’t a good idea so I started to back away. after I turned around Vern apparently got the lighter too close. I was already twenty feet away when I felt the heat and saw an orange glow from the fire ball. I started to run, but I was running I looked back and saw two fireballs in the air: one was the lantern and the other the gas can, and I swear to God, the lantern crashed down on the street and set the entire street on fire. the gas can landed uphill from the lantern, pouring gasoline down the street so flames then ran up to the gas can, further spreading the street fire.
    I grabbed my sleeping bag and ran. I heard the sirens and had to act like I was never there.




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Chicago poet Janet Kuypers
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