On The One Hand


by Peter Runfola / me

Parameters: write story about staying awake all night

Many things .. most things, even ? .. in life are by design.

The program allowing these black and white pixels to form themselves into the architecture of the alphabet, for one.

For two, the gloriously designed conflagration-in-waiting housed within the plastic shell of a lighter: A remarkable device if given just the tiniest of thought : simply spin its wheel and – Voila .. appearing before your eyes : nothing less than the same magic which keeps you warm in winter. While its liquid cousin powers the vehicle which takes you to work – affording you same said wintertime warmth.

Its very name .. both the sound and the look of .. fits as a three-piece-suit .. unto itself : FIRE !

Yet … Is it a scary word simply because we’re aware of its inherent power and are intimidated by its sheer, uncontrolled rage if left alone?

To say that it is alive would not be a stretch .. it breathes .. it grows / has phases, no less – evolving from a meek ‘child’ into a raging ‘adult.’ It feeds itself .. even belches after consuming a particularly satisfying stand of trees .. or homes.

From softly hissing kisses hissing ever so softly .. to an all-consuming rage both fierce and lofty .. an uncontrolled beast which exists purely to consume and destroy.

On an only somewhat related thought : How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Simply and only : As much wood as a woodchuck could chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood.

No more. No less. Same with our friend / foe Mr. Fire. Ie as much wood as he could. More or less.

‘More or less,’ indeed. For it would be a difficult task to attempt to quantify the maelstrom of mayhem wrought by its insatiable self. And .. regarding ‘less is more,’ a first cousin of ‘more or less?’ Fugetaboutit.

He’s simply some sneaky non sequitur sincerely pleading to be taken seriously .. just once. But .. on the other hand .. there are five fingers .. additionally, one might say if bent on always feeling the need to accentuate the positive.

And .. why the fuck not? The other hand signaled in Braille .. as it was feeling a tad left out of the conversation .. and didn’t wish to miss its chance to Be Recognized !

Oh .. and this? This somewhat coherent / somewhat rambling diatribe?

Nothing other than a tangible tale of staying awake all night.

More or less.

Thank you very much.


Happy 4th .. to my family


Princes , poets , painters & princesses alike descended upon Aunt Kathy’s cottage with the intensity of a swarm of … nothing less than : the relatives which they were. Cousins and nieces and nephews and aunts and uncles and parents and grandparents alike.

A smorgasbord of shapes and sexes, likes and dislikes, personalities and personalities squared. For Papa Tom’s children were a lot of things : meek and mild wallflowers not being amongst them.

Not .. mind you .. in the slightest uncouth sort of way. For one : that would have never been tolerated. For two : it simply wasn’t in any of the ‘kid’s’ make up. Really, pretty much as simple as that. More so in a happy-go-lucky, animated – not one of his kids could utter a word without augmenting same with some type of hand gesture or another – ‘come, join the party’ – kind of way.

And .. party they could. And did. In the infectious, audacious ‘devil be damned’ teasing and loving sort of way reserved exclusively for siblings who shared a love for each other deeper than any perceived slight or joke that went just that one little step too far.

Oh .. there were moments when this theory was tested. Count on that. But .. aside from some raised voices double .. possibly treble their usual intensity and volume .. everyone always kissed and made up soon enough afterwards.

I can remember thinking .. as the ‘kid’ I was at the time .. just how special was the bond these 5 siblings shared. As I simultaneously tried to picture MFS, Sue – ‘ie My Favorite Sister’ albeit ‘only’ sister ..but.. regardless.. } and I one day taking our rightful positions at ‘the head of the table.’

But .. alas .. there would be plenty of time for such introspection at a latter date. For .. there were Italian sausages to be grilled .. big, fat rolls to be warming up on the side .. salads of mini-marshmallows with bits of cut up oranges to marvel over .. and Canadian beers to be sneaked out of the fridge in the garage by us kids ..

And .. after dinner : FIREWORKS ! And . from Grandparent to Parent to Kid to aspiring squire waiting patiently for his or her chance to spin a sparkler after all the Ooowing & Aweing of the main event.

Ahh … yes .. this is what I grew up with. What a most fortunate lad I have been.