Our neighborhood had alleys. An alley wasn’t just for garbage. A whole underground of activities transpired on the double track that split the backyards from one side of the block to the other. Bird catching, tag games, rock throwing, and, to my brother’s chagrin, match-lighting. I was the resident pyro, and Casi Italiano was a semi-innocent bystander. I had just learned the skill of setting a whole book of matches on fire and called over to CI, “Hey come look!” My myopic brother did just that, his head bent down toward my hands, squinting at me as I fumbled with the matches. My mini-inferno flamed up and set CI’s hair on fire. I started slapping at him like Curly on Mo. CI had no idea why I was accosting him until his scalp starting burning, then he started auto-slapping. We must have been a picture. Once extinguished, CI started picking at his singed hair. Finally, he flashed a look at me that I had become accustomed to; a mixture of contempt, dismay, astonishment, with a sprinkle of anger.
There you have it, THE DAY I SET CASI ITALIANO’S HEAD ON FIRE
No soy ningun bombero,