Lot fires and catholic cigarette butts

An excerpt from "The Life and Times of Sam Scoville"

by me

Sam was young when he was a kid- shooting out street lamps with rubberbands and fencing staples, and smoking Catholic cigarette butts in the nearest vacant lot on the street. Sam's old man was a Presbyterian minister, and yet he knew the schedule of mass better than the pope. He'd walk the sidewalk during and after every meeting, collecting half-spent pallmalls in his pocket and dropping lucky-penny-hail-marys in their place.

He was a sarcastic kid and his old man hadn't figured out a way to punish him that he'd pay attention too. In fact, when he was three, his parents brought him to the doctor: thought he was partially deaf or something. After all the tests, what the doctor said was this: "No, he can hear you alright, he just isn't listening."

Listen, Sam burnt that lot up in flames one day, smoking Catholic cigarette butts. It was a dry year. The fire looked like a gift-wrapping sunset till they put it out. So said someone. He didn't get to see it. He told me himself. The old man's belt came off when he took Sam to the attic. He was out of Ideas and he'd spent his life knee deep in The Sermon on the Mount so he said, "listen, this is gonna hurt me more than it's gonna hurt you." Then he whipped himself, beat his own ass with the leather, and it was all Sam could do to keep from laughing.

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