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Acrid Blue Smoke

December 7, 2018
 Dear Pen Pal,

     You were always the daring sort of guy. Not exactly the most intelligent, but always ready to prove me wrong when I said you shouldn’t do something because you might get hurt--and then fervently deny it did.

      “So what?? What’s one finger joint when you have ten of them?” you said cockily, holding your hand up to me and displaying the loss to the middle finger of your left hand. 
     “Shit, it was nothing!”

     Yeah, I’ll bet that’s what your dad said after vaulting the 12 steps to your upstairs bedroom, in one leap, on Des Moines Street where you sat with your ears ringing, the room filled with acrid blue smoke, and your left hand minus a fingertip. I remember you calling me from the hospital and saying, 
     “Guess where I am, or You’ll never guess where I am,” something to that effect anyway.

     After exhausting the list that included, jail, prison, a detention center in New Mexico, a psychiatric facility in Saint Louis, a straitjacket, an …

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