The sky was inky black and a few streetlights flickered, mimicking the stars. The humidity of the early summer muffled sound. “It smells like crushed fireflies,” I thought.
My older brother, Dan, taught me what to do. He held a jar of freshly caught fireflies. “First, you pull one out of the jar. Wait for it to flash. Then, pinch off the glowing part,” he said, his eyes flashed green in the dusk. “Put it on your finger and rub it on the sidewalk. Like this. See?” And he slowly drew part of a big ‘D’ before he had to start the process over again. Eventually, he spelled out his name, D-a-n, there on the sidewalk in front of our house. “Now, you try it.”
I was fishing out my first firefly, when our mother came out of the house. “What are you two doing,” she yelled as she saw the still glowing “Dan” on the walk. “Didn’t your Daddy teach you respect for all God’s creatures?”
"Sorry, Mama,” we said in unison. The firefly in my hand took flight, flashing into the darkening woods.
Dan piped up, “It’s all my fault.”
“I figured as much. Go to your room this instant, young man. And, you,” she said looking at me with a slowly kindling fire in her eyes. “You let the rest of those fireflies free, you hear?”
“Yes, Mama,” I said, and I walked to the edge of the woods to let our captives go. Dan was always protecting me from our parents’ anger. He was always showing me what to do.
I felt an arm around me throat. “Give me your money,” the man growled. His stubble scratched my neck.
“OK. OK. Hold on,” I gasped, reaching for my bag. I turned to face my attacker. With one hand I gave him my purse. With the other, I stabbed him in the stomach with the knife Dan had given me.
la la la... I need a drink.