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BOTD 11/6/16 "If You Play With Fire You Get Burned . . . Or Do You?" An 18Smacked Production

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David M. Katz

An 18 Smacked Production

One day after school, three twelve year-old boys; Wayne, Sam and Rob all met at the old farmer’s shack just down the hill from their school. This was the first time that Sam and Rob had played with Wayne, after school.

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At Hilltop School, Wayne was in Miss Kay’s classroom, while best friends Rob and Sam were in Mrs. Daugherty’s sixth grade class. While Wayne and Sam were busy downstairs, Rob was enthralled by looking through the piles of newspapers and magazines upstairs, in one of the bedrooms. Some of these were more than 50 years old, and Rob was fascinated by the ancient headlines and stories. Suddenly, Rob was shocked to hear his two classmates yell, “I can’t get the flames out! Let’s get out of here! Rob- we gotta get outta here!!”

Rob raced downstairs and just got out of the shack as he turned around to see it quickly consumed by the flames. Hiding out in the woods across the street, Sam and Rob watched the Fire Department put out the flames that had demolished the old wooden structure. (Wayne had disappeared when they fled the shack.) Sam told Rob that Wayne brought the books of matches and dared him to light them. The magazines and newspapers inside, plus the wood of the old building, were all so dried out that they acted as tinder. Rob realized that he was extremely lucky to get out of there just when he did; one more minute, and he would probably have been trapped from being able to get out on his own!

The two boys hid out for about three hours when they finally decided to “face the music.” Rounding the corner of Sam’s house, the two were surprised to find a police car in the driveway. In the house, Sam's and Rob's parents were seated at the table with several policemen. In the living room, Rob went over his story multiple times with the police officers. Over and over, Rob said he had no idea that anyone had any matches or was lighting them downstairs and he definitely had not touched a single match the entire time they were there.

Sam, on the other hand, had been in the shack’s kitchen, lighting matches, blowing them out and then tossing the burnt remains on the piles of papers on the table. Hot embers from the matches must have lit the flames! As for Wayne, the policeman said that this was not his family’s first encounter with the police; he and his family were “well known” to the Police Department.

The question is, should Rob and Sam get the same punishment from their parents based on “guilt by association,” or, should consideration be given to the different roles they played?

Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.

David M. Katz

The boys are going to be lucky if a super deluxe spanking is all they get, and they will be getting it regardless of who did what. Trespassing, breaking and entering, arson, staying out past curfew, let me count the crimes.

Depending on how far the police take this I may be looking at the need to hire an attorney.

Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.


K Club. Even if Rob wasn't a participant in playing with matches, he still was complicit in breaking and entering. That and the curfew violation are more than enough to make him "toast" too.

Pi Beta

RIP 9 Jan 47 - 17 June 17
I'm assuming that the shack was derelict and wouldn't class entering it as anything beyond possible trespass. Trespass here is a crime only if damage is done which clearly was done.

Rob is lucky to have got out alive and uninjured, though clearly somewhat shocked - the other two could have been up for a manslaughter (UK) charge.

Though I'm sure that both Rob and Sam know they shouldn't have been where they were, that is Rob's only "offence" whereas what Sam was doing was potentially (and actually) dangerous and life threatening.

Assuming that the story that Rob is telling is corroborated by Sam, in my book his punishment would be the lesser by some degrees.


At the moment it seems to me that Sam is the most guilty and deserving of a licking since he was actually playing with matches that may have started the fire (assuming that is how the fire actually started).

Wayne's role in the story is mysterious since all he is reported to have done is supply the matches and the dare.  And he's well-acquainted with the police.  Is it possible that Wayne actually set the fire and used the supplied matches and the dare to cover for his own actions?  What should be done to Wayne would seem to depend on exactly what role he played in the event.

In any case it sounds like Rob is the least guilty since he was busy reading old newspapers when the fire started.  It seems he deserves a lesser punishment.  Maybe he gets a spanking for being where he wasn't supposed to be, but maybe we don't have to set his butt on fire.


Ditto Katz ........

Hugs kal


Editor Extraordinaire
I'm going with Pi's answer on this one. Punishment should reflect the degree of guilt.



Funny how the entire police force turns up for something pretty trivial - a fire in a long abandoned shack. They evidently have no real crimes to deal with.

Not sure how they knew where to go to find Ron & Sam unless they homed in on Wayne and he gave them up.

Yes, they are guilty of various things - but with Ron much less guilty - and yet it looks as if it is all getting blown way out of proportion.


Stevie's attitude towards children playing with fire can be summed up here...

Playing With Fire - Part 1

He is very afraid that his reaction to this situation would not be rational and he'd probably overreact so he's not going to provide any other answer...



I can now tell how this played out in RL…. I ("Rob" in this) was usually very well behaved, but there were times when I could be very mischievous. This was loosely based on my own childhood events, though it actually took place in my fifth grade of school. It was two weeks prior to my birthday, however. Sam (his real name was Steve) was my closest friend and we had been getting in trouble together since were about three; this was a doozie, however!

To explain things a bit more clearly; getting into the shack involved nothing more than pushing a creaky door open, as I recall. The handle had disappeared long ago. It was scheduled to be demolished at the time of the fire; houses were to be built on the lot.
Ivor- you are correct about it being funny about how many police responded to this abandoned shack fire. There were also four fire engines at the fire, too! I grew up in a very sleepy “bedroom community” and there was typically very little for police or fire folks to do. (For our friends over the pond who might not be familiar with the phrase “bedroom community” it means a suburb of a large city where folks primarily go to raise families and spend their non-working hours doing things other than shopping and working.) They homed in on us because we were seen running from the shack by some kids from our school when it was on fire. So, the police must have gotten a “tip” from one of them. The owner of the shack & property said that he was not pressing any sort of charges at all, inasmuch as it was all scheduled for demolition anyhow. He was left feeling as though we’d done a favor by removing an “attractive nuisance.” So, yes, he did feel that things were being taken out of proportion here. My friend and I felt like we were the criminals of the century for what we had done!

Stevie- I am now very leery of fire myself! I cannot sit in a movie theater or auditorium without knowing the exits, etc. In fact, I cannot sit in a meeting unless I am the closest to the door. So, I fully empathize with any fear of fire that you now have!

Fortunately for Steve and I, my family was friends with the Town Counsel; he was essentially, the attorney for the Town we lived in. He assured my dad that he would “take care of things” and that there was absolutely no need to hire an attorney. (To answer an issue that DMK raised.) When we went to the Police Station a few days later to see the Juvenile Sergeant, we just got a good telling off.

But, it was a very embarrassing call my dad had to make to the attorney, in order to ask for his intervention in this. So, my dad made sure his belt expressed that indelicacy to my bottom.
Wayne had been lighting matches at the scene with Steve (Sam) and he was never seen again; the police held him over for Juvenile Court and he went to Reform School (Steve and my mom heard that from the Police Sergeant). I guess his family moved away at some point after that, but they were never seen again, either.

My dad took the view that it was at least guilt by association, and I was given the belt that I think I still feel. It was horrible. I remember sitting in school on Monday (the incident took place on a Friday), and still not sitting comfortably. The worst part of it all was that I had a crush on my teacher. But, my parents (my dad) was never shy about telling the teacher that if there were ever any trouble from me, to give him a call, and he would spank the daylights out of me. (My state never allowed CP by the schools.)When we walked into school on Monday, the teacher told me, “I can’t believe you were involved in that fire! I am so ashamed of you!” And, when I was squirming in my chair in class, and the teacher asked if I needed to see the Principal so he could have me sit up straight and not shift around so much, she knew precisely why I was having trouble sitting, and my lil’ heart was broken!

I fared better than my pal, Steve (Sam). His dad used his belt on him the night of the fire, (since we were both grounded through Sunday, we were unable to compare damage) and then, his mom applied her hairbrush on his bare butt after we came home from the Police Station (I think that was about Wed.) that week following the fire. (My mom never spanked me or my brother; she was simply a “Go to your room, and wait until I tell your father….” ) I had been spanked before by Steve’s mom and her hairbrush and that thing was horrible! So, Steve was mighty sore after his mom expressed her displeasure on his butt, too.

Finally, I did mention that this took place two weeks before my birthday. Well, that got cancelled that year. I did not get any presents and had no party that year and no one (except Steve) said, “Happy birthday” to me that day.

From that time on until after I graduated H.S., my mom made a point of telling me about us being known “by the company we keep,” and how I needed to be ever vigilant about that.

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