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By 1:52 PM , , ,

Originally uploaded by looseid

If you only get one chance to make a first impression, this little flashlight blew it.

It's sturdy, compact and reliable, and the gunmetal finish is a particularly handsome touch. And I'm going to have to get rid of it once and for all.

It was left behind by the sonofabitch who ripped out the car stereo from my Jeep Cherokee seven years ago. Unlike the garden claw alongside the deep and impressive clawmarks that a different sonofabitch left behind in my Tracker when he ripped out my stereo back in Providence, this flashlight is less diabolical looking and more practical, so I kept it, thinking I was trading up in crime scene paraphernalia.

But this morning, in a breath of a millisecond as I reached for the flashlight, a short film of an event I never actually witnessed played vividly in rapid succession through my head.

...pitch black street, a faceless thief, impact on the window, blurry hand motions, passenger door whipping open, broken safety glass, torn up dashboard, frayed wires, mad scurry into the night and my darling Jeep abandoned in complete disarray...

Apparently I've sat through this screening before because I knew it very well. Countless times, in fact. The trigger is always the moment that deep scratch on the butt of the flashlight barrel catches my eye. I'm sure that's the end he used to break through the glass and jack up my dashboard.

It never quite bothered me the way it did today. I knew how the flashlight came into my possession and I believed that the backstory would eventually fade and be replaced by a new history. But that replacement memory never came and the original tale had been on auto-loop all these years. I've finally grown tired of it now.

All objects have a function. A knife slices. A keyboard types. A blanket covers. But some objects inherit stories along the way. An old watch. A ratty Snoopy doll. A wedding band. And sometimes, that story begins to betray the function of said object. In my case, when I need a little more light to walk through the garden at night or to look under the sofa I don't simply grab a well-designed flashlight, I have to sit through the pissy event that brought us together, like a bad opening act.

Well, hopefully the next owner will not find it amongst the rubble of a break-in and this little light gets a second chance at making a good first impression.

And I thought light always triumphed over darkness.

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