I don’t put faulty Zippo’s in the post for maintenance or repairs. Once damaged, they are kept safe, and stored in a small wooden box in my study. It reminds me of the trauma that each of them endured across the years, every bang and scrape and hurt.

Like dropping them on isolated runways in Angola or smashing them into low-bed trucks in Botswana. And that time when I rolled the Bedford on a desolate road on the outskirts of Zambia, my Lucky Strikes, still in my top pocket, crushed, but smokable.

Then lighting up and listening intently to the monotone drone of a dirty horsefly, buzzing around the open gash on my damaged face, spark and flint from my Zippo, relaxing me before the Air Force medics arrived.

“Light my lucky,” I said to myself.

just barely eighteen,
desperate for a cold pint,
pistol safety off.