Match Point

I’m coming out of my building and there’s a young boy lighting matches.

“Hey kid, what are you doin there?”


“Are you playing with matches?”

He thrust them in his pocket.

“Comere, I want to talk to you.”

He took off like a shot with me in hot pursuit.  Couldn’t have more than eleven, and my instincts for trouble took the lead.

You never know how fast you can run until you need to.  Why did I chase him?  There has been so many fires in the 5 boroughs of New York lately it’s chilling.  Seven kids died because of a faulty hotplate in Brooklyn just a month ago.  Fire scares the hell out of me, and my own truant tendencies knew this little fucker was up to no good.

As I ran after him, Peter the doorman was standing outside. “What’s the matter Susannah?”

“Stop that kid,” I screamed.  So without missing a beat he grabbed him by his waist.

The kid squirmed like a fish on a hook, but Peter, no slouch, held firm.

“No one’s gonna hurt you, ” I said, “but I want to know what are your plans for those matches?”

Are all of you ready for this?  He spit at me – a big wad of saliva soaking my right cheek.  Before I could even move, Peter went into action.  “Hey you little shit, would you rather we call the cops so you can talk to them?”

I knew a frightened boy when I saw one, so I wiped my face off and tried to be kind, as difficult as it was.

“You were standing in front of my building lighting matches.  Why were you doing that?”

He shrugged.

“Look, you can’t play with matches.  You could hurt yourself.  You could hurt me or someone else.”  He was a kid from another neighborhood alright who looked as if he hated the one he was in.  The assumed opulence maybe?  Knowing it was an affluent part of town?  I don’t know, but he had the smell of mischief sprayed all over him.

“You apologize for spitting at her,” said Peter all but unraveling.

“You wanna hot chocolate so we can talk?” I thought Peter was going to faint.  I waved his disapproval away.

“Come on. You can tell me your story.”

The minute Peter let him go he ran like a scared rabbit.  We watched as he careened in and out of traffic like he’s done it a million times.

“I don’t believe you Susannah.  He’s a punk kid who spit at you, and you’re taking him out for drinks?”

“It was hot chocolate, not champagne,” I said, trying to be funny.

“He needed a good crack, not a treat.”

“You know Peter, he’s young, and you don’t help a kid that age by overtly punishing him.  You talk to him first.  I was wild like that too.  If I didn’t have a grandfather and my Auntie  Ida, I could have been Squeaky Fromme.


“Never mind – would you like a hot chocolate?”



About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Thanks.
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34 Responses to Match Point

  1. vondrook says:

    “This little fucker was up to no good.” I didn’t think by the end of this, you would think, “I want to take this little fucker out for some hot chocolate.”


  2. skinnyuz2b says:

    I understand where you’re coming from, Susannah, and agree that your approach to that kid is probably the right one. But if anyone ever spit on me I think I’d flip out. It’s never happened and I pray it never does. Waaay beyond gross.


    • You never had a mother like mine. That was tame compared to some of the stuff I had to endure when I was his age. My compassion stems from experience even if it’s weird to others. Peter’s still talking about it.


  3. micklively says:

    I had to look up Squeaky Fromme.
    I’m impressed with your self-control. Had he spat at me, I’d have flattened him, though maybe regretted it later.


  4. Yeah not sure if I would have handled it the same way. But kudos to you. It nice to know there are people like you out there to balance the people like me lol.


  5. Elle Knowles says:

    You sure know the ropes when it comes to dealing with unruly kids Susannah. I wouldn’t have been as calm when being spit on though. Let’s hope you made an impression and put out a fire before it was started! ~Elle


  6. I’ll be curious if you see him in front of your building again.


  7. Susannah be cautious. He could have pulled a razor and slashed your face. “People are crazy and times are strange” – Bob Dylan. I hope your well . Sincerely, Bob.


    • I suppose that could happen anytime anyplace…when it comes to a kid I automatically step up to the plate simply because no one ever did that for me. I rarely think of anything but good…but you have a point.


  8. PS. I’m glad your chubby little hound is still in town !!!


  9. AZMike says:

    You’re such a treat to read.
    I haven’t had a hot chocolate in ages.
    I darn near burned down our kitchen when I was a kid, 10 years old I think. Melting and burning straws on our gas stove with my best friend, evidently I dropped something still lit in the garbage can. The flames flew up the wall and we must have yelled, my sister Chris 3 years older, came in grabbed a pan filled it water and doused the flames. Despite my sister and best friend telling me not to leave the house, I hid out by the tracks a block away. When mom found me she had one of those 3 foot long rulers from a furniture store she worked at. It was the last time she ever beat me but my oldest sister Carla said I had welts down my backside. I never played with matches again. Maybe your doorman had the right idea? 🙂


    • AZMike says:

      Oh, and on spitting. New school, 8th grade, Mark Herrig spits on me for whatever, I spit back. Coach Johnston saw me but not Mark, “If someone spit on me I’d rip their head off.” *Yeah coach, I am thinking to myself, but we get in trouble for fighting.


  10. Oh you’d never be Squeaky Fromme Susannah. Besides, who names a child Squeaky?


  11. Who knows, you may have changed his life. Sometimes that’s all it takes is a acknowledgement from a stranger that what you’re doing is not a good idea.


    • I don’t know, I’m not a mom, but kids always stop me in my tracks. He was cute in a very unkept way. Very thin, like he hadn’t eaten and he certainly needed a haircut. Makes me upset he’s running around like that, the little arsonist.


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