A Vintage Petrol Lighter Story Volume 14: A Spark Of Kindness

(A Vintage Petrol Lighter Story Volume 14: A Spark Of Kindness is a work of fiction presented by DependableFlame.com)

Coffee Anyone?

It was a cool, calm morning as Elston made his way to the coffee shop down the street under blue skies that yielded no space for clouds. He had the day off and planned to use it to take in the fresh air around him and hopefully

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

perform a kindness or two toward some folks who had gone out of their way to do the same for him, even if it had taken him a while to notice.

He could see the long line at the register through the glass windows that ran from the ceiling to the floor as he approached the Bella Cova coffee shop and pondered his order. His own would be decaf, of course but Frank had no such limitations leaning on him that Elston was aware of so he was somewhat puzzled betwixt the piping hot or iced variety and decided to have a smoke as he considered this quandary and looked for the line to thin out a little.

With his mind searching for images of Frank standing outside the hotel over the yrs with a coffee in hand, Elston twisted the end off the stuffed Futurola cone he pulled from the plastic tube in his pocket. Suspended delicately between his lips with his left hand, he spun the end of the joint in a circular motion as he struck the file wheel of his Zippo to life with his right as the flame appeared. He turned the joint around and blew on the end until it became ember and he judged the joint to be sufficiently lit.

A homeless man with a haggard backpack thrown over one shoulder as he pushed a beat up grocery cart, appeared around the corner of the substantial building that housed Bella Cova. He was reaching into a cloudy Ziploc bag in his cart and pulling out small handfuls of some sort of food which his dog eagerly lapped up from his hand. Elston paid the man little mind.

The third coffee in his order was as simple a decision as the first, it was intended for Anna and he hoped to deliver it on time for her to sneak out of the office for a quick bite of breakfast before her day got started in earnest. She had been there since before the sun came up and for that matter, before Elston had even rolled out of bed.

Casting Cares

Walking out with the drink holder containing three large recycled cardboard cups, Elston restoked with his lighter the now shortened joint he’d snuffed out before entering the coffee shop. He had a bit of a walk before him and he

Photo by Luke Besley on Unsplash

felt the effects of the marijuana cigarette to his core, more than caffeine could every do, as his joints began to loosen and his step gained some ebullience.

Elston had been so bogged down in his own disappointments and troubles that he had neglected the woman he loved and had taken her for granted when anyone with half a clue would have seen the effort she was putting forth only to benefit him. He slapped himself in the face out of shame just thinking how he’d allowed her to cook his meals and massage his shoulders night after night after night and yet never fathomed that she herself was in need of some loving-kindness he was failing to show her.

Upon reaching the office building, Elston snuffed out the joint once again in the metal container full of sand just outside the door. He entered the elevator with the coffees in his right hand as he sniffed his left for evidence of the smoked joint. Not that it mattered because Anna was her own boss but Elston was trying not to leave a bad impression that might compound the trouble he already perceived he was in.

As the elevator doors opened, Elston’s heart both leapt and sank simultaneously. Leapt because of her evident beauty that literally caused his heart to skip a beat as his gaze came to rest on her at work at the copy machine across the room. He was thankful for this moment and hoped he could figure out a way to express this to her, though she was oblivious to him now. His heart sank because as busy as she looked, he knew there was no way he’d be able to talk her into leaving for a bite to eat.

Just then, she looked straight up and across the room at Elston like he’d summoned her with his mind or something and gave him the biggest smile that he knew he didn’t deserve. “Hey, honey!” she said much more energetic and familiar than he’d supposed. “I’m sorry, I already had coffee this morning and I don’t have time for breakfast! Thank you though, really…” her voice trailed off as she grasped his hand momentarily with her own before disappearing into her office.

Cares Of The World

Making his way back across town and around the corner to the front of the Standard Hotel building, Elston was struggling with whether to lick his wounds or be thankful for the reception he’d received from Anna. He

Photo by Kane Taylor on Unsplash

decided upon the latter and made his way to the area of the bellman’s stand where Frank was typically perched.

“Hey there Mr. James,” Frank greeted Elston warmly as he placed the orange safety cone dead center in the parking spot that took up the space in front of Elston’s apartment. The Standard was not only a historic hotel but also the home to many permanent residents such as Elston, who had the difficulties of his day constantly eased by the efforts of the bellman. “The spot will be here waiting for you whenever you’re ready to get the Jeep out of the garage.”

“I appreciate that man, you are too kind,” Elston said enthusiastically before offering the hot cup of coffee, “I thought you might enjoy a little treat this morning.”

“Oh, man,” the bellman exclaimed, “but I only drink them iced! I have a condition that closes up my throat when I try to drink hot coffee but I really do appreciate the gesture.”

Elston felt deflated as his second good deed of the day was refused but even more so he felt embarrassed as old images flooded his mind where Frank was holding a clear cup of half melted ice and tan, creamy liquid. Done in by his own neglectful memory once again. Of course, he should have known Frank didn’t want it hot, he always had the clear cup!

Elston sat on the first floor stoop of his apartment with a joint hanging out of his mouth, trying to reorder his day in light of the morning’s developments. He hadn’t helped improve Anna or Frank’s day like he had intended.

“Hey buddy, you need a light?” the homeless man said as he approached the stoop, the dog trailing behind him and leaned forward toward Elston, rolling the file wheel of the Dunhill Rollalite to life and cupping his spare hand around the flame.

Elston scooted forward in his seat, accepting the light and puffing the joint to ember. “Nice lighter man!” Elston said in a humorous, friendly tone. “I got a couple spare coffees here. You take it hot or iced?”

“I don’t need coffee fella’,” said the man in possession of the Rollalite. “I need someplace to live!”

(Please leave any comments, questions or suggestions in the comments section of this or any other page at DependableFlame.com. This is a work of fiction and any similarity of the characters or situations herein to those that have happened in real life should be seen as coincidental.)

Author: Joseph

Be cautious when anyone tells you what you need or have to do...

8 thoughts on “A Vintage Petrol Lighter Story Volume 14: A Spark Of Kindness”

  1. Every time I read one of you post I get lost in it, I can imagine Elston with the lighter in one hand as he cups the joint with the other.  I felt sad for Elston when both Anna and Frank refused the coffee he put so much thought into getting for them, if only he had realized to get Frank an iced Coffee.

    I’m intrigued by the homeless man and his Dunhill Rollalite petrol lighter.  I went and watched the video on thi lighter and it’s very interesting.  I have never seen a lighter that the wheel is on the side like that.  I’m starting to want to collect vintage lighters, what are some good recommendations for some of the first lighters I should look at?


    M.T. Wolf

    1. Thank you M.T. for such a well thought out comment and I really appreciate you taking the time to read this latest installment of Elston’s petrol lighter journey through time. The Dunhill Rollalite is one of the finest crafted petrol lighters that has ever been produced so if you are thinking of starting a collection, the Rollalite is a staple for many. There are many brands and mechanisms that I personally have fallen in love with over the years like the Penguin Cygnus and Park lighters. I have also written this article in response to a similar question about where a beginning collector should start.

  2. Hey everyone, I just read this heart-warming article and it really struck a chord with me. The story revolves around Elston, who sets out on his day off with the intention of performing acts of kindness for those who have shown him kindness in the past. I found it fascinating how Elston was initially caught up in his own world and didn’t notice the efforts of the people around him, but then he has a moment of realization and decides to make a change.

    One aspect of the article that stood out to me was the attention to detail in describing Elston’s experience at the coffee shop. The vivid imagery of the long line at the register and Elston contemplating his order made me feel like I was right there with him. I could almost smell the coffee and feel the anticipation building.

    I was particularly touched by Elston’s intention to bring coffee to Anna, the woman he loves. It made me reflect on how often we can take our loved ones for granted and neglect to show them the appreciation they deserve. Elston’s realization of his own shortcomings and his desire to make amends was a powerful moment in the story.

    The author also did a great job of creating a sense of empathy and compassion through the interactions between Elston and the homeless man. It reminded me of the importance of seeing beyond appearances and recognizing the humanity in others. The homeless man’s simple request for a place to live was a poignant reminder of the challenges many people face.

    I have a few questions after reading this article. Have you ever had a moment of realization where you realized you were taking someone for granted? How did you handle it? Do you think acts of kindness can have a ripple effect and inspire others to be more compassionate? What actions can we take to be more mindful of the struggles faced by those around us?

    Overall, this article touched my heart and reminded me of the power of kindness and the importance of being present in the lives of the people we care about. It’s a beautiful reminder to appreciate the small gestures and opportunities to make a positive impact in the world. I highly recommend giving it a read and reflecting on how we can all incorporate more kindness into our lives.

    1. Thank you Seb, I appreciate your thorough comment as always and am glad that you enjoyed and found value in the story. I have certainly had many realizations in the past that my behavior had not only been lacking but had also had a negative influence or impact on someone that I loved or cared for deeply. I have found forgiveness for these shortcomings in my life by God’s grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who lived a perfect life and then died a death that I deserved so that I would not suffer the ultimate penalty which I truly did deserve but have been welcomed as a brother into the fullness of His resurrection from the dead and the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit.

  3. One can sense the feeling that Elston has that he would really like to show kindness to those that are good to him. Although Anna rejected the coffee that Elston took to her, she gave him a big smile, as if she really appreciated the gesture and that not all hope is lost to revive the relationship. 

    When Frank turns down the coffee that Elston got for him, because he prefers iced coffee, Elston realises that he has not paid enough attention to those that are kind to him. Do you think that smoking the joint might have clouded Elston’s thinking and memory? Or would marijuana actually increase his awareness? Thank you.

    1. That is a very good question Linè and one that may be impossible to answer with much certainty. Either conclusion could be true because marijuana does have an effect on the memory of those who use it, though perhaps not in the way that many would suppose. My experience tells me that the negative effects of marijuana tend to the short term variety, i.e. not remembering where you were headed in a current conversation, etc. My experience also tells me that marijuana can help a person’s attention to detail and perhaps remember some things that they wouldn’t have even noticed otherwise!

      Thank you again for the question and I hope you will continue to drop by and check out further installments of Elston’s journey.

  4. First off wow. I was amazed at how descriptive you were with objects and actions. I could actually picture the store in my head as I read. You weren’t just descriptive in the beginning but the whole way through. You could feel Elston’s disappointment when Anna turned him down for the coffee he had put thought and time into picking out. Then she really crushed him when she said she didn’t have time for breakfast either. When Elston realized Frank took his coffee iced you could truly feel how stupid and silly he felt. The ending really got your attention and made you hope that there is more to come so you can find out what happened to the man in possession of the Rollalite. Not everyone can write like you did. Not everyone can be as descriptive and imaginative when writing as you were. I truly found your writing enjoyable. I could imagine Elston’s excitement about being able to do good deeds for the people in his life. It truly doesn’t feel good when your good intentions fall. Keep writing!

    1. Thank you Liz, I really appreciate all of your words of encouragement and for you taking the time to read the story. I am glad that you enjoyed reading the descriptive account of Elston’s daily life, including his disappointments. I think that Elston is trying to do what is right but sometimes it is easier to head down that road in general than to get everything perfectly correct along the way. Elston is trying but of course still makes mistakes and sometimes it is simply because he failed to take notice of one particular thing.

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