Saturday, July 4, 2009

the 4th of July story

Ever seen a movie where an entire fireworks factory goes off all at once? Ever think that wouldn't happen because nobody would be stupid enough to stockpile fireworks without providing protection against a simultaneous explosion? ...

It was about 12 years ago. Our friends had come over for an evening of fun and fireworks. And to be sure we were well stocked on the bang-bang stuff, ALL of us bought individual inventories of explosives. We stockpiled them all together on our closed-in back deck. We had an extremely impressive array of armament. Enough to take on a small country. Of course we were stupid for putting everything in ONE large pile, but there'd have been no story to tell otherwise.

The teenager who lived next door really liked our little spinners (similar in shape to a roll of dimes with a fuse in one end that, when lit, spins in a tight circle like a dervish, flame shooting out, making a loud buzzing sound). He offered to trade a pack of bottle rockets for a brick of them. Sure, what the hell, a little male bonding never hurt (actually, that is NOT a factual statement - somebody usually DOES get hurt during male bonding). He lit his first one and threw the little spinning ball of flaming fury on the deck and it immediately spun directly toward the large Fort Knox- like mound of fireworks we'd so unwisley constructed.

There was hardly enough time to yell, "CRAP! DUCK!" before the carnage began. Like a ping pong ball dropped in a room full of mousetraps, the fireworks ignited where the spinner had gone in and spread almost instantaneously to the entire pile. Just like in the movies. We could only stay down in our protected positions until it was all over. Stuff was shooting in all directions. Grape-like bunches of fire-crackers were being blasted everywhere only to ignite themeselves wherever they landed. Bottle rockets of all shapes and sizes were launching like a squadron of angry wasps ZING-BOOM! ZOOM-BOOM! VWOOP-BOOM! The air was THICK with spent black powder.

When the acrid smoke had settled and the fury had died down to less frequent BOOMS and WHOOSHES, we were able to come out of hiding and survey the mess. 3/4 of our stock had exploded and the neighbor boy was nowhere to be found. Probably just as well. We weren't too happy with him at the moment.

So in answer to my own question, yes, I have seen what happens when idiots place a large quantity of fireworks in one place and the whole thing goes off. It WAS kind of exciting though.