Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fireworks In Kansas Are Twenty Six Percent More Fun

A fact which I proved using the scientific method.

So, as we have previously established, I have spent several summers in Kansas, where there are apparently no laws and anarchy rules. At least when it comes to fireworks.

I live in California, where, if you so much as snap your fingers too loud on the 4th of July, a SWAT team will materialize and stab you in the face until you are no longer a fire hazard. The laws we have on fireworks are more strict than a pile of nuns. An open flame from the summer solstice to the fall equinox is treated like the Devourer of Worlds. Basically, I didn't even realize that you could blow things up in a socially acceptable manner on Independence day until I went to Kansas, and the introduction to destruction they gave me was heart warming.

Well, to be more accurate, it was chest warming, because my shirt was on fire, but I'm getting to that.

The first summer I was in Kansas, it was too dry on the fourth to do much more than throw those dinky little poppers that crack when they hit the ground. It was depressing, especially since the family I was with had talked about the insanity that was going to happen and had shown me their "secret stash" of home made fireworks (which looked like a secret munitions dump, but I was too stupid to be worried). That night, though, a magnificent summer storm happened. It was like the sky itself objected to the lack of lights and loud noises and decided to oblige us. I have some of those lighting strikes burned in to my retina to this day, because they were so ridiculously bright, close, and beautiful. And then it poured a hot rain (another unheard of thing where I come from) for three hours, slightly flooding the yard.

I woke up on the fifth to an explosion. Not a big one, but big enough to jerk me out of a dream where I was chasing sheep and make me fall out of bed.

It was a bunk bed, and I was in the top bunk, so I wasn't going to back to sleep any time soon. I headed outside to see what had happened.

The sky was clear blue, puddles were on the ground, and the entire family of crazies were lighting things and throwing them at each other.

They had taken apart several strings of crackers, carefully separating the fuses and cutting them, so instead of a lot of bangs at once, they would light a single one and throw it.

There was no way to tell how long a fuse would burn before it went off. I had several go off in my hand less than a second after I lit it, which is why I'm typing this blog with only eight fingers, but there were a few that burned for a good five seconds after I had thrown them before going off.

There was relatively little risk when it came to getting hit with one, since most of the time they would either go off in the air before they reached you or bounce harmlessly off you and go off on the ground.

But I was good at timing. Even with a fuse that had exactly zero way to tell how long it would last, I managed to blow them up when they were close enough to feel fairly consistently.

This, naturally, annoyed my good friend.

They kept them in a bucket. You would grab a handful for ammunition, and when you ran out a cease fire was called and everybody went and got more.

I get Joey one too many times, and he grabs the bucket and tosses a match inside. I started running. He waited until they began going off, and threw them all at me.

It would have made an excellent slow motion scene, if my life was a movie. Stepping high as I sprinted away from him, the air itself exploding around me, I laughed and laughed...

When darkness fell, we began shooting off the big stuff. We shredded the sky with lights and sounds, and it was glorious. There was no patriotism. It was just the joy of stimulation.

No comments:

Post a Comment