“No, wait until he turns his back to the fire,” I said.
Uriah had filled his pockets full of fireworks before coming to the Halloween party. There were teenagers running around doing teenager things. All in clean fun- nothing dangerous or illegal… except for some fireworks that we’d picked up at the Indian reservation two towns over.
“Now, now,” I say under my breath.
The unsuspecting young man standing near the bonfire had just turned his back to warm the reverse side of his body when… BANG! He jolts a little and realizes what just happens when he sees Uriah, Clark, and me laughing.
“This is getting old,” Uriah says. “I’m just going to throw the rest of them all in at once.”
The three of us stood watching while the last of his firecrackers popped one after another in the fire. There wasn’t much else to do. A few people were in costume and a few people brought some snacks, but the “party” centered mainly around the large pile of wood burning in the middle of someone’s back yard. I don’t even remember whose backyard it was. It wasn’t important because it wasn’t an interesting place to be…
until Uriah pulled out an M-80.
until Uriah pulled out an M-80.
“You’re not going to throw that thing into the fire,” Clark said.
“Why not?” Uriah asked.
“Because it’ll blow the fire all over the place,” Clark said. “You’ll end up catching someone or something on fire.”
“I’ll just light it and throw it out into the desert then,” Uriah decided. “Scare everyone half to death.”
For those who aren’t familiar with that particular firework, there is a reason the M-80 is illegal to sell in the United States, unless you’re on an Indian reservation. It doesn’t fly or shoot out fancy colors. It’s only good for one thing- blasting something apart. It’s a good way to lose a finger or two or three. It’s a good way to bust an eardrum if you’re in the wrong place. It’s also a good way to end up in front of a judge if you blow the wrong thing up. None of that common sense stuff mattered much to us at age 16, though. Since nobody had any music blaring, a little noise was just what our adolescent get-together needed.
“I can’t get close enough to the fire to light it,” Uriah said with his outstretched arm. “It’s too hot.”
Finally, Uriah gave up. The prospect of livening up the party was put on hold as Uriah let his arm cool down and relax at his side. Suddenly, after a couple of minutes, even though the M-80 was nowhere near the fire…
“Uriah!” I yelled. “It’s lit!”
Uriah looked down at the glowing orange in his hand. Sparks were spitting off of the wick, which was almost all the way down to the main body of the miniature bomb. With the bonfire straight in front of him, he got rid of it the only way he thought was safe- straight behind him. The problem was that there were people behind him. The problem with the people behind him was that they were all standing in a circle. The problem with the circle was that there was a water-filled tub right in the center of them with apples floating inside. Time flies when you’re having fun, but it stops almost completely when you’re worried about an explosion.
Half a dozen people, expecting to get their face wet while trying to bob an apple, saw a column of water burst six feet straight above the tub, then fall straight down, emptying the majority of the tub’s contents onto everyone in the circle.
We were lucky to stay dry. We were lucky that nobody got too upset. We were lucky the firework didn’t land at someone’s feet. We were lucky that Uriah was able to leave the party will all of his fingers. Luck luck and more luck. How does anybody make it out of their teenage years alive? True story.