I was about 8 years old. Back in those days, fireworks in the city were still legal, before fire departments got all uppity about house fires and burned off hands. We had a farm out in what was then, an unincorporated part of the city.
We always went out there to shoot fireworks on the 4th or New Years. No houses around.. just lots of prime farmland and livestock to burn down. This particular 4th of July was like others, as tradition would dictate, we fished all day while we ate, drank, and relaxed. At dusk it was time for fireworks! As was also tradition, my older brother would throw firecrackers at my feet to watch me dance and scream. That year, he didn't take into account that I was older and able invoke revenge. He was more than a little shocked when I threw one back. He panicked, danced a jig, screamed and stepped on the firecracker to stop it from exploding. After he quit crying I made sure that every time he looked at me, I had a grin on my face. It got a bit difficult to figure out what to do to make him look at me over and over but I was out for nothing less than his soul.
Well the day passed and it got late. The mosquitos came out and my jaws were tired from grinning for 3 hours straight. We started for home. We got everything unloaded (in other words, my mom made several trips to the car) but I had one problem..I could see there were still fireworks left. Ahhh the temptation..the gravitational pull..they beckoned to me..longingly..seductively.
"Biiiiilllll.... Biiiiilllllll... we have not served our purpose in life, you must purify us with fire or we will not see the promised land..It is your destiny as the chosen one..."
I couldn't take it anymore so I waited till my mother was in bed watching TV and I quietly slivered out of the house and into the backyard with the Kings treasure.. SPARKLERS!
I was going to write my name in the air! Make circles of fire! Burn my hands in multiple places! A few seconds after I lit the infernos of death.. I heard my name being called again.. only this time it was my mother. I didn't know what to do so I threw them on the roof of the house. I had to ditch the evidence.
My mother never caught on so I breathed a little easier..but not for long. We were in her bedroom watching TV when we heard a horrendous house shaking BOOOOOOOOOOM! the bedroom windows lit up like high noon and everything in the house went dark as to welcome the Four Horsemen of the apocalypse. I immediately knew I was guilty and I stared screaming 'I'M SORRY MAMA!! I'M SORRY MAMA!!... she looked at my tear streamed face and said "huh?"
I dove head first into the most dramatic soliloquy of my young life and told her, that I had thrown lit sparklers on the roof.
She looked at me again then got up to put on her robe in a remarkably calm manner considering we were about to be homeless.
When we got outside we noticed that every light in the neighborhood was off and I started bargaining with God to take me up.. NOW. I noticed a crowd of people gathering a few house up, no doubt a lynching was in the making.
Well, what really happened was that a drunk was driving down the road at a high rate of speed and rammed a telephone pole, breaking it in half and yanking the high voltage wires from the power transformers in our front and back yards. Dante's Inferno was indeed in my backyard, but I was not guilty of starting it.
I counted myself lucky that I wasn't to blame but what was my mom going to do now that I had confessed to a heinous crime? I pretty much figured I was going to be living with a professional band of pickpockets soon and breaking into song with redheaded barmaids. To my relief, she did nothing.. strange thing was that every time I looked at her she had a big grin on her face.. and I swear my soul itched..
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