Sunday, April 4, 2010

Triple J

There were a lot of Js in my childhood. There was Jeremy, Joshua, Jim, Jason, Jermain, Jeremiah, Jeremiah, Joshua, Joshua, etc... (Yea, there were two Jeremiahs and three Joshuas) This particular story concerns Jason Stapleton, Jim Melvin, and myself. I believe it was during the summer. If not it was very close to it. The day was warm and the weather beautiful. We three had been friends since the first grade, but it was very rare that the three of us were together at any place other than school. We were around twelve years old and had gotten together early so we would have the whole day to do whatever we wanted with. I'll start the tale nearer the end and then wrap it up with the beginning, just because I'm sorting it by humor.

By the afternoon we had already had a bit of a day, but we were looking for something more to do. When we considered our resources we found that we had several packs of bottle rockets. At the time you could still get the small, cheap, flying fire crackers known as bottle rockets. As we were considering what to do with them Jim grabbed an old pipe and decided we should use it as a rocket launcher.

This was a common enough entertainment for us so Jason and I readily agreed. One of us would hold the pipe and aim while another lit the fuse and jammed the bottle rocket into the pipe. The one aiming tried to hit something or nothing as the mood struck him. After a few minutes of this Jim got bored and decided to shake things up a bit with a practical joke.

It was my turn to hold the pipe and Jim's turn to load. As he prepared the bottle rocket he broke the stick off of it without my knowledge just before loading it. Now, for those of you who don't know, the stick on a bottle rocket does more than just provide something to hold the fuse off the ground when you light it. It also makes the rocket fly in a semi-straight line. The idea behind breaking the stick off was that the bottle rocket would go crazy when it came out of the end of the pipe.

However, Jim overlooked the fact that because there was no stick on it the bottle rocket would just be sitting on the loading end of the pipe and not really shoved down in it. He set the shorty bottle rocket in the end of the pipe and lit the fuse. “Fire!” I had decided to go for a long shot so as soon as I head that I pointed the pipe up at about 45 degrees. As a result the bottle rocket fell out of the pipe just as it started the fly.

It hit Jim in the chest and flew around in circles all over him before it blew up in his face. Fortunately he wasn't hurt at all, but there was a pattern burned into his shirt. He looked down at his chest and saw a perfect trail laid out in melted man made fiber. “This was a new shirt...” Jason and I busted out laughing. The joke had fallen on the joker. There's a bit of philosophy there!

That whetted our appetite for more bottle rocket fun so we decided to have a bottle rocket fight to wrap up the day. We spit the bottle rockets between us and dished out ways to make fire. To Jim a lighter. To Jason a lighter. To Jeremy.... I got a box of matches. It was all we had left. It's hard to imagine having a bottle rocket fight against lighters with a box of matches unless you've done it yourself.

Still, I wasn't discouraged. The battle does not always go to the strong. After our supplies were handed out we spread out and started our little battle. It was a kind of three way standoff, but Jim and Jason did seem to target me more than each other. There was a lot of running around and bottle rockets flying everywhere, but no one had been hit. Finally I decided I was really going to have to aim.

At last I got a chance for a real target. Jason had stopped to try to get a good shot at me. I was standing right by the old dog house and figured it was now of never. I placed my rocket on the dog house feeling certain that Jason would get the drop on me or have time to get out of the way. Lighters were faster than matches, that's just the way it was. Still, often it's the guy with the coolest nerves that wins the gun fight, not the one with the fastest draw.

I took careful aim at where Jason was squatting. He was having trouble getting the lighter to light. His gun was jammed! I took out my match and lit it. I stuck it to the fuse. Jason was still crouched down trying to make fire. My rocket flew and my aim was true! It blew up right in Jason's face and knocked him over. I couldn't do anything but laugh for a few minutes. That was really the end of the rocket fight. We all felt like we couldn't do any better than that.

As I said I started at the end, now let me unfold the beginning. We started the day off by going down to Nana and Papa's house. There wasn't a great deal to do, but we did have a bull whip. It may not seem like much to most of you, but I always loved cracking a whip and I'm fairly good at it. In fact, I can make rope crack if it's the right kind and have cracked several whips completely in half. I can make them sound like thunder. It's a simple amusement, but I've always loved it.

We decided to walk up down the road down by Papa's while we talked and I cracked the whip. As we were doing just that this kid came out of one of the trailers in the trailer park across the street. He started cussing at us and shaking his fist like some old man with kids on his lawn. We ignored him and walked along cracking the whip as he cussed at us about making all that noise.

After we got back to Nana's I decided that I was offended by being cussed at. The kid was a few years younger than us though, so we couldn't just go beat him up. I sat there thinking for a few minutes and thought about what we had to use for revenge. We had a pack of firecrackers and a toy gun and the whip. After considering this I formed a plan. We discussed it and we all agreed. We would do it.

Jim and I started walking down the street in front of the kids trailer again. I was cracking the whip as loud as I could and Jim was holding the toy pistol. Jason was standing in the woods along the road with the firecracker and a lighter at the ready. Within moments the kid flew out of his house again cussing us with all he had. Jim pulled out the toy gun and pointed it at him. “Hey kid!” Jim shouted which was the cue for Jason to light the firecrackers.

The kid looked at Jim and realized it was gun just as the firecrackers started to go off. He shrieked as if he has been shot and turned to open the door. It had locked behind him! He stood there screaming and beating on the door. “Mama! Open the door! They're shooting at me!” He pounded and screamed, but we didn't wait to see the result. We all three ran for it. To wrap the event up we took it in turn to imitate the kid as the others rolled around laughing.

All in all it was a great day!

If you got a laugh from all this be sure to share it with your friends!

1 comment:

  1. I posted a comment in the WRONG place. Shows you how computer smart I am! Anyway, I never knew y'all were SHOOTING bottle rockets at each other. If I had, your fun would have over OVER! It's a wonder Jim's mom didn't blame YOU! lol