Saturday, July 03, 2004


I was leaving work tonight at 10pm, and my first thought was "thunder? what the fuck?" Of course, it was fireworks exploding down in Bethany, and on the drive home I got to thinking about past 4ths, and New Years, and stuff.

My first thought was breathing fire up at Tom's place in front of about 40 kids and adults. You could just see the kids eyes light up, and their mothers' abject horror at what they were witnessing--I even think I heard a couple of pre-emptive "NO's" in the background. Much later in the evening I walked down to the lake and tried to engage the fireworks people in a fire conversation, but they never could get their act together and respond by lighting their fuses at the right time. Ah well--it was pretty, out there reflecting off the water.

My second thought was coming out of Baptist Medical Center after sitting with a kid who cut what amounts to his entire hand off with one of our lawn mowers. I was exhausted from two days of dealing with doctors, angry relatives, and the normal bullshit that comes with running a large small business...they had attempted to sew the kid's thumb back on, but it started turning black and stinking, and he was so out of it on morphine that he didn't know that the smell was his own thumb, and no one had the heart (or guts) to answer in the positive when he asked in this pathetic, dazed voice if anyone smelled something funny in there. When I finally left, I looked up dully at the shells exploding over downtown, and wondered what anyone could possibly find worth celebrating in a world where an 18 year old kid can smell his own thumb going necrotic, and not know it.

Yeah, I didn't really recover from that one for quite a while. Remind me to tell you the whole story sometime, when I'm feeling good and sad.

And finally, back when we lived in crackville we could step out the back door and see those same fireworks going off at New Years. I'd always try and find good hallucinogens, and it was always very cool. The crackheads would fire their pistols into the air in sort of a rising crescendo as the time crept towards midnight, and there was some ultra-crazy dude who had a shotgun that lived VERY close, and no one shot anything after he'd discharged what sounded like both barrels of a very large gauge weapon. Kind of like the final "bong" of a grandfather clock, you know? That one would always send us scurrying back inside, with visions of lead falling from the sky.

Oh yeah, and then there's the story of Ed Hedge firing a bottle rocket out of a moving car and hitting a parked patrol car in Claremore, Oklahoma. The only patrol car, as it happens, that had a dash camera...court admissible evidence: a grainy black and white video showing headlights flashing by, then a rapidly approaching trail of sparks, an explosion on the hood, and a short chase. Bob, Ed, and Bob's cat were all arrested. Claremore police love their paint jobs.

Last one: walking out to the fence with Liz, under a full moon at BM 2001, standing at the edge and looking back at all the lights. After a bit, some people rode past that were having a roman candle fight--you could see the color of the fire racing across the desert floor towards their targets. Laughter, and a warm girl who loved me. And that confounded beeping, dammit.


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