So Ward, who lived down the road from me as a kid was bent on all things military. I think we were about 10. Every day with Ward was an adventure. We
didn’t see each other every day, but when we did it was something to remember.
One day Ward shows up at my house with one of those old large silver water fire extinguishers (he stole it from behind the school). Well, you could
unscrew the lid of those things and put water back in them, and they also had an air fitting like on a bicycle tire on the side to pressurize the
tank. (you can probably tell where this story is going).
Anyway, we filled it up a few times (with water) and pressurized it with the air compressor. If you pressurized it to about 100psi (which was WAY more
than rated), it would shoot water about 200 feet! That was fun, but got boring after a while. THEN, Ward, the knucklehead (I was actually thinking the
same damn thing) comes up with the idea to make a flame thrower! Well, I was having NO part of that. I was already grounded for being 'at the scene'
of a mysterious fire in my other friends barn (another story) which required fire Dept. intervention. (My buddy’s little 7 year old brother lit the
hay bales on fire, I had nothing to do with it!! Errr…I might have provided the firecrackers and matches before leaving.)
The silence was always a dangerous thing with Ward “I know this will work”
, Ward said. “But, we can’t light the end of the hose on
So we, uhh “he”, thought about it for a while and eventually came up with the idea to fashion a wire coat hanger
onto the nozzle of the extinguisher nozzle with a cotton ball soaked in Vaseline and gasoline. The cotton ball was about 18” away from the nozzle.
Then we filled the extinguisher up with kerosene from an old heater. A quick shot from the air chuck on the compressor and we were ready to go. Ward
"Not in OUR barn you're not, Ward!!!"
I told him. Dejected, he threw the fire extinguisher in his homemade camouflage go kart and took off.
About an hour later (while contemplating the boundaries of just how much trouble I could get in and not be grounded any longer), I saw a flash out of
the corner of my eye.
echoed down the road. Next thing you know, a stream of fire arced through the sky from the approximate location of Ward's house!
Then another, quickly followed by a "WOOOOO HOOOOO"
. Grounded or not...I was definitely gonna’ have to go check this out! Violating my
parole, I set off for Ward's house on foot.
I made it just about there when it happened...
"AAAAAIIIIIEEEEEEEEIIIIIAAAAA....OW, OW OW....I'M ON FIIIIIIIRRRRRRREEEE"
. I could see the flicker of the flames on the eve of his house.
Then....BOOOM!! A Huge fireball erupted out of the trees, complete with this really cool looking jet black mushroom cloud! Ward was a pretty talented
guy, but this was by far his best work yet!
I wasn't sure exactly how close to get, what with all the black smoke and flames, but clearly Ward had a working prototype...or "used to have".
However, it appeared there had been a minor malfunction during testing. By now, most of the forest critters and local residents were headed the other
way at warp speed. I forged ahead (kind of a low crawl).
As I got to his house it was clear there had been a serious malfunction. Most of the bushes along the driveway were glittering in flames or smoking.
One of Ward's shoes was in the middle of the lawn...smoldering. I found Ward out behind the barn taking a nice cool shower under the well spigot.
There wasn't much time, I could hear the sirens coming. I had to get back, else risk grounded for life
status. Couldn't get caught at the scene
of yet another 'incident'! Anyway, turned out there was a minor problem during reloading. Seems Ward neglected to extinguish the cotton ball on the
hanger before removing the lid, and the whole shootin' match went up in smoke.
As I look back on that day, it's a miracle he (us) wasn't killed...along with several other households. Then again, it's pretty amazing that any of us
survived those crazy childhood days.
THEN...there was that one time with the shotgun shells...
edit on 11/14/2015 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)