Mostly happy, anyway.
For us, things’ll be a little … quieter than usual.
My wife and kids love fireworks. Me, I can do without ‘em. They mean crowds, jerks, noise, stench and lack of ability to enjoy myself. Most of the time, this isn’t a problem – last year, for instance, it was easy enough to just sit on a blanket in an area which wasn’t too crowded and watch people trickle in. The kids did their best to be patient waiting for the show. And there’s always the jackass who can’t turn off his headlights when he’s gathering his crap from the car so everyone’s shielding their eyes, yelling at him to turn off the lights, they can’t see. That last chump is sure to show up twenty minutes in to a forty-five minute show. And he’ll want to leave early too, crowing to his wife while they waddle with arms full of chairs, blankets, thermoses, sunscreen, and beach totes made of flexible straw, about how smart they were to wait for traffic to die down before they showed up, and how smart they are to leave before rush for the road. He’ll pronounce it rudd, too. And he’ll lift the straw panama hat from his gleaming pate combed over with three mouse-gray hairs and chuckle while he scratches his shining scalp. Every step is more of a side-to-side shuffle, with his legs swinging in front of him to provide locomotion, and when his elephantine ankles and flip-flop clad duck-wide feet strike the ground his thick, meaty jowls will tumble and churn.
Then there’s the old guy, the one who was old when Montezuma was a child, who sits in a banded nylon lawn chair wrapped in a woolen blanket shot through with moth holes and cigarette burns; the fringe hangs off the ends in dreadlock dusty frays like tattered old rope. He’s got a ratty old baseball cap on, with unidentifiable logos from some forgotten company extinct before Tyrannosaurus roamed the Earth. His pencil thin ankles vanish into battered canvas sneakers the color of dust bunnies, spindly and riddled with spider veins and scrawling hooked white hairs. He’s dragging an apparatus with him, an oxygen tank on wheels, and there’s an unfiltered cigarette hanging from between the gnarled twigs of two knobby, nicotine-stained fingers. He goes into long, spastic fits of coughing which cause his entire torso to lock, and the duration of the lock determines the duration of the cough. The conversation of his fellow trailer-trash dwellers – family of some extended variety or other, of varying and declining degrees of inbred hickitude – have learned to speak around his coughs. They start a sentence and pause while his gives a long, drawn-out spasm – haaaaaaackhackhackhckchck!! – then resume the sentence for another couple of words while he’s gulping in wheezing gasps of air, clutching at his chicken-waddled neck with arthritic, bent fingers, before launching an even longer spastic fit – haaaaaaaaaaaaaackhaaaackhaaaackhaackhackhackhckhck!! – then they go back to their conversation again while the cycle continues. Eventually the wafting cobwebs of hair on his liver-spotted head stop waving with the effort, and there’s a huge guttural snorting hock, then a wad of yellowish-green pus-like matter flies into the ever-growing pile beside him. A few gulps on the oxygen mask, light another smoke, and back to the sparklies. They ask him questions, his spawn and kin – “Yew aw raht thar, gran-da?” – and the scarecrow mutters in a surprisingly deep rumble with a stiff-necked nod.
Then the morons who think it’s all right to set off their own fireworks … you know, right there on the lawn where you and about eighty other families are watching the fireworks show. There’s the sulfuric stink of the fuse, the hissing whiz as the little cardboard stump bursts into yellow, green or magenta sparks and flames, spewing blue smoke like a Wisconsin Chevy, and the amused and amazed laughter of the brain-dead. A couple of minutes later, while the bombs are still bursting in air, and without dropping either the can of Budweiser from their hand or the Marlboro from their lips, another one goes off, this time flying over the parking lot – and all the dozens and dozens of cars parked there – and pops into a billion shards of hot cinder which rain down on your clear coat and open sunroofs to light gently on your leather upholstery. The cackle of the uneducated and unthinking, and someone will eventually cry out “OUCH! Day-um! I’m bernt!”
So, you can imagine my deep, stabbing disappointment to discover this year’s festivities have been canceled due to lack of funds.
Maybe next year.
Have a happy and safe Fourth of July weekend, everyone.
All original content copyright DarcKnyt, 2009
ALL Rights Reserved
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