Drunken Debauchery and Explosives

So, I'm out here in The Boondocks for the weekend and it's the Fourth of July, so you know there's a lot of beer and fireworks being combined all around the neighborhood.

My Wife went to see her momma, leaving me here to take care of this place all by myself for three days before I have to head back to the job. So, basically I only came home this weekend for the big party.

At 3 pm a knock came at my back door. It was the neighbor. "Hey, we're heading over to the party. You gonna follow us over?"

"Sure," I said, grabbing my cooler loaded with Shiner Blondes on ice as I headed out the door.

The house with the party was located about 3 blocks from our street, right across the street from a house we very nearly bought. I looked over at that house briefly before deciding that I was glad I hadn't bought it. Whomever was living there now was about to be subjected to an all-night drunken explosionfest with a live band. I seriously doubted that they were going to be happy about it. The band only knows 4 songs and they play them over and over, with random chaotic jamming in between.

So anyway, I opened my first Shiner beer at approximately 3:30 pm. The band started up right away, even though the guitar player/lead singer was out back cooking burgers and brats and the backup guitarist was in the driveway talking to me. So basically it was just a drummer and a bass player, but Lord how that percussion carries.

More and more people continued arriving for the next 2 hours. One proud daddy brought his son with him to show off the 2 brand new Harleys he had bought, one for himself and one for his son. I hated to tell him, but I thought his son's bike was the cooler of the two. Lucky kid. I can only imagine what it must be like to have a dad who loves his son enough to spend that kind of money on him.

Several beers later and the food was ready. I got way too much of it, but I didn't realize it until I had reached the end of the food line and saw how much was on my plate, that I had overloaded. I don't know a polite way to say "I got too much. Here, let me scrape some food back into there so somebody else can eat it" so I didn't. I sat there and tried to eat it all real slowly, while drinking a lot of beer to go with it and listening to the band.

Every group has it's one wild-assed motherfucker who will do or say absolutely anything and can somehow always get away with it. In this group, the wild motherfucker is That Guy. He stands about 6'4" with a full head of solid white hair. He just has a way of saying things that no one in their right mind should say, and then giving you this look, like 'whaaaaaaat'. He's hilarious. So naturally I ended up spending a lot of time hanging around with him. He drank a fair amount. And he brought about $1000 worth of explosives to the party with the full intention of blowing the shit out of the whole neighborhood before the night was over. That Guy was my kinda guy.


At one point I noticed a blonde girl who was sitting and watching a NASCAR race with her man. She had big blue eyes, thick blonde hair, and a laugh that just said "let's party!" When she smiled and laughed her eyes laughed, too. She had awesome eyes. I can't explain it. There was just something about her. She looked just like a girl I went to high school with named Julie Reny. I liked her instantly. But so did her husband, obviously, so I didn't sit and watch too much NASCAR, or blonde girl. But they were an interesting couple. They struck me as the people who probably won "most popular" or "most likely to burn down the school" back in high school and had been together ever since. They just seemed like the cool kids, only all grown up.

Several beers later I became aware that things were being blown up outside. So, not wanting to miss the destruction, I ran out the back door to see what was happening. It was still early and the guys setting off the various fireworks insisted that they were "just testing" before the main event. I knew what that meant. It meant they couldn't stand to wait any longer and were going ahead and blowing some shit up even though it wasn't fully dark yet. As I sat on the back porch watching the 'testing' I began to look around and realize just how much explosives were back there. The entire back porch was stacked to the ceiling with boxes and boxes of explosives. Holy Mother of Dog, this was a lot of fireworks!

Eventually it got dark. Everyone gathered around the back of the house to watch the show. About 6 guys were assigned the job of lighting everything off, mostly because they had spent the most money buying the biggest and best devices, but also because several of them were sober enough to be safely blowing shit up. Or so we hoped.

The backyard wasn't entirely well suited to launching airborne explosives. The ground wasn't level. So the mortars tended to lean just a bit. And as the night went on and the constant loading and reloading continued, the mortars began to heat up and lean even more. Eventually one of them fell over just as it was about to fire.

BOOM! A gigantic mortar shell was fired due west into the fence. BOOM! The shell exploded with brilliant white flame and sparks, setting the fence and yard on fire. The fire didn't last long though, so no one worried too much about it. We were all intoxicated enough by now to find almost anything short of the loss of a human limb to be hilarious.

BOOM! Another mortar fired off as it fell over, launching a huge explosive shell straight backwards into the midst of all of us happy spectators. We dove every which way as the shell hit the hot tub and exploded. Ironically, the person who nearly lost his head to the errant shell was the homeowners' insurance agent, who had insisted that he had never been there and didn't see a thing when the first mortar fell over and set the fence on fire.

The fireworks crew had a rhythm going now. They were managing to light off several mortars simultaneously so that we had a constant barrage of lights and colors going off. But this also meant that we had a constant barrage of errant shells every now and then as the occasional mortar tube fell over. One was, unfortunately, a multi-shot battery, which fired continuously due west into the fence again, sending the fireworks crew scrambling to get out of the way before they, too, were set on fire like the fence was. Finally someone managed to upright the battery again before the entire load was spent.

As our personal fireworks show was going, all around us, across the lake and beyond the trees, we could see other neighbors launching their fireworks, too. Some of them were hugely impressive. It was clear that this neighborhood's inhabitants took the fireworks tradition very seriously.

BOOM! Another mortar went due west and this time it was a really big one. It went right over the fence and into the neighbors' backyard. When it exploded it filled their entire yard with white light and flames so that we could see the whole yard clearly.

"Are those neighbors at home?" someone asked of our host.

"No, but their dogs are," the host replied "and I THINK they were both in the backyard earlier tonight."

"Um, I don't see them there now."

BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! Our fireworks crew was on a roll now. Someone mentioned that this party had a tradition of producing the best fireworks show in the entire neighborhood, but apparently last year the doctor and lawyer who live at the end of my street had outdone them all. They were determined that this should not happen again this year. That Guy had taken it personally and spent a small fortune buying the very best explosives. He assured us that he had a grand finale prepared that would outdo anything anyone else might come up with.

My beer was empty and I was feeling happy. Pieces of shrapnel were falling from the sky and hitting me as I sat in my chair lazily watching several thousand dollars worth of ATF-unapproved explosives being set off by slightly intoxicated men. The smoke was steadily building until we couldn't even see the guys lighting the fireworks anymore. They had completely disappeared behind the wall of Al-Gore-infuriating white smoke.

Every now and then one of the mortar shells simply didn't function properly. 3 in a row exploded either in the mortar tube while still on the ground, or else barely 6 feet above the ground. This got the fireworks crew slightly excited, as premature mortar explosions were showering them with fire and pieces of destroyed mortar tubes.

Someone commented that the mortar tubes were overheating. Someone else shouted "look out!" A mortar shell fired southwest, arcing over the neighbors' house and exploding in their driveway between their 2 cars.

"Oh hell, that's not good!" our host said, and went off to check on the results.

Finally it was time for the grand finale. The fireworks crew set up 8 big batteries of multishot launchers. Then they lit all 8 of them at the same time. The batteries began machine-gunning the sky with some of the biggest and brightest shells of the entire night. It looked like a million dollar show from where we were sitting. It was spectacular! And it just kept going and going.

By the time it was over there was so much smoke that not a one of us could see anything. So we just sat there laughing and talking until we could see well enough to move into the driveway and reload ourselves with fresh beers. When the rest of the smoke had finally cleared enough to see our surroundings better, I became aware that our host had returned. And also, there was a big blond dog standing right in the middle of us looking a little shaken up.

"Is this your neighbors' dog?" someone asked.

"Ooooh, the poor thing! He's got burs all in his fur and he looks scared to death," someone else observed, petting the nervous dog. "I think he must have dived into the nearest bushes when his yard exploded and then leaped the fence."

"There's actually 2 of them," our host said, "but I couldn't see any sign of the other one. I think he must have just taken off into the woods."

Eventually someone took the dog home and placed him back inside the now safe and non-burning fence. We all wandered back into the house. My neighbor had brought several exotic beers he wanted us to sample and so we gathered around him in the kitchen. He had a million different ones and he read to us the exact alcoholic content of each one prior to pouring us our sample. They were all really good, but by the time we drank the last one, some California brew called Double Bastard, I began to realize that some of us were a whole lot drunker than we had been before, and some of us were getting really wild.


I'm sure this would get me fired as the president of Harvard, but I believe it's generally true that women tend to get drunk faster than men do, given the same quantity of alcohol. At least, that's been my observation. And this party was no exception. Things were getting funnier the drunker we all got. Cameras came out and then some boobies did, too. It was all in good fun, though. For some reason, once highly inebriated, the women became convinced that taking group photos was now the most important thing we could possibly do. So we were lining up in various groups, doing drunken things (flashing boobs) and taking pictures. There is one particularly interesting picture in which our hostess has her arm wrapped up under That Guy's crotch and is reaching her forearm up like an enormous penis. She was laughing so hard as she did this that she nearly passed out from lack of air.

flash boobs
Thank God for alcohol!

Some people, and I don't know why this is, become incredibly serious when stoned, like everything they have to say is totally fucking important. One guy in this group likes to talk politics when he's drunk, which is especially awkward because he has to get right up in your face in order to see you, as drunk people often do. So there he is, right in my face, wanting to argue about the President or Iraq or the economy or whatever, and he's drunk off his ass. Worse still, so am I, only politics is the last fucking thing I want to talk about when I'm drunk and there is a party going on. All around us, drunk women are flashing boobs and taking pictures and here is this guy wanting me to focus my attention on him and talk about why gas costs so much. Meanwhile, his wife is buzzing and getting mad at him. He wants to hug on her, but she pushes him away, commenting on how she knows how he gets and she doesn't want to deal with that right now. He's standing there saying "what? what?" like he has no idea what she's talking about, but he has one of those faces that gives him away when he's lying, and you can tell that he knows exactly what she means. I was just relieved that the whole political debate was over, even if it required a little marital tension in the air to do it.


As the tension eased and the wild and sometimes dirty photos continued, I began to become aware that someone was getting friendlier and friendlier with me. I assume it was alcohol-induced, but as I was under the influence myself, I wasn't entirely able to say. I had to think about it for a few minutes, either because my brain was swimming in beer or because I was briefly tempted, but then I decided to wander back outside where I could hear some music from a few of the band members and some loud talking.

Once outside I saw a beautiful woman running around carrying a laptop computer and trying to get the members of the band to listen to some song she had queued up. She was convinced that if they would just play this song and adopt the sound as their own then they would be rockstars. And she was highly insistent about it. The drummer and the bass player were grinning and randomly firing off some noise while she struggled with the computer, apparently just to annoy her. She was the builder who built half the houses on my street, as it turns out, and so everyone at the party knew her. Most of us were living in her houses and she had at one time lived four houses down from my house, only before I had moved there.

Anyway, referring back to the part where I said "some people get incredibly serious when stoned", this woman with the laptop was damned determined that these guys were going to listen to this music she had and try to play it because if they would they'd be ten times better and then we wouldn't have to listen to the same four songs over and over anymore. It was a noble effort, but alas it was in vain. Once she was finally able to get the song to play, the expressions on the guys faces made it clear that while the song was impressive, the level of skill required to duplicate it was a bit above their current abilities.

While all of this was going on, one of the band members, our previously randy hostess who took a lot of photos and raised her arm up between That Guy's legs like a giant erection, was clearly experiencing a state of high inebriation. She seemed unable to play a single note, and was having an enormous amount of difficulty with her hat, which kept falling off her head. Each time she reached down to pick it up again it appeared as if she was going to fall face down onto the floor. Finally, when she had had enough of fighting with the hat, she carefully took off her guitar, gently placed it on its' stand, and walked very slowly back into the house.

From here on, I decided to come down from my high mental state and start getting ready to go home. I had been there since 3:30 and it was now after midnight. Once I had sobered up I realized that I had left my cat, Stinky, locked inside the house without a litterbox. It had now been over 9 hours. I was not looking forward to what I was likely going to find once I returned home, but the thought was highly sobering.

Anyway, I drove home in the suddenly foggy and damp night to find Little Girl on the back porch in a fireworks-induced panic. I opened the back door and let her in. As I did so, Stinky shot out. I searched the house and found not a trace of poo or pee, much to my relief. Then I stripped off my clothes and collapsed into bed.

And now for some Fourth of July fun ...

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