Thursday, December 30, 2010

Weapons of Mass Destruction

The fireworks stand was set up in the church parking lot. It came loaded with sparklers, firecrackers, rockets, and an assortment of smoking, fizzing, chasing, popping, screaming weapons of mass destruction. At least that’s how things ended up.

It was Friday night. Grady and Goober were in the stand. The crowd had been light but steady. The Catholic church across the street was humming along with their Friday night Mass service. Since it was New Year’s Eve, more than the usual crowd of participants crammed into the small chapel.

Father Hannigan had begun the service with a hymn arrangement by the children’s choir and they were now finding their way to sit with their parents. The altar boys were taking their places to assist in the dispensing of the wafers and wine.

Gertrude Peters and her three boys drove up to the stand and began to gather together a large cache of fireworks. “Get me some of those Roman Candles, bottle rockets and a box of Cherry Bombs.,” Gertrude said. The boys’ eyes bugged as Goober laid each request on the counter.

“What’s that over there?” she asked.

Grady got down the display box labeled Shock and Awe. “What’s that do?” she asked.

“Pretty much about everything that all you got over there does, except all at the same time,” Grady said. “It’s got these rockets with bombs stuck on the sides, then these chasers jump off and sparklers go off and firecrackers start popping. It’s quite a ruckus. It’ll light up the whole sky.”

“I can’t imagine anything doing all that,” Gertrude said.

“Want to see one?” Goober asked.

“Goober, we ain’t supposed to let off any fireworks in town,” Grady answered. “You know that. Anyway, remember what happened last time, when the bell tower got burned down?”

“Yeah, but that was an accident,” Goober said. “This is on purpose.”

The fuse burned quickly and the rocket exploded into the air. It rose in a whoosh and as it did it dropped sparks everywhere as it went up. The fuses of the other rockets still in the box grabbed what sparks they could and ignited.  Not being aimed in any particular fashion, they shot off in every direction.

When the bombs on the first one went off, the earth shook. The sky lit up with each successive explosion…so did the Catholic church. Seems three of the other rockets shot over to the church and crashed through the stained glass windows and did their mischief inside the chapel. People were evacuating from every opening they could find.

When the assault died down, Father Hannigan rushed outside, his robe in flames from sparks burning holes all the way through the fabric to his skin. His hair was singed down to his scalp. He looked over at the fireworks stand. It was closed and deserted. Down the street he could see the quickly disappearing tail lights of Goober’s truck and Mrs. Peters’ car.

Weapons of Mass destruction, indeed.

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