Independence Day was spent on a family farm in the middle of northern Wisconsin. A cousin and a friend of his shelled out about $900 in fireworks, and put on a fireworks show over the corn field. But that was not the most interesting part of that evening. The fun part was once the fireworks were over. The group split into two teams. I was teamed up with my wife’s uncle and one cousin and a couple other guys. The rest spread out across the barnyard, most of them hiding behind the large red barn, and 1 behind the grain bin. And everyone had several handfuls of Roman Candles.
Like in Foy, at the tail end of the Battle of the Bulge, the Germans were occupying the village, with snipers in the buildings, behind them for cover, etc. My team had to go across open ground to hit them behind their cover. I tried to direct traffic by sending one guy around the right side of the barn, another guy around a drainage ditch where he’d have a good field of fire, and me and the uncle up the middle, using the grain bin as cover. I made 3 mistakes:
* The uncle was drunk.
* The two guys running the flank maneuvers were teenaged idiots.
* I wasn’t entirely sure who was on my team.
The last became evident when I was leaning against the grain bin, lighting a Roman candle. A guy in a white t-shirt was walking up behind me. All of a sudden, I realized I was being shot in the ass. I quickly ran around behind the grain bin. This basically gave the entire side a complete line of fire on me. And I was basically cornered, like in a firing squad. Unfortunately, there was no Captain Spears to come in and hold the line and reorganize us. At this point, it was every man for himself.
And then it hit me. Literally. A Roman candle shot in the arm. While checking myself out, I was shot at by more Roman candles, but these were different. It took me a few seconds to register the fact that these were exploding when they got near me. Jesus….someone bought the upgraded EXPLODING Roman candles, and was firing them at people! Saying to myself, “fuck this noise,” I ran back to a position of safety…that being where all the kids are. That was one constant, nobody would fire near the kids. I kind of pulled a Saddam Hussein on that one.
Within minutes, everyone was out of Roman candles. Everyone, that is, except my 10 year old daughter. I was walking around picking up the discharged candles, when I see my wife handing her one and lighting it, and pointing at me. And with a gleam in her eye visible through her protective eyeware, Thing 1 charged at me with verve and vigor, firing SURPRISINGLY accurate shots right near my head. I managed to get cover behind the barn, at which point she ran out of ammo.
Fireworks are fun. Fireworks with audience participation are funner.