just watch the fireworks.


the fourth of july is coming up. most of us are expecting that our uncle tim will buy a giant package of fireworks for us to light off on the actual day. when i was younger, he'd always buy the family special, or tnt special, whatever they were called. they'd usually include a bunch of sparklers, pagodas, smoke bombs, and other things that just shot up colorful sparks into the air. my mom would always shake her head at us. "what a waste of money," she'd say. any time i purchased some with my own money, she'd tell me, "you might as well just burn your money now."

one time, i saved a pack of smoke bombs and kept them for almost a year, maybe more. i was saving them in case i would be faced with some end-of-the-world scenario, in which smoke bombs would help me escape. i'd drop them, ninja-style, and disappear with great stealth as the marines commandeered our home. my family and friends would have been taken hostage, and i'd be forced to survive in the wilderness, muttering to myself, "if only they had kept their smoke bombs, too..."

of course, the apocalypse never came, so i wondered what to do with my smoke bombs. i set some off in the backyard by myself on a sunny afternoon. i had one remaining smoke bomb, a purple one, and i wondered what to do with it. i didn't want it to just go to waste. i decided that i would light it, then launch it with my slingshot out into oblivion. as soon as i did, though, i realized that the authorities might consider a smoking projectile a deadly weapon. i might serve time for this. quickly, i scrambled into the house and shut all the doors behind me. they couldn't trace it back to me, right? what if it broke a window, or hit someone in the head? it could've killed that person! could they dust a smoke bomb for fingerprints? these thoughts lingered through my head, and i became disappointed that my cowardice had prevented me from seeing the rise of purple smoke over neighbors' fences.

byron's dad, ron, used to provide us with the illegal fireworks. as far as i know, illegal fireworks are anything that are launched into the air, such as bottle rockets, or smoke bombs fired from slingshots. ron had plenty of bottle rockets. he and others warned us to stay as far away as possible when he lit them. we'd watch as the colorful sparks shot off and exploded thirty, forty feet from the ground. i never got to light one off. ron also provided plenty of firecrackers, also ruled illegal. my cousin rich would open one up, and light up the gunpowder. it would burn up instantaneously, and we enjoyed watching this. i preferred it, anyway, to the loud bang they normally caused.

from the front yard of the rosemont house, we would watch the capital christian fireworks display. on the corner of rosemont and mayhew, we certainly had the best view. we set up lawn chairs on the driveway and waited for the first colorful explosion. "when's it gonna start?" someone would eventually ask. an uncle or aunt almost always responded, "when it gets dark." "but it's dark already." "it's not that dark yet." and shortly after this, it would begin. all of us would sit there, silently gazing upward. after an over-top finale of explosions, one of us would sarcastically remark, "that's it?" my mom would sometimes say, "all right. until next year."

but for the past four years, capital christian hasn't set off any fireworks. supposedly, this is because of all the new homes built around the surrounding area. it's just as well. i think we've seen enough explosions and smoke already.

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