Folks, we should have called it a day when we signed our citations. But, we didn’t. We were just getting started. After all the excitement, I’m sure the old busybody on the northeast corner of Oak and Maple was all tuckered out and down for a nap. If she was, she didn’t stay there.
Shotgun shells have a quantity of gunpowder that Pete figured we could use. He had seen it on TV, whereby some genius of a guy had used the black substance as a fuse to ignite a larger pile of gunpowder, creating an explosion. Pete didn’t want an explosion to blow up the gopher, but he figured that burning gasoline would be more toxic than just the fumes that were confined to the gopher’s underground home. It sounded plausible to me.
Pete and I began opening up the shotgun shells and dumping the double-aught buck into a bag and the black powder into a bowl. The bag were were going to throw away. The bowl of gunpowder we were going to use. It didn’t take us long to go through both boxes of shells, two beers apiece and the remainder of the bag of pork rinds did the trick.
We strolled confidently to the area where we had poured the unleaded into the ground. I lifted the board covering the hole. The smell of gasoline was overpowering. Pete quickly poured a small portion of gunpowder into the hole and I quickly replaced the board. He then began pouring a line in the grass back towards the patio. There was just enough to make it to where we sat. As I went for another beer for each of us Pete went in search of a box of matches.
Once we got settled Pete looked over at me with that confident smile plastered on his face. He fingered a match from the box and struck it along the side of the box. The end of the wooden stick burst into flame. He touched it to the black powder on the ground. The line of fire that flared and danced through the grass was just like you might see in the movies. It didn’t explode all at once, but hissed and burned quickly across Pete’s backyard. When it reached the hole the resulting explosion tossed us from our chairs.
I’m sure the busybody on the northeast corner of Oak and Maple was on the phone with 911 before the air cleared. You see, the explosion was most likely heard for many blocks in all directions. The grass and dirt that was forced skyward eventually returned to earth. It rained down all around us. Our hearing was greatly diminished, and when we could sit up again and look around one thing was obvious. Pete’s back fence was gone.
Do you remember that when we had returned from our trip to the store that I had parked in the alley? There wasn’t a window left in my car. The glass was gone and the paint was scorched. I’m still fighting with the insurance company about that. Looking around, we could see that every window at the rear of Pete’s house had been blown inward. I looked toward ds my home. The fence that separated our properties was leaning precariously outward, into my yard.
I feared for my well-being. Eventually, I knew that my wife was going to return. She’s a force to be reckoned with when she’s mad. What I didn’t know at the time was that she and Martha were pulling into Pete’s driveway at the very moment that the ground shook and the air filled with sound, grass, and dirt. Needless to say, Pete and I are no longer allowed to play together.
I would really like to tell you that this is where the story ended, but I can’t. After the wives surveyed the damage and satisfied themselves that we were unharmed, they scolded Pete and me like fifth grade boys who had just been caught sneaking out of the house in the middle of the night. Fortunately for us, the fire department showed up to save us from our wives, but not before that same damned sergeant got there. That old busybody on the northeast corner of Oak and Maple sure is quick with the phone. And that sergeant isn’t far behind her. I wish he would have hauled us off to jail that day, but he didn’t. He left us to fend for ourselves against two very pissed-off wives.
Pete said it was three days before there was any peace around his house. I told him he was lucky. It was closer to a week for me. I didn’t think women could get that mad. I was wrong. The neighbors still don’t speak to us, and like I said, the insurance company is being a real hard case over the matter. They’re siting some clause that I’m sure no one ever reads when they sign up for the overpriced insurance that we all have to have. Did I mention that the wife was mad? I’m going to hear about this little incident for many more years. You can take that to the bank.
After we had surveyed all the damage in Pete’s backyard we walked over to look at the fence. A few broken posts and we figured we’d have that patched up in no time at all.
When I looked into my backyard I fell to my knees and began to sob uncontrollably. My wife was on the phone with 911, calling for an ambulance for me, before Pete could assure her that medical attention was not needed. You see, when I looked into my yard, it’s not as nice as Pete’s used to be, but it is still my pride and joy, I saw something I had spent years from occurring. There, in the middle of my yard, in the very center of all that beautiful green grass was a small mound of dirt being pushed into a pile from below. The gopher was now mine.
Good night, Mrs. Jackson, wherever you are.