Monday, September 11, 2006

If My Brother Is A Terrorist, Then I Am A Clown

Posted by PicasaEver dig up an old photo of your youth, and see a bit of prescience presented and just say "Hey! Look at that! How PRESCIENT!!!?"

I have.

This photo right here.

There is my brother, dressed up like a terrorist, and there is me, dressed up like a clown...

That GUY has definately been up to something!

If you only knew what I knew, you'd say the same thing...

We're sitting on camel saddles, in case you didn't notice. In our family, that was furniture. Camel saddles and leather harem pillows stuffed with straw. And other weird stuff my parents brought home from the outside world. Japanese Pachinko machines. South American blankets. Russian furry hats that made you say "dah" just because you thought you were supposed to say that wearing a Russian furry hat...

We had a beanbag chair that must have been eight feet in diameter...

You could dive into it as a kid from a height of about eight feet and not get hurt. You might never get out again. But you would never get hurt.

If my brother doesn't look like a terrorist, then nobody does. Osama Bin Laden looks like a choir boy compared to my brother. I mean, LOOK at those shifty eyes. That beard. The nervous posture of the hands....

That GUY has definately been up to something...

And indeed, that something involves gasoline, gun powder, shotgun shells and primers, candles, matches, and butane gas...

As far as that other little fella is concerned, if you haven't figured out that a clown befits the rapscallion that is he--at least in essence-- then you are new or haven't been paying attention.

I mean, that other little guy might not be the BEST thing to pull out of a volkswagon, but if you saw him with one of those clown noses wrapped around his middle like a weird G-string, you would definately laugh, right?

What I wanted to tell you about, is a couple of things my terrorist-in-training brother actually DID when he was a kid, and, before I do, I wanted to tell you that he is OK, and that he made it through alive...

My brother started lighting things on fire when he was about six. He started blowing things up a few years later, at about the age of nine.

Now, my parents aren't really aware of this. I've never told them. My sister has been hush hush as in, I-spy, and my brother, Steve the Terrorist-In-Training, would rather they concerned themselves with his kids' birthdays and soccer games than stuff like that...

But this picture brought back memories, and I want to share a few.

My brother once put together a nine foot catapult. It could sling a rock over the house across the street, and over the house that abutted that house, and over the street that house was on, and over the house on the other side of the street and into the backyard of someone who we didn't know that abutted that house.

I know this because when the cops came, we heard about it.

My brother tied an M-80 to the rock and modified the fuse to burn under intense speed. Then he pulled back his catapult, lit the fuse and let it fly.

It flew, baby. It really flew. We just saw it as a sparkly blur. Then we looked at each other and wondered where it went. About two hours later, my friend G came up to our house to tell us of the people who lived across from him and how the people who abutted them had taken an incoming round into their pool room, where they had a pool table. The explosive rock blew up right in the middle of a serous game of nine ball and right beneath the table.

The guy shooting, it was said, wanted a reshoot.

The balls had been mixed up so bad on the faulty shot that there was no way it was going to be allowed...

We just shrugged. Who knew nine ball rules at nine?

My brother once emptied a shotgun shell of all of its lead and gun powder. Sounds safe, right?

Wrong.

My brother got the bright idea that he wanted to melt lead. To do this, he lit a candle. To do this, he cut off all of the plastic portion of a shotgun shell and then poured the lead pellets back into the brass cap. He got a pair of needlenose pliers and held the brass cap of the now denuded shotgun shell over the flame.

My brother's reasoning was simple. The candle would heat the shotgun brass cap and then melt the lead.

Good thinking, right?

Ever hear of a primer?

It is a little pellet-sized unit filled with gunpowder. When you squeeze the trigger of a shotgun, a striker is released which hits the primer. The primer EXPLODES and sends a small fireball directly into a larger stash of gunpowder, which EXPLODES and pushes a plug and the cradled lead pellets out in a rush through the barrel.

Get it?

An explosion causes the rapid movement of lead pellets...

Now. What do you suppose would happen if a primer were held over a candle?

My sister-- who was baby-sitting us while my Mum nursed and my Pops flew-- heard the explosion as well as I. We rushed into my brother's room and found him, still holding the needlenose pliers, his hair badly singed and sticking straight up, his ceiling pockmarked by tiny lead shotgun pellets, his mind under duress...

"What the hell just happened?" he seemed to be thinking.

My sister was screaming the same thing...

And to punctuate her question, she decided that my brother needed kicking and whacking too.

Sandy was not usually this aggressive with her questions, but in this instance, I guess she felt justified since she had been left in charge, after all.

My brother seemed to think that the abuse was worth it since he wasn't dead.

I didn't know what to think. After about a minute, the unthinkable happened. It started to rain tiny lead pellets as the sheetrock began letting go of what they had been rudely asked to assimilate.

The whole room started to tinkle. It really was quite something.

My brother figured out that if he bought butane lighter refills, he could partially inhale the butane and then blow it out across an open flame like Gene Simmons of KISS, and a five foot flame would leave his mouth dragon-like and fill the air.

He was practicing one night while in bed. Above him was a metal and string mobile my Pops had given him as a gift. Little airplanes bouncing around on little sticks and nylon strings. My brother had the thought that heat would rise and make the planes dance. He inhaled butane and blew across a lighter. Something went wrong. That something was the odd physically properties of nylon strings. When you blow a flame across them, they melt. Airplanes held aloft by the laws of physics and flight tend to stay aloft if airspeed is kept to a minimum and the plane is sound. Airplanes held aloft by nylons strings that have suddenly melted tend to fall from the sky.

The whole room started to tinkle. It was really something...

My brother made a three inch cannon out of a piece of pipe and lots of electrical tape. He loaded it with six shotgun shells worth of gun powder. He found a steel ball and inserted it after wadding into the pipe. He showed G and I his latest thing and set it against a two by six which made up the top rung of a planter box. He aimed it at our back fence, which was made with one by twelves. He lit it. We never saw what came out of it. The planter box had been blown apart. A fencing board just snapped in two right before our very eyes. We saw no steel ball. We just saw a board snap in half and fall off the fence.

Shiiiiiiii.........iiiiT!

Is what we all said.

My brother liked to put a tray of water on the ground and launch coffee cans into the air by exploding things inside them. The can would fly up twenty or thirty feet in the air and come down with a tinny bang. It was like that. Big bang. Tinny bang.

Big bang. Tinny bang...

Big bang. Tinny bang.

My brother did this over and over.

Once, some metal was strung off the coffee can. I think it was a metal fishing leader holding onto a feather, or something. My brother was always into "effects". The can was fired in the air. The can went up about as high as the uppermost power line and then wrapped over it and settled on the line beneath it.

A big blue egg was seen right before the power went out in our neighborhood.

Whose coffee can?

Don't know.

We don't drink coffee...

My brother soaked a kite string in some kind of flammable liquid (I think it was the stuff in a sterno can, he LOVED those) and then flew the kite way up and then lit the string. A flame raced up the string and we all thought "cool" until the kite burst into flames and fell on a neighbors' house which had a shake shingle roof, which in the summer is very flammable...

Holy crap!

We ran and put the fire out with our neighbors' hose.

No ma'm. I have no idea why those shingles are blacker than all the rest...

My brother got a hold of twelve sticks of dynamite as a teenager, and went fishing.

But that's for another day...

4 comments:

DaisyJo said...

Your brother's middle name wouldn't happen to be "Lucky", would it?

I found myself laughing and holding my breath for him at the same time. Good stories!

Blondie said...

This is one of the funniest posts I've seen in quite some time.

I wish I could comment on everything substantial in this post, but that would turn this comment into a blog itself.

I am also resisting the urge to send your link to everyone I know...

Hilarious. Great job.

Stucco said...

I wanna meet your brother. I think he may be a kindred spirit. Certainly we both enjoy explosions. I used to modify my Estes rockets into ICBM's. I'd invented MIRV's quite by accident long before the military folks. I was given copious amounts of black powder in my formative years. That was back when no one asked questions when a kid bought M-80's and bulk waterwick fuse. What I would've given for some detcord...

amusing said...

Oh my god, you look just like the Youngest in that snap -- even the smile. If he gets up to even half of what you.... oh, lord, how am I going to cope?

(beats having a munitions expert as a son, I guess...)



[We love our pachinko machines!]