The Chinese may have discovered gunpowder a long time ago; but my 4 boys and the rest of the boys in the neighbourhood go wind of it yesterday.
As the school holidays are upon us there are many activities to excite the inquiring mind. Hand made weapons spring to mind; the likes of – sling shots, bow and arrow, spears, swords and an all time favorite since yesterday: bombs.
The combination of 8 boys between the ages of 8 and 14 is explosive enough, but add a home made bomb and the air is electric.
The anticipation of the event was thick in the air.
First and for-most: Don’t let Mum know. Well my 8-year-old blabber-mouth took care of that one. Next: get plenty of money. It’s all for one and one for all in these circumstances, and with 3 of the participants with part-time jobs and a bit of haggling with other parents they were ‘loaded’ to use the vernacular of the blabber-mouth
A trip to the shop was proposed, to buy caps. These caps are made for toy cap guns and come with about .001g (if that) of gunpowder in a pack of 144. When there are 8 small inconspicuous characters staging their visits to the shop and buying up big, the quantities increase dramatically. At the last count there were well over 600 caps.
Planing is all-important in a situation like this. Top of the list the bomb had to be named. I did hear the name of squijjy being mentioned. A suitable receptacle was needed and Maccas’ came to the rescue here. A discarded plastic toy was used. Next the safety gear was assembled. A motorcycle helmet for the explosive expert seemed sufficient enough in these conditions Now the toy was packed to the gills (literally) and some masking tape was fastened to the underbelly. The last thing needing to be done was a reconnoiter of the explosion site. All this took the best part of the day so the show would have to wait until the next day. Overnight there were a variety of discussions on how and when and where. I proffered a small incidental talk at the tea table on the need for safety when dealing with dangerous substances, in relation to fireworks of course. At this stage the players didn’t know I knew the plan. I was undercover so to speak.
The next day dawned.
As the crew assembled around the house the anticipation was thick in the air. When all the players had arrived or just happened to be passing by the house and thought they would drop in, they trooped off into the nearby scrub.
Then I heard an almighty bang. No doubt the plastic toy was sent to heaven.
A little while later one of my little darlings comes in and says off the cuff. "Did you hear a bang?" I feigned ignorance and inquire as to the why and wherefore. Then the excitement boils over and the whole story comes out. Apparently the explosive expert put the toy on a rock and gave the thing a hummungus wack with a shovel. The force of the blast made the shovel fly back to the delight of the crowd. The toy was blown to smithereens. The hullabaloo was heard right down the street. One or two of the neighbours who are usually reserved ‘keep to yourself’ types came out to investigate; but didn’t see anything to comment upon went about their collective business.
And the sweetener for Mum – "We all stood well back and no one got hurt."