My Fourth of July–2010

7 Jul

I had a good Fourth. I’d say it was strong. Quite, quite strong. You wanna hear about it? Of course you do.

Close up of my eye. It is closed. Suddenly, it opens.

I’m in my underwear, wrapped like a man-burrito in a comforter on my friend Sam’s couch. I am in Denton, Texas–roughly one hour from my home in Waxahachie. I will need to reach Waxahachie for festivities. Quietly, I get off the couch, allowing the comforter to fall to my feet. I pause for a minute, imagining how sexy that might have looked. It’s only a “might have” because my hair looks like an animal you see sleeping in the middle of the highway with its insides on the outside [Editor’s Note: That’s a bit graphic. Think you could tone it down?] [Kyle’s Note: Yea, how about this.] It’s only a “might have” because my hair looks like an Ewok that flew face first into a wood chipper. [Editor’s Note: Infinitely worse.]

I got home and ate a delightful brunch with my family. Soon thereafter, my parents tell me that they’re going to go to Barnes & Noble and buy some books. I roll my eyes at their extravagance (I have to write my own books.). As they’re walking out the door, I hear them bicker a bit, softly. My mother keeps prodding my father back into the house. He looks to me wearily and then reaches into his wallet, removing a few bills.

“Would you like to go buy the fireworks?” He swallows hard and holds the bills out to me. I reach for them. For a moment, my father resists relinquishing the money to me–but I get it. I get the money. “C–careful, son.”

The fireworks store is a retrofitted warehouse, the interior walls lined with shelves of fireworks. There is an island in the middle of the store where the more expensive fireworks are kept. When I walk in, I look to the largest cannon in my field of vision, raise my hand, and, forming my fingers into a gun, make an audible clicking noise. A few of the staff make note of me. I leisurely flip a Zippo lighter on and off as I pass.

The shelves are set away from the patrons via a waist-high chain link fence. Those seeking the explosive-art are required to ask the staff to get the fireworks they want. In another attempt to frighten the workers, I continually refer to the fireworks as “materials.” At one point, I ask an older employee if the M-80’s he’s selling are “combat ready.” When he asks for clarification, I simply touch the tip of my nose and then point to him.

I bought a variety of exploding things.

When I return home with my combustible bounty, there is much celebration–mainly from the cats. Mainly the cats all celebrate. They all celebrate in silence with their glassy, unflinching eyes–with their bodies that sit motionless except for the rising and falling of their abdomens–the exchange of godless breath.

“Hey kee-kees!” I scream, dropping the fireworks in a heap and scurrying about from cat to cat. They are bounding fearfully before me. I spend the next forty-five minutes playing 52-Cat Pickup, wherein I try to see how many cats I can hold in my arms at once.

By the time I’m done getting my stitches, it’s almost ten o’clock. It’s time to rock. It’s time to get America all over the sky’s ass.

“Sky!” I scream, slamming the door behind me, stepping with exaggerated grandiosity onto the back porch, making small explosion sounds with every succeeding step. “Sky! You’ve been sitting up there, high and mighty, for far too long! We’re all sick of you looking down on us! Looking down on us with your stars and your clouds and your sneak preview of God’s anus.” I’m a bit startled to find my father sitting in a lawn chair by the pool.

“God’s anus?” He asks, his voice tinged in as much confusion as disgust.

“Yea,” I reply. “The sun.”

My father gathers his drink from the small table at his side and walks into the house. Through the glass on the door, I see the soundless images of my mother and father speaking. My father seems to be angry. My mother seems to be apologizing for something or someone. I sigh heavily and hang my head. I know what they’re talking about.

Alone now except for the old family dog resting at my feet, I look up to the sky. In the expanse around me, far away and everywhere, there is the jubilant and distant sound of children laughing. I smile at the sound, but after a moment, the smile fades a bit as I find myself envying them. I reach down and gently stroke the old dog’s head, his coat more faded now, more matted. I turn to go inside, but as I do, the door swings open. It is my father. In his arms he holds the fireworks I bought and some more that he must have purchased himself.

“Let’s show that sky what’s what,” he says, the whiteness of his grin visible even in the evening dark.

Happy Belated Fourth.

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