Do They Still Make Cherry Bombs?

Posted on Monday 4 July 2011

My dog Rouletta hasn’t done her business in two days. What business she has done has been done in a corner of her dog bed because she won’t step a paw outside.

Thank you dear neighbors who have reduced my otherwise sweet and house-trained pup into a shaking, shivering and panting disaster in serious need of doggie drugs. Thank you China or any other country that mass produces meaningless and worthless blasting devices under the guise of “fireworks.”

Someone, anyone, please tell me what is the point of these tiny, dangerous and annoyingly loud explosives? Professional fireworks mesmerize in their brilliant and multi-colored splendor, enthralling everyone at professional celebrations. Buy-’em-by-the-bag “bombs” tossed at will into the street, over my fence and onto my front yard are nothing more than pieces of crap lobbed by the same.

Then again, I was once saved by a cherry bomb.

I was 11 years old that Halloween, too old to be trick-or-treating and too young not to give it one last chance for a pillowcase full of Milk Duds, Mary Janes, and wax candy lips. My girlfriend of the same age joined me, and we happily trooped around the neighborhood dressed as “hobos.” Within an hour our sacks were three-quarters full. The sun had long ago set. Time to head home.

“Get ‘em!” came a voice-cracking cry from a masked adolescent boy with his gangly posse in tow.

“RG duck!” screamed my friend.

Pop, pop, pop all around us.

“RG run!” screamed my friend, as more invisible pops cascaded around us.

But where to go? How fast could we really run in our baggy costumes, carrying heavy sacks of candy?

And suddenly, there it was, the scary house of the neighborhood. The one with the curtains perpetually drawn, peeling paint on every surface, and mysterious residents who were never seen and forever unknown.

Pop. Pop. Pop.

We were sobbing as we banged on the splinter-laden front door and frantically rang the doorbell.

“What the hell?” yelled an old man clad in overalls as he peered out of his front door that he’d opened only an inch.

Pop. Pop. Pop.

“Help us!” cried my friend.

The old man stared long and hard at us.

“Please,” she begged.

Pop. Pop. Pop.

“Okay, inside,” he said, clearly put out by the candy-toting hobos who’d landed on his front doorstep.

Even in my panic, I could only stare as we stood in the scary house’s living room. Except for the heavy curtains, the room was completely bare. Not a chair, not a lamp, not a table. Nothing.

“They’re chasing us,” wailed my friend.

I could only nod in agreement, being rendered completely unable to speak.

“Oh yeah?” said the old man. “Wait here.”

He shuffled down a dark hallway, leaving us alone in the dark living room for hours that were only 30 seconds.

Pop. Pop. Pop.

“They’re waiting for us!” sobbed my shaking friend as we clung to each other.

“I’ll take care of it,” muttered the old man as he shuffled back into the room.

With that, he snapped open a lighter, lit a hand full of round somethings, opened the front door and tossed whatever he’d lit into his weed-laden, overgrown front yard.

Boom. Boom. Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. BOOM.

Ever heard an adolescent boy scream? That night I heard five of them cry like girls as they scattered and took off running, screaming to each other, “Cherry bombs!”

We just stared at our rescuer, both dumbfounded and aghast. And incredibly grateful.

“You can go,” mumbled the old man.

We couldn’t move.

“Now!” he almost barked.

“Yes sir,” said my friend, startled back to life.

“Sir,” was all I could manage to say.

He held the door open just wide enough for us to squeeze through. The moment we were on the front porch, he slammed the door behind us. I could hear the turning of multiple locks.

We were alone, the firecracker boys as far away as their awkward lanky legs could carry them in the few minutes that had passed.

And we still had our candy.

Happy Fourth of July stupid neighbors. This cherry bomb memory is all for you.

9 Comments for 'Do They Still Make Cherry Bombs?'

  1.  
    Jennifer
    July 4, 2011 | 10:08 pm
     

    Here in Houston we’re 15 1/2 inches of rain under where we should be, ergo the Harris County Commissioners decided to ban ALL fireworks. My joy knows no bounds because I live in a neighborhood of pyromaniacs. It’s currently 9:05, and I fully expect that I’ll ring the sheriff’s office at least once before midnight because the siren call of the firework knows no laws. I feel for Rouletta: when my “best of breeds” pup Milady was still with me we’d just leave town and go to my parents’ house for both the 4th and New Years. They at least had SOME regulations. All that said, here’s to your neighbor for knowing what can instill fear and terror into the heart of a teenaged boy.

  2.  
    July 5, 2011 | 5:26 am
     

    Poor Lorna Doone used to go completely crazy from fireworks booms and blasts and shrieks. She’d get this panting, hopeless look on her face begging me to make it stop, and then she’d try to climb in my lap. But now our poor 15-year old Chesapeake labrador has gone completely, stone-cold deaf. So she slumbers, unaware, blissfully chasing squirrels in her sleep as the rockets red glare illuminate the neighborhood.

  3.  
    Restaurant Gal
    July 5, 2011 | 5:42 am
     

    Jennifer–So glad it’s over. I really thought one of those things was going to go through my front window.

    Bob–My dog won’t even let me comfort her, hiding in a closet or bathroom, instead as she falls apart. I tried giving her a treat every time a blast occurred last night. At least she was full while she was terrified. Love your deaf lab sleeping through it all.

  4.  
    July 5, 2011 | 12:02 pm
     

    Our dog Max was the same way, just shivered and tried to hide. Buster is the only one left now, and he is deaf and doesn’t notice anymore.

  5.  
    Restaurant Gal
    July 5, 2011 | 1:49 pm
     

    joeinvegas–Poor Max. Buster, great name for a dog!

  6.  
    L.
    July 6, 2011 | 3:15 am
     

    I loved that story!!

  7.  
    July 6, 2011 | 10:33 pm
     

    Now THAT was an awesome piece of writing, RG.

  8.  
    Restaurant Gal
    July 7, 2011 | 6:52 pm
     

    L.–Thank you.

    Dough Ball–And many thanks to you, too.

  9.  
    October 5, 2014 | 12:11 pm
     

    Si es que juegas Candy Crush en el móvil puedes cambiar la hora del dispositivo y lograr de forma automática vidas extra, pruébalo y prosigue jugando hasta que tus ojos se sequen.

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