My friend Ronnie lived with his mom and stepdad in an old weatherboard shack behind the Horn Inn Café. His mom had flaming red hair and worked nights as a cocktail waitress. His stepdad worked with a construction crew. Sometimes he brought home tin cans of black powder. When Ronnie and I found those cans hidden in a footlocker beside his house, Ronnie said, “Wanna make a bomb?” I was all in.
I went over to Ronnie’s house about eight o’clock that morning. When I knocked on the front door, he quickly ushered me into the living room and told me to be extra quiet. His stepdad was taking a shower and his mom was asleep on her bed without any clothes on. He said, “Hurry up. Let’s take a look before my dad gets out of the bathroom.”
We quietly eased her bedroom door open and took a long look. She was laying on her back with her arms stretched out above her head. She was definitely a redhead, so that mystery was finally solved. After we closed the door Ronnie leaned next to my ear and whispered, “I have something really cool to show you.”
We went outside and Ronnie showed me an old Army footlocker hidden among the overgrown weeds along the side of the house. When he opened the lid, my eyeballs nearly popped out of their sockets.
The foot locker contained several tin cans of black powder. There were also small cans of pellets. They reminded me of rabbit pellets. Other than seeing Ronnie’s red headed mom stark naked, that stash of gunpowder was about the coolest thing I had ever seen. Ronnie said, “Let’s build some rockets.”
We rolled finger-sized tubes from tinfoil and stuffed them with black powder. We lit them with a match. Most fizzled and burned out in a smelly puff of smoke. A few popped like wimpy firecrackers. The pellets burned and hissed with a mean looking flame. All in all, it was nothing too spectacular. Ronnie said, “Wanna make a bomb?”
This time we filled a toilet paper tube with gunpowder and sealed it shut with black electrician’s tape. It all looked good and we considered ourselves to be excellent bomb makers. For a fuse, we poured a narrow line of powder from the bomb over to where we were ducked behind a small sand berm. Ronnie handed me a match and dared me to light the fuse. He said, “Don’t be chicken.”
About that time Ronnie’s stepdad came out of the front door. Of course, he immediately saw us with his gunpowder. He barked, “Are you idiots trying to blow yourselves up?” We bowed our heads in shame. “No sir,” we said meekly.
Well, that was it. His step dad confiscated all the black powder, cussed us out pretty thoroughly, and jumped into his old pickup and took off for work. Ronnie shrugged his shoulders and said, "What should we do now?” I said, “Let's go see your mom again?”