Sunday, January 20, 2013

Yesteryou Chapter 18

George, Beth and Molly bought a box full of fireworks one weekend years ago, the weekend before the 4th of July.  It was illegal to set off fireworks in L.A. County because of the potential for fires in such a draught-ridden tinder box of a city, so they went to a town right outside the county line to buy the fireworks, and they bought a lot:  Flying Spinners; Fountains Cones that shot up green and pink sparks; Ground Bloom Flowers; Parachutes; Roman Candles; smoke grenades. They ended up not using more than a few sparklers the night of the 4th, though; they just weren't in the mood.  But a few months later, Josie was spending a Saturday night over at Beth's with Molly, and the three of them were feeling particularly exhilarated that night.  It was a deliciously warm night, and each girl, woman, felt particularly young, immortal practically, and Beth burst out happily, "Shit, Molly!  We have fireworks!"  She could be so really charming sometimes. 
"Holy fuck, mom!  That is the best idea ever.  We have to set off every firework in that box right now, or I'll burst!” 
"You guys," Josie chided gleefully "we'll totally get arrested!  This is only like year one hundred of the great Los Angeles drought, fireworks are even more illegal than usual; remember all those ads about it around the 4th?  No way we're doing it.  The cops'll show up and we'll have to lie and say we didn't do anything, and it'll be embarrassing.  I hate shit like that!  I hate having to lie to authority figures."
            "No you don't!" teased Molly, tackling her, and Beth said, "Come on, you two lesbos, help me find the fireworks.  This shit's going down tonight!"
They set off every firecracker in that box, all the little cardboard tanks with the fuses at the end that, when you lit them, made the tanks shoot forward on their plastic wheels and spew wild sparks, all the cones that shot out sparks and the black cats and the Catherine Wheels, and when a police helicopter began circling overhead, the three women found the situation almost unbearably funny. 
"Well, promise to visit me in prison," Beth joked, but when there was an aggressive knock on the front door a moment later, they were all still feeling amused and excitable, but now also worried about getting in trouble.

"Yikes.  Um, you guys get in bed.  Close the bedroom door, though, promise.  I'll be bad at lying, if it's the cops, if I know you guys are listening in.  It'll make me nervous."
The knocking started again, and a deep male voice boomed "Hello?!"  It was a police officer, which actually surprised Beth, who though it was probably just her neighbor the unemployed alcoholic contractor, who she had sex with, only once, on a night when the Santa Ana winds and the brush fires in the hills nearby had made her restless, aroused.  But it was a cop who stood outside the door now, who told her that he’d received a complaint regarding something that sounded like fireworks being illegally set off, possibly in her back yard.     
            "Well, it wasn't me," she said indignantly, "Jesus, officer, I'm a grown woman, why would I play with firecrackers?" and of course he had no choice but to take her word for it.  Once the door was closed behind him, Josie and Molly jumped up from where they'd been crouching, in the narrow space between the wall and the living room couch, and simultaneously shouted "Boo!", scaring the hell out of Beth and making her laugh so hard, tears came to her eyes.  "I knew you guys weren't in bed like I told you to be, I just knew it.  I could practically hear your hot little breaths about to explode in laughter and get me arrested!"
God it was funny.  It was like one of the funniest things ever.

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