Sunday, July 10, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 20: When in the Course of Human Events...It Becomes Necessary for a Duel

          TYPICALLY, we have a reason for duels that usually involved some sort of insult one way or the other. This day, a few years ago, was an exception.
          After a rather dull morning of cleaning the garage, my brother Nemesis and I discovered a large stash of fireworks. And not just any fireworks; bottle rockets. We also found a collection of model rocket engines and the igniter. We decided to do what any normal kid would do--ie, set them off, preferably at each other. That's when the budding mechanical engineer (myself) came up with a brilliant idea. Why not build some rockets, a rocket launcher, and mount it on the treehouse that we have back in our woods?
          For security reasons, I'm not going to tell you how we built it (I have to patent it first), but soon we had a rocket launcher ready, complete with a swivel base and optional manual or electronic ignition. We braved the mosquitoes long enough to climb up into our fortress (fortunately, the stupid bugs didn't usually fly that high up), found the stash of bug spray we had hidden up there, and soaked both ourselves and the treehouse before climbing up onto the roof.
          Once out on the "observation deck," we amused ourselves for a few minutes by dropping "depth charges" into the creek (also known as "rocks"). Then, we got down to the serious business of mounting the launcher. We decided to fire the rockets into the creek, just in case of fire, but as it had just rained and everything was still soaked I didn't think there was any danger of that.
          The launcher worked beautifully. We were able to accurately hit just about everything within a 50-foot range--the trees were too thick for any further shots to be attempted safely. I actually kinda regretted my oversight in not including a sight, no pun intended. After almost hitting a cat, and I have never seen anything jump that high by the way, Nemesis decided to go down so we could track some slightly longer shots.
          Two more shots, and we were jubilant at the success of our invention. After much bragging back and forth, Nemesis picked up the spent missiles and began heading back to the tree. Plans were made to build a second version of the launcher, a more portable one, and eventually have a ground-to-base duel; but sadly, such plans were never carried out.
          We were so overcome by our results that the only way for us to have a suitable means of a "vent" was to retrieve our homemade swords and battle all the way back to the house. I can only imagine what would have ensued had we not used up all of our rockets...

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