Sunday, September 1, 2013

Captain's Log, Day 111: Experiments in Rocketry

          It was an ordinary summer day on the Midway farm--if by "ordinary summer day" you meant "the 4th of July," "night," and "the Midway brothers were loaded with enough explosive ordinance to take Guadalcanal."
          Actually, that last line was fairly ordinary, at least for them.
          Radar, tired of launching his modified bottle rockets by hand, had decided to build a rotating-barrel rocket launcher. Unfortunately, events had conspired to limit his time to design and build said launcher. Fortunately, he was a master of duct tape, and soon had a rig that utilized his dad's good drill and a propane torch to fire off a salvo of 12 rockets before it needed to be, as Radar pointed out to a skeptical Nemesis, if you were really fast you could conceivably load the new rockets on one side while the other side was firing. Nemesis withheld his objections and graciously offered to let Radar be the first one to test that theory. Radar ignored the sarcasm and informed his brother that darn straight he would be the one to test that theory, because Nemesis was going to be the cameraman. Nemesis inquired whether or not he could upload the video of Radar's demise to YouTube so the paramedics could identify his various body parts. A small debate ensued.
          After the bandages were administered (and ammo for both of their BB guns was exhausted), the brothers took to the driveway to put fresh burn marks on the cement. Radar was sporting a baseball cap, which he had grabbed for no reason on his way out of the house and insisted that he "could totally pull it off." Nemesis inquired when he would pull it off, because he looked stupid. The ensuing debate trampled the hat underfoot when it fell off Radar's head.
          The bandaids were brought outside in case of eventualities, and also because their mom was getting annoyed about all the blood in the house. Radar set up the rocket launcher, Nemesis started the camera, and Radar loaded the rockets. The rocket launcher promptly collapsed.
          Nothing daunted, Radar ignored his brother and, grabbing some nearby branches, duct-taped the sticks to the back of the drill and launch plate to brace the launcher. He reloaded the rockets, ignited the torch, and inserted the flame into the ignition hole.
          The rocket launcher promptly collapsed.
          Radar made up a few cuss words and duct-taped some more sticks to the launcher. He reignited the torch, inserted it into the ignition hole, and switched on the drill. The drill spun at roughly three million revolutions per minute, causing the barrels to extinguish the flame of the torch solely with the wind it was generating.
          The rocket launcher promptly collapsed.
          Radar punched his hysterical brother and set up the launcher again. By this point, most of the launcher was silver, owing to the amount of duct tape used (roughly one full roll). He readjusted the drill speed, loaded the launcher, lit the torch, inserted the flame into the ignition hole, and started the drill.
          The rocket launcher promptly fired.
          Radar danced around jubilantly as rocket after rocket arced into the sky. Nemesis recorded each rocket as it fired and exploded, but missed the one that jammed and blew up in the barrel. Radar was, predictably, annoyed. "That was the cool one!" he yelled.
          Eventually, Dad came out and decided to curtail further launches, mostly because his drill was involved. By this point, the brothers had fired off roughly 25 rockets, so they agreed with no more than the traditional token protest. Besides, there were bigger rockets to fire now!
          And, of course, the Roman candle war to be had.

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