The hearse with the extension ladder in front of us braked heavily, sending up a cloud of dust in the gravel road.
Nice opening sentence, huh?
Cruel Wife stomped her brakes soon after a breath whistled between my passenger-seat-driver teeth. I have never been comfortable when to driving in spite of asking her to drive roughly two-thirds of the time.
“Hey, there is a clown on the back of that hearse. An evil clown.”
“Yeah, I saw it,” she replied. “I mentioned that already.”
“Sure makes a statement when you own a hearse with an extension ladder, huh? Not sure what it says though.”
More whistles and sharp intakes of breath filled the car as people crossed the road in a dizzying flurry of cheap LED lights and glow-in-the-dark rings. This time she braked in a sharp rebuke to my neck, a nonverbal cue that I should be quiet and let her drive.
I respected her wishes for a count of five and then said “Gosh, that was quite a fireworks show for a small county like [name_censored]. It was huge. And the music they played… Patriotic American music, all of it good, except maybe Bruce Springsteen. ‘Born in the USA’, ok, yeah I get it, but he’s a huge liberal and then, too, was twerker-butt whatserface I think you said. With that choice of songs, I tell you what… the people of [name_censored] County did not elect Obama.”
“No, no they didn’t,” said Cruel Wife, grinding her molars even flatter. She is no fan of the man.
Not wanting her to drive angry for a second time tonight (the first of which I will tell you of tomorrow) I changed the topic. Driving angry with Cruel Wife is a lot like being on a decaying out of control carnival ride when the operator has just died from one too many Elephant ears.
“You know, there are people who fear clowns.” I could not remember the latin and missed a great chance to dazzle my children once more with my brilliance. Coulrophobia is the term, but remembering it ten minutes later impresses no one.
“Sure. The Butcher of Lansing hates clowns, and at work The Dread Queen’s husband is terrified of them. She wouldn’t even take my evil clown mask home to torture him. It is crippling.”
My daughter seemed vulnerable to some teasing so I informed the kids that Killer Klowns from Outer Space is one of my favorite movies. I said “So what happens in the movie is…”
Lemurita yelled “Nooooo! Don’t say it!”
As I hoped she had taken my bait, swallowing the lure completely and setting the hook. “Since you ask, what happens is that evil space clow…”
“NOOOOOO!” she screamed shrilly. “I don’t want to hear it!”
To Cruel Wife I said “I am so evil.”
HackerBoy had been pretty quiet and I heard him say in his soft voice “What happens in the movie?” Over his sister’s loud ‘la-la-la-la’ with her fingers in her ears I explained to him the incredible depth and nuances of the movie, a feat that took all of a minute with time left over to add, “It is a cool and funny movie.” I am not sure he was convinced.
I can only hope that some day we can enjoy Bubba Ho-Tep and John Dies at the End together.
“Hey, is that a hand sticking out of the bumper?”
“I said that already,” sighed Cruel Wife resignedly.
Thirty minutes before we had been waiting for the start of the [name_censored] County Family Laser Light and Fireworks Show. It finally cranked up with one of the better performances of the National Anthem that I have ever heard. My legs had fallen asleep so I had to settle for hat off and hand over my heart while sitting on the ground. It is perhaps a lapse in my parenting that I had to remind my kids to sit up and put their hands over their hearts, but they did it, so I am not displeased.
The lasers fired up and I realized that they were aimed out over the crowd and they were perhaps outside of my comfort zone in intensity. I work with lasers every single day and some of them (most) are high power lasers so I felt justified in my concern. I could do little else besides tell them to not stare at the sources where the scatter was brightest and look elsewhere. If Murphy and his damn law showed up and blinded everyone I wasn’t going to leave us with no one to drive home. We could go into MPE and laser eye safety, and debate the actual damage in this situation, but I like my vision.
The lasers did not last long and soon we heard song after patriotic song.
The fireworks themselves were awesome. Flat out the best I have seen, and I never expected that good of a show at [name_censored] County Family Laser Light and Fireworks Show. The bursts went on nonstop for a very long time, did a finale, and then a rib-cage-squeezing and ear-ringing encore.
I knew I was being played, with the music selection and show biz aspect of things, but I remembered with some feeling that I was damn glad to be an American and was actually moved by they whole thing. For some reason it just seemed to me that in our area, the prevailing crowd’s attitude tonight was one of “We needed this.”
Pretty amazing for a cynic like me. But it made me determined that those of us who do love our country need to get it back from the “bipartisan” slimebags in our government who think this next election will leave them untouched. Immigration Reform is not the future of America.
I sat there on the blanket on a mosquito-less cool summer night with my arm around HackerBoy and Lemurita snuggled close to steal what heat she could, and was thankful for it.
Seemed like it was a pretty good lead-in to Father’s Day.