Way Too Close for Comfort
The 2-Liter Dry Ice Bomb
...and then there's Complete Stupidity
The last thing my friend Roger and I wanted to do was hurt anybody, but we nearly blew the head off a complete stranger.
It was just a couple of years after we graduated from Hammond High. It was the middle of week - in the middle of October, and neither one of us had anything to do. We were still underage, so getting beer was still a bit of a challenge. Not that we couldn't get any, it's just that we had the rest of the day to figure that out. Plus, we'll worry about that bridge when it's time to cross it. Besides, it was in the middle of the day and we just woke up an hour ago.
It was during the era when we discovered how to construct dry ice bombs from plastic 2 liters with dry ice. Just like every other project we've ever constructed, we were once again in my father's garage. Roger brought along some dry ice he purchased on the way to my house. We smashed it up in a rag & placed it in the 2 liter. Right before we were going to put water in it, I suddenly came up with (which at the time I thought was) a brilliant idea.
"Let's put some nuts & bolts in the 2 liter," I asked Roger enthusiastically. I was dead serious.
"Dude, you'll have shrapnel flying all over the place," Roger answered back. "You could kill someone."
"We'll do it in my backyard and hide behind something," I said trying to sound convincing that it'd work. Trying to convince Roger to do something against his better judgement was a chore in itself, but this didn't seem to take much effort.
Roger thought about it. "Alright, but just a few...that's all. I don't want all kinds of shit flying everywhere."
Test Try One
We threw a couple of nuts & bolts in the 2 liter along with the dry ice. We decided to try out this new contraption of ours in the parkway next to the garage near the alley. We thought this would be better than the backyard (just in case any shrapnel does fly out) it won't break out the kitchen and/or bedroom windows. In the parkway the only window at risk was the garage window, and that was made of Plexiglas.
"Place it in the middle of the parkway... not so close to the garage," Roger explained thoroughly.
I placed the 2 liter in the center of the parkway and with a small container of water, I slowly poured it in. The dry ice instantly began to dissolve into a gas, so I quickly screwed the cap on and took off for cover inside the garage. Roger slammed the garage door behind me and we both headed for the garage window.
It was taking a bit of time.
Longer than usual.
"Did you screw the cap on tight?" Roger asked.
"Yeah, pretty tight too," I answered, " I don't understand."
"Go out there and see..." Roger was soon interrupted with such a loud boom it rattled the paint cans in the garage.
"Oh my God," I stammered softly. I thought surely the police were going to be called. I mean, the station was nearly 150 feet away. We both thought it best if we waited in the garage a bit before we investigated the damage.
"That was pretty loud," Roger said to me with a smirk on his face.
"Yeah, louder than usual," I agreed.
"How much dry ice did you put in there," Roger asked.
"Half...? How much water did you put in?"
"Not much," I explained, "as soon as the gas started coming out I capped it tight."
"That's probably why it took so long to explode," Roger figured out.
We waited another five minutes before we felt the coast was clear. We peeked out the garage door and looked around.
Roger walked out in front of me and said, "It's cool."
The 2 liter was totally destroyed, there wasn't a single trace of it. However, not a single nut or bolt went flying anywhere. There they were, in a little pile.
"Well, so much for that idea," Roger said disappointingly. He stopped and turned to me and asked, "Hey, we still have half a pound of dry ice, right?"
"You have another 2 liter?"
"I think so."
"Want to scare some kids?"
I knew exactly what he was getting at.
"Hold on," I said as I headed for the kitchen. "I'll be right back."
A Regular Suburban Neighborhood
One of the Scariest Moments of my Life
We decided to set the 2 liter in my front yard, about two or three feet away from the main public sidewalk. Hammond High School was about to let out soon, so we had to time this just perfectly.
I lived on Eaton Street, a common route that was taken by many of the Hammond High School students to and from school. Not to mention a common route taken by Eggers Middle School students as well.
We figured, that if we did the same exact thing with this 2 liter as we did with the other 2 liter, we could time it where it would explode a good fair distance away and at just the right moment, we'll scare the hell out of everybody. Or so that was the plan.
We hid on the front porch (about 20-25 feet from the sidewalk). The porch was enclosed and the windows were dingy because we never ever cleaned them. In fact, if you didn't know any better, you would have thought my house was abandoned.
"Here come the first bunch of kids," I informed Roger in a whispered voice.
"Okay, hold on," he whispered back.
I don't know why we were whispering, it's not like they could hear us.
Roger continued, "Let a few of them go by first, and then we'll toss it between a group of them." Roger looked out the window, "Get ready."
The first group of kids were walking by, taking their time. There were six or seven of them.
"Pour the water in," Roger instructed me. "Here comes a gap."
I slowly poured the water in and the gas instantly began to release from the 2 liter.
"Now cap it and toss it out...quickly!"
I capped it tightly and tossed it out toward the sidewalk underhand.
It rolled right next to the sidewalk...RIGHT NEXT TO THE SIDEWALK!
Not good. This is NOT good at all.
"Go get it," Roger told me. I could tell he was nervous.
"No way!" I said back. "It might explode on me." I was getting nervous as well.
There was silence...
We heard the next group of kids walking down the sidewalk. They were pretty loud and were doing a lot of horse-playing.
"Oh my God, dude,"Roger started to explain. "It's too close. I don't know what it could do."
I didn't know what to say, so I just decided to peek out the window and watch the chaos unfold.
Roger did the same.
There it was. The 2 liter just lying there. Any moment now, that 2 liter was going to let off such a tremendous boom that it'll scare the HELL out of anybody within 50 feet - let alone right next to it!
"You got to say something," Roger pleaded to me one last time.
"Sorry - it's too late."
And it was.
The group of kids came walking by the 2 liter, taking their time, talking to one another about whatever.
I began to think that one of them is going to mistake the 2 liter as garbage and pick it up. My heart began to beat hard. I looked over at Roger and saw that he was just sitting there shaking his head back & forth. He was dreading what was about to happen.
I peeked over the window sill and watched as the kids continued on. They were passing the 2 liter.
"They're about to pass the 2 liter," I said to Roger. "It's going to be alright. It's going to be alright."
Roger widened his eyes, turned around and peeked out the window next to me.
The kids kept on walking. There were about ten or twelve of them.
"That's right, keep going," Roger cheered to himself.
Then it happened.
"Oh my God, what are they doing?" Roger asked quietly, but slightly hysterically. "What the hell are they doing?"
I couldn't believe it myself. The last two kids of the bunch (a boy and a girl) decided to wrestle on the grass...right next to the 2 liter. The boy had the girl down on her back with her head inches away from the 2 liter.
Roger and I both began to panic.
"We're going to kill her," Roger said in calm. dreadful sounding voice. "You have to say something...say something!"
"I can't," I answered in a panic. "It's too late."
Roger grabbed me by the arms of my coat and exclaimed, "Say something!"
Just then, the two of them got up and continued on their way, but not before the girl jumped on the boys back as if he was giving her a piggy-back ride.
"It's gonna be alright..."
Right after I finished that sentence, the 2 liter exploded. It startled Roger and I that we both turned our heads towards the explosion.
We looked in awe as we saw the boy dump the girl off his back and took off like a bat out of hell. The girl got up just as quick and followed close behind the boy. As a matter of fact, the explosion cleared the entire neighborhood. We saw school kids scatter all over the neighborhood.
It was scene I shall never forget.
© 2014 James Timothy Peters