Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Further Adventures of Daleville Dan

Daleville Dan spends the entire morning working in the yard. He cuts overgrown bushes, trims the grass, and picks up the general debris spread throughout his back lawn. Of course, he cannot possibly make it through the day without placing himself in some precarious position or another – that’s just not his style.

There’s a spot in the back yard Daleville Dan likes to use when he’s got something to burn. It’s not an area specifically designated for burning or anything, it’s just a charred spot in the grass where he tends to pile stuff up until he feels he’s gotten enough for a respectable bonfire. After all, nothing flavors a hotdog better than a couple of burning rubber tires.

Now, Dan’s been working all morning and managed to pile sticks and debris so high that he must use an old wooden chair to pour the gas out of the five-gallon can in order to properly light off a fire. Hey, don’t worry folks, Dan is an ecologically respectable man. He uses old gas from last year for fire starting. It won’t work in the lawn mower anymore. Daleville Dan even adds his own artistic twist to the fire starting by pouring the last little bit of gas remaining in the can into a trail he can use to light, and then watch as the fire “walks” along until it reaches the main pool of gas for a spectacular kick-off.

After putting the wooden chair away, Daleville Dan retrieves his trusty Zippo and prepares for lighting. He stands proud as he surveys his handy work. The brush pile stands at least five foot high and extends out in a circular pattern at least ten feet in diameter.

With a flick of his wrist, his Zippo lights up and he holds the flame under a small stick until it catches. With great ceremony, Daleville Dan extends the stick out to arms length and lets it fall into the trail of gas on the ground. The flame walks slowly toward the huge pile of sticks and debri – a little too slow for the likes of Daleville Dan – so he picks up the burning stick he had thrown on the ground and walks it to the base of the pile.

Just as he drops the burning stick, and, more-than-likely, before it even hits the ground, the fire lights off. Now, this gas has been sitting within the pile of debris for at least five minutes, soaking into the wood and evaporating into a highly flammable state. The entire pile, it seems, explodes at once.

If you remember, Daleville Dan had previously walked the stick up to the base of the debris pile, which has left him standing well within, what one might call, the epicenter of the blast. In other words, he is violently, if not momentarily, engulfed within the fireball and pressure wave that precedes the sound of the explosion.

Daleville Dan is thrown to the ground and finds himself waking with his hair on fire (literally). After beating himself about the head and shoulder in an effort to put out the fire, he picks himself up from the flat of burning grass, then checks, first to make sure no one saw him, then that all his clothing was still intact.

Of course, he had burned off his eyebrows, eyelashes, and a good portion of the hair at the front of his head, which meant he would have to spend the rest of the day outside poking the fire with a stick.

He would have to wait until dark to go inside in hopes that his wife would not notice the loss of hair, second-degree burns, and charred clothing. Just another day in the life of Daleville Dan.