Christian, Age 13, Easton, CT

“Finally,” I cheered happily. It was 6:00am, and I had just finished dumping 83 caps-worth of black powder onto a piece of paper. For the past day I had been taking caps from my cap gun and was unloading the powder from it. My mom and my sister were still asleep, so I took the time to gather it up into a thin line with my Swiss army knife. As I began to arrange paper tubes to pour the powder into, my sister came in.

“Mom, Homeland Security is going to be knocking on our door,” she said at the sight of my large pile of gray powder. I took the remark as a joke while I finished creating my paper tubes. I would pour a little bit of hot glue at the bottom to seal the tube up before I would dump in the powder.

Before I could pour the powder, I needed a fuse. “Hey Mom, do we have any yarn?” I called. As I grabbed an inch of yarn and stuck it into the white paper tube filled with, gunpowder my mom came in.

“Christian you are going to blow your fingers off!” my mom shrieked as I walked out the door into the cool October breeze. I found a clear spot on the lawn and set the firecracker down. I pulled out a lighter to catch the fuse, but I forgot there was a light wind. When the flame came out it flew back at my thumb and burned it. I screamed and dropped the lighter. I turned around so the wind was behind me. This time the yarn caught, only to be blown out by the wind.

After another try my short attention span got the best of me. While my mom and sister came out and were starting to clean out the garage, I made one final attempt to light it. Again the wind blew out the yarn, so I laid down on the grass beside the firecracker and lit the paper. A deafening crack erupted from the paper tube, while a flame leaped from the lighter. Smoke rose into the air, and my lighter burst into flames as I dropped it. Part of my sweat pants was burned, and I started rolling around on the grass. My mom yelled to me that I wasn’t on fire, so I stopped rolling.

I felt like Ricky Bobby when I found out that I was never on fire. There was a black crater about six inches in diameter with dry leaves burning around it. “Christian you idiot! You could’ve blown your hands off!”

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