I may have mentioned this before but the lands just Northwest of the Compound’s borders are rumored to contain an ancient Native American burial ground. It just so happens that that is the same area of my land best suited to what we sometimes call the Bad Craziness Bonfire.
If you hike out northwards from the Compound and slowly head west before you reach the edges of Bear Brook State Park, you can climb a small ridge that, when you crest it, reveals what looks like a crater in the side of the hills where, some tell me, a meteorite smacked into the rocky New Hampshire soil one All Hallows Eve in the early twenties. Killed about 17 nudists and left one hell of a snazzy impression in the rolling landscape that I, for one, am happy to take advantage of. The upper eastern rim is a great spot to chill out and look out over the ponds and the river to the sun setting over the distant hills of Dunbarton and Weare. Nice spot to relax and burn shit.
With that in mind, while I’m landscaping a proper woodland hangout up there, I like to pile up all the old brush and deadwood I can into a big mound and, when it’s big enough, invite a handful of the local ne’er do wells and light the fucker. It’s a BYOB event and, if you know the right people, you can get past security and guarantee yourself one hell of a night. Put it this way, you’ll see the sunset and the following dawn and, in between, the sort of blazing party that would terrorize the fuck out of anyone present during the fall of Saigon.
The main concern is, of course, accelerant. 5 gallons of gasoline, all the used motor oil we can get our hands on form the local farms, that half-can of gunpowder from the 4th and a backpack full of defective fireworks bought cheap. Propane torches, lighter fluid, 4 months worth of the Times and Globe and an issue or two of Barely Legal. Seven finely dried Christmas trees, a seven foot stack of old pallets and that case of Duraflame logs that fell off that truck in Londonderry two weeks ago.
Pile it high. Light the damn thing. Back. The. Fuck. Up.
It’s a good time, I think. Never heard anyone really complain. Even Dabney Chigger, a Pharmacist fired from over seventeen CVS and Walgreens’ in four states, who was almost wrestled into the coals by Chad Greenlough’s epileptic Russian bride that night in ’09 when we had that pipe bomb making contest. Bernie Dillinger once burned all the hair off his own genitals with a hairspray flamethrower and he was still laughing about it three days later in the infirmary.
Not much holds a candle to what happened Saturday night however. Maybe it was Sketch Lowrie’s moonshine or maybe it was the presence of Pete Nickelsson, last living descendant of a supposedly cursed Maine logging family, on the grounds. Maybe it was the fresh blood we spilled when Cal Deeter said “fuck it” and had his brother Ernesto do an impromptu wisdom tooth extraction on scene with nothing more than a six inch multi-tool and a butter knife. I don’t know for sure. All I know is things got weird fast.
The fire went up with the kind of whooshing roar you’d more expect at a Shuttle launch and the damned flame was forty feet high before the glass from the molotov cocktail even settled in the kindling. Six or eight of us lost eyebrows right off the bat and Linda Deuterrie went spinning down the embankment slapping at her North Face like it was riddled with bees. Glen Johnson was screaming but it’s possible he’d been doing that for hours, I don’t know. Never really got over the lukewarm reception to Ovations, I don’t think.
Then we saw it. Stig Marmoset’s face was scarlet and stretched out in horror as his arms flailed and waived and I looked up above the fire and saw it, a raging, screaming demon of pure flame come to burn us all in terrible judgement. A wave of air pressure like a giant slamming you backwards and the sound of a thousand screaming guitars on feedback and we all fell to the ground, dead eyes raised to the towering flames like the mortal doomed that we truly are.
And then it was gone.
After a good twenty minutes of wordless quiet and only the steadily softening crackle of the fire as it died down to less apocalyptic levels, I suggested we maybe move up the start of the after party and drinks were on me down at Pasties. Most folks agreed, nodding their still smoldering heads slowly. We’d just got Last Call From The Seventh Circle and we knew it.
Anyway. Checked back in at the spot this morning and it was no worse for wear. Spotted a couple aging, dried out pines that need to be put to rest. Think I know just where to drop them. Start building a new brush pile.
I’ll let you know when it’s ready.