With the ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ in his ears I guess, my brother lit the petrol much quicker than any of us expected and the air just supanoved, exploded in front of us. An overflowing swimming pool of molten honeyed light poured over the edges and painted in the picture frame between my eyes. A lighter click and striking flint flame instaneity – faster than any of us could take in what was happening. Then a deafening BOOM, shockwave, and the windows of the house blew out.
How did we get here, wherever that may be, you may well ask?
Well it all started with a German Wasp (Vespula vulgaris) that stung my Dad in the head.
Like I said in my last post, we lived in the bush and the place at times was swarming with wasps in Biblical plague-like proportions. An underground nest over one particular scorcher of a summer encircled the house as the wasps decided that anything within their perimeter (read ‘killing-zone’) was fair-game, to be terminated with extreme prejudice. And that happened to be my Dad’s forehead. A soft target.
Despite yelling and doing a sort of a jig in his office while he hit his forehead with the palm of his hand and pulled at his scalp, with the words ‘Son of a bitch ! Jesus ! Get It (The wasp, the Fuck – I’m filling this in for him) Off Me !’ There wasn’t much I could do for him, although the thought of hitting Dad over the head was tempting.
Eventually, and it took a while ! Dad dispatched the wasp and decided he’d had enough. He came back from the hardware store laden with Carbaryl (an insecticide we’d never heard of, which wasn’t surprising given we’d never even heard of insecticide), sprinkled it on some fish and put it in a tree. The idea with the stuff is that the wasps get the powder on their bodies, contaminate the nest, and meet their maker, swapping the jungle room for the sauna room in our case.
Well somehow we kind of forgot about it for a day or so, I guess we just assumed it was doing its righteous work. That was until we put two and two together, when poor old Jaybo (also known as Wolf), our adopted stray dog that came out of the bush (like Scrawns the cat in my previous post), became pretty unwell with what later came to be known in our house as ‘the Carbaryl shakes’.
The Carbaryl laced fish had come down in the wind and Jaybo being Jaybo had eaten it, even though it was fish. Unfortunately Dad hadn’t realised that the stuff was pretty toxic to animals and we hadn’t bargained on Jaybo’s scavenging skills, having lived in the bush before she adopted us. We all felt pretty bad about it, even though it was an accident.
Thankfully, Jaybo pulled through. However after that and me accidentally walking on top of the nest with my brother being stung in my stead when we did a reccy, things escalated.
A carefully formulated night-time plan of attack when the wasps were less active; of using a measured amount of petrol; of blocking up the entry to the nest so that the fumes overcame them and they quietly snuffed it in their sleep; was thrown out.
My brother’s new plan, as payback for basically everything, was to keep pouring a crap-load of petrol as close as he could get to the nest entrance, with a trail behind it so he could light it from a distance, while he got stung by the swarm.
He carried out his plan to a T. They stung the shit out of him.
But in his haste to get the hell away from the wasps, he gave little or no warning before he lit the thing. There wasn’t time to run before the blast hit, which by the way was a massive freaking avalanche of supercharged unleaded flame !
So although we blew the wasps to kingdom-come (& thankfully not us as well !), we did lose a few house windows in the process.
A few days later there was even an article in the local newspaper about a mysterious explosion.
We still talk about it. We were bloody lucky and Jaybo (like Scrawns, the cat) lived a long, happy life, despite the Carbaryl shakes – which we still feel bad about.