It was just a coincidence of course that I happened to be traveling home from Indiana on the Fourth of July. I was never much into shooting off fireworks as a kid (that was more up my brother’s alley) and they are strictly limited in Illinois. However, the Northeast corner of Indiana provides the supply for Chicagoland’s demand. I was bombarded by billboard after billboard advertising cheap explosive thrills that I finally felt it was my patriotic duty to exit somewhere off the Borman Expressway.
I stopped at a bunker looking building made of cinder block called Krazy Kaplan’s. I thought I might look for a few little things for us to shoot of to celebrate the holiday. Right away, I knew I was out of my league. The aisles were stuffed full of plastic wrapped bundles of flashy boxes with non-sensical names. I picked one up at random: Saturn Master Liberty. Relying on my experience at translating English software manuals into – well, English, I determined the device was designed to shoot fireballs colored red, white and blue. I squeezed into the aisle featuring “shooters”. I’ve seen these before. They are little boxes housing a number of squealing bottle rockets that fire out in sequence. The smallest ones they had shot off 25. They had one that shot off 300 that would have covered our kitchen table.
When I was a kid I can remember all the horror stories about “M-80’s”. You could blow your fingers off with an M-80 though – to be fair – I don’t believe that was their original purpose. It appeared that M-80 is more of an entry level product these days. Krazy Kaplan’s offered shopping bags full of M-80’s for about ten bucks… and they had a buy one, get one free deal going as well. Next to them was the M-5000 series. These looked less like firecrackers and more like egg roll sized chunks of dynamite.
I finally found some of the “kiddie” fireworks wedged in a corner behind some cylindrical projectiles that would have been at home in Afghanistan. I picked up some sparklers for Daniel, a couple of small shooters and some snakes. That took half my fireworks budget. The other half went to two skyrockets – one green and one purple – Daniel’s favorite colors.