__Good morning, young sir,
and what exactly is it that I see before me?
What fascinating object have you brought for me today?
Is it, by chance, a shell that you have there?
[He is feshly from the school coach that brings pupils from outlying areas. Known to me as a frequent visitor to Hankley Common, an area still used by the military for training purposes. He looks for "stuff" - and seems to have mounted a successful expedition recently, for he cradles affectionately in his arms a serious looking piece of ordnance, a tordedo shaped object with fins at the non-business end. One of the fins is deeply scorched. He has a crowd of interested admirers surrounding him.]
--Nah, sir, nuffink like that, sir!
It's a fire bomb.
__Ah, well, that's all right then! Even so,
I think I'll take it into my protective custody
and pop it in the sick bay - just for safety's sake.
Meanwhile you all will pop yourselves into the playground -
also for safety's sake. Miss Thisk will see you there.
And maybe Mrs Wisdom would like to see
that EVERYONE proceeds there? - promptly please!
[They all leave for the playground
and I do as I've said I would,
but in the sick bay change my mind.
Reassured by all the scorching that
whatever was inside the thing
is "spent", and warming to it,
I'll make it - I decide - a visual aid, and use it
in a lesson for the children.
Now wrapped in sick room blankets
and some fluffy pillows, it is ready
for its transportation to the field.
I lay it on the grass, and round it place
four chairs to which I tie some yards
of tape to fence it off. Then I have my next
quite brilliant idea: I call the bomb squad.
They arrive - to great excitement from the children -
in a remarkably short time.]
-Really sir, what I most would like to do
would be to simply detonate it with no frills,
but if I was to do so, all those houses...
[and here he points, in a one fingered fashion, to the first house in The Close. His thumb is raised, as though he means to simulate a gun, and now he sights along it as his finger points to each house in its turn...]
...would lose their windows.
That would never do.
[I heartily agree. He compromises, says he'll go for a diminished bang. Sandbags the incendiary and prepares a controlled explosion.
Now he yells to the pupils 'Everyone shout "Berrrrrrrrumph!"'
they all do, and coinciding with their interpretation comes
a deep-throated, strangled thump; a high decibel, real life,
no messing "Berrrrrrrrumph!"; an impressive sheet of flame
threatening to set the trees alight; a gentle rain of mud;
and at the end, a crater fit to please the eyes of any child -
and not a sign of my four chairs!
He'd had the "fire bomb" underneath his bed for months. He found it where I'd thought - on Hankley Common. The coach driver had taken it from him at one point - and dropped it!
Is this true? If so, you must live under a very lucky star.
Wow, what a tale that is. I assume as well that it is true!
holy crap man....scary stuff...we just had a lockdown drill at school yesterday....cant imagine what would happen if they brought it to school or if it went off...vivid piece man....
The Gods were certainly watching over you on that day, weren't they?!
Could have been catastrophic...
So many people were lucky that day. Really scary stuff. And I wonder how many unexploded devices are lurking as a pitfall for the unwary, in how many countries across the world. And I shudder. I suspect the answer is that in every country which has been bombed/mined there are still such deadly traps.
Yes, I'm afraid it is true, certainly in its essentials. And yes, I have been outrageously lucky: this being not the only close shave from which I have walked unscathed.
Would you believe, I had largely forgotten it. I dined out on it quite a bit at the time, of course, but then it had sunk to the back of my mind. Earlier this week we were with friends and I found myself retelling it, it having been triggered by a tale one of my friends had recounted. I thought "of course, this would make a good post".
Yes, crap was nearly it! Strange coincidence, we'd had a pupil let off a fire alarm a few weeks earlier. The fire chief had given him a right rollicking and said to me, if ever it happened again, I was to call them, even if I knew it to be hoax. "Give me a chance to get at them!" When the lad brought in the "bomb", I thought, well if the fire brigade, why not the bomb squad?
They were - though my Gran would have said my guardian angel!
The Elephant's Child
You are right. And it's still happening in our own area. They put up notices not to touch, but they hardly do the job!
OMG = that's crazy. A very funny story though. k .
That was a lucky escape, wasn't it? :-)
Greetings from London.
Yikes! Just yikes. I'm so glad that story had a happy ending Dave.
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