4th Of July Memories: Flying Dragon Sticks O’ Death


It’s that time of year again, when the nights are filled with loud booms and explosions two weeks before, and two weeks after the Fourth of July. It’s the number one favorite holiday of dogs and veterans with PTSD across the country. For having all fireworks (including Glow Snakes) completely banned in the city and most of the state, there sure are a shitload of things that are going boom in the night until 4 am.

At one time, I too was once one of those dickhead individuals. In my youth, I loved the annual June trip up to Wyoming to load up a car to the brim with the illegal good stuff. Even though the fireworks and explosives were the main prize of the journey, it was really fun trying to figure out fun ways to bootleg our bounty across the state border like the moonshiners of yore. We stowed them in the spare tire well most of the time, and sometimes, when feeling crafty, we would make a false cover over the storage area of our hatchbacks. Nothing could beat the pulse-pounding fear of getting tailed by a state trooper ten miles from inside the border. They were always onto us, since we pulled into the first stand we saw in Wyoming which was about 50 feet inside the state line. We did this every time, like complete idiots.

These days, I just stick to the weak stuff that is legal in only one unincorporated county in Colorado. Glow Snakes, 1,200 degree sparklers, and Screamin’ Pandas are the only fireworks I partake in anymore these days.

I will occasionally light off a “What just Happened” if I’m feeling it. 

Back in my day, I was a deadshot with a lit pop bottle rocket in my hand, and I loved shooting firecrackers into the darkened skies with my trusty wrist rocket. But alas, I am too old for that sort of shit anymore. The other thing that keeps me from getting a hold of some illegal firecrackers is that I am terrified that they might possibly be manufactured by any of the dumb bastards behind Flying Dragon Fireworks.

Black Cats are fun, loud and they are manufactured with an American sense of consistency. You can always feel comfortable lighting one up and know you have around three seconds to get it as far away from you without getting tinnitus. Flying Dragons were advertised as:




These firecrackers were loud as shit, and could seriously blow some stuff up. However, every time you lit one, at best, you knew your ears were going to be ringing and at worst, your hands would be throbbing from accidental detonation. No matter how you tried, those stupid things were pretty much a big “fuck you” from children in a factory in China.

The first time I bought these, I bought three full 1,000 cracker bricks. After discovering that these were more annoying/dangerous than fun, I had to come up with a creative way to get these off my hands. I decided that I would tie all of the bricks together with a real fuse (so I could get the fuck away) and let them go out with a bang.

As I looked nervously around my best friend’s yard and neighborhood, looking for traffic and any sort of witnesses, I determined it was as good a time as any to get rid of these shitty fireworks. I bent down and lit my rigged-up fuse and proceeded to turn and run as far away as possible.

Mid-sprint, out of the corner of my eye, a white Caprice Classic pulled into his cul-de-sac and I froze in terror. I ran back to the bricks of explosives like a true genius and clamped my fingers around the lit fuse. I did not lick them first, as I was not thinking clearly due to my fear of getting busted red-handed by the 5-0.

The green fuse I put out was almost burned down to the shitty Flying Dragon fuses, and I proceeded to look around the neighborhood confused, as if I had just come across these giant bricks of explosives sitting there in the sun. I started to slink away from the crime scene as the last tiny spark hidden inside the green fuse jumped onto the Flying Dragon Pure Bullshit N’ Gunpowder™ fuses.

At that moment, standing atop 3,000 firecrackers and directly in front of an assumed officer of the law, there was a peculiar moment of silence right before absolutely everything detonated under my feet. I was surrounded in a blur of explosions and unrelenting percussive waves. I don’t really remember how long this went on for, but it was hot, deafening, and awful. I felt as though I had a front row seat for the creation of the Universe.

I was covered in burns, my pants caught on fire and my t-shirt looked like I had tried to put out a barbecue fire with it. I slumped onto the lawn, deaf, confused and smoldering. I’m pretty sure I lied there lifeless for at least five minutes before the driver of the Caprice was standing above me, laughing.

“Tom, you weren’t kidding. Your neighbors are total fucking idiots”

Fuck you, Flying Dragon Fireworks.



And don’t hesitate to light up a Kratos “Scarface”

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