(March 2002, Canada) In my small community, news travels fast, but it doesn't usually travel far. This is an event that I witnessed, but still can't believe. My friend James is a moron and a firebug, like every other boy in Grade 9. His father was an avid hunter who loaded his own shells, so James always had an ample supply of materials to satisfy his obsession.
One day after school, I noticed a group of kids huddled around James. He had filled a small, heavy-duty cardboard tube with FFFF powder, used for black powder rifles. The tube was sealed with a generous amount of duct tape, and had a crude wick protruding from the side.
James pulled out his butane lighter, instructed everyone to step back, and lit the wick. But instead of doing the natural thing -- throwing the crude M80 as fast and far as possible -- he placed it between his legs right below his crotch, while he stowed the lighter back in his pocket.
The wick burned much too fast, and before he could grab it and hurl it, the explosive blew up between his legs. James fell to the ground screaming, and when the dust cleared, we all expected to see a gigantic hole in his midsection. But we were astonished to find the tube in almost perfect condition, with the exception of two missing ends. There wasn't even a rip in his jeans.
Luckily for James, he hadn't properly taped the explosive, and most of its force was released forward and aft. But unluckily for him, the explosion directed a certain amount of pressure against his testicles. James managed to make it home and change his pants, and he told his mother he fell while walking along the top of a fence, thereby avoiding trouble over playing with explosives.
That happened ten years ago. During a trip home for Thanksgiving, I ran into James, and it seems that he is unable to have children.
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