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by Wayne Carlan

When I was about twelve years old I lived in a subdivision in Gautier, MS. Me and a friend of mine were riding bikes as usual when we noticed a neighbor had a trash fire going. So we stopped to take a closer look…I mean what kid don’t love a good fire? We got to talking and this man offered us $5 each to help him clean up his yard. We get to burn stuff and get paid? Well, heck yea we’ll help, Mister. (We done hit the jackpot!)

We ditched our bikes and got to work burning sticks, straw, leaves, trash and pretty much anything we could find that would burn. Man, we were having so much fun, until we ran out of stuff to burn. We had that yard so clean you could eat off of it but what were we going to do now? I start plundering around and found a can of pork and beans on his carport. He’s never going to eat them if he hadn’t already, so let’s let the suckers burn.

I threw the beans in the fire and never gave them a second thought. About twenty-three minutes later our neighbor was stoking up the fire when all of a sudden, KABOOM! I mean the ground shook, and shook hard. Me and my friend hit the deck. We peeked our heads up for a quick look. Craaaaaap! The can of pork and beans had exploded. It scared the crap out of us, but not as scared as we were when our neighbor turned around to look at us with hot burning pork and beans stuck all over his face.

To heck with the $5, he can keep it. I jumped on my bike and pedaled as fast as my itsy, bitsy little legs would take me. The next day we felt terrible so we went by his house to apologize. We stood there nervously as we rang the door bell. He answers the door and this poor guy looked like he had a double dose of the Mongolian Measles. I had my apology rehearsed in my head but all I could manage to say was daaaaaaaang!