You must understand the almost impossible sound of the word 'Fireworks' first to understand how I felt as I watched this; it sounds like something Nero might have said when he was looking for a really good way to fuck over Rome, had he been English and rather short with his statements. Perhaps it’s the phrase that sighed softly from the lips of some inquisitors trying to discover a way that they might truly deal with witchcraft and the wretched bodies left behind after the dealing-with. Maybe it’s the mantra of mankind—maybe it’s the one phrase that kept our pitiful little ‘civilization’ going in all times of hardship—and maybe, just maybe it’s the phrase that answered that great proclamation of Ozymandias.
“Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!”
Now, I understand the true etymology of the word and I could definitely give you a rather invigorating lecture on the origin and real meaning of it all, but whenever I hear it I must admit that it seems the fictional origin fits far better than the factual one. Gonzo-etymology, if you will. It’s an emerging field, but as we continue to evolve our vocabulary I’m sure that it’ll grow. Or perhaps it’s just that more and more people will claim to be a part of it—most of us may as well be.
So I watched as these fires worked within the bright blazes in the sky and couldn’t help but feel fascinated, sitting on the roof of the dockside house that serves as my sometime-home. I always like to pretend that this kind of Fourth of July display is really just a belated celebration of my birthday. It makes the darkness seem a little cozier.
Anyway, so, I watched this light, deluding myself happily and rocking softly with the waves and wind and mulling over the sheer bloody-mindedness of mankind, when something pierced my reverie. I felt the first drops of rain. All of a sudden it occurred to me that the first kinds of fireworks (or, really, the vaguer ‘pyrotechnics’) were made by the Chinese for the specific of use of just being fucking loud and annoying, but not for blasting the shit out of anything other than air. It also occurred to me that the raindrops perhaps were portentous of more things than the strange ways of Asians, but I felt compelled to stay on the roof. Something about the convergence of these disparate elements with the history of ‘boomfuckboom’ drew me into a trance.
I ended up soaked atop a rocking, wooden thing which one would suspect is not entirely within safety regulations if it is unable to withstand a little wave and stormy weather without turning into a fucking mechanical bull with a proclivity for making its inhabitants think that the end is very well fucking nigh. I could barely think; I saw the firmament turn into a holocaust above me while the foundation quaked below. My mind was buffeted on the wind, perhaps even made into a buffet for the consumption of the sluagh sídhe that were following the ebbs of life that night. For all the thoughts of death that must have been caught on the wind that night, most likely my little home-away-from-home was a centerpiece.
Drenched as I was, I was laughing loud as a young child wrapped in several layers of water-heavy outerwear that he was given by his grandmother and told rather specifically not to get soaked to the bone in and gripping the bow of a bucking boat as he sails for the first time. The world was dying in pieces around me like an old story I felt like I had read before but could only vaguely remember. All I knew was this: This was a tale that rang true. Yggdrasil was aflame; an ashtree was made ash; my thin voice was washed out to sea by the waves of wind and rain, perhaps to wash ashore a foreign land in a tiny bottle; it was the final exclamation mark to my consciousness.
I awoke to the sound of seagulls reenacting the Civil War over their slave-fish near the dock. Their lieutenants and cavalry marshaled as I came to conscious with an ache in my back but a surprisingly clear mind. Sea air does that for the mind; there’s nothing like high-tide-smell’s ability to make you snap to attention (mainly so that you can find a way to stop smelling it) and sober-up over post-Apocalypse intoxication. I ignored the battling crabfantrymen and found my way off the roof. I picked a careful path down among the myriad storm-debris and went to look over the damage that must have been caused to the mechanical bull I called my abode.
Nothing was disturbed at all.
Not one fucking thing.
I had just spent most of my night expecting the world to be all dust, rust, and apocalyptic, mutant crab-people and all, and I find this rocking deathtrap perfectly pristine.
It was at this time that I discovered that it was indeed entirely possible for inanimate objects to be motherfuckers.
I stomped through the house, making goddamned sure to be loud as fuck in case the other inhabitants had somehow managed to stay just as pristine as the house itself. I decided I would ignore it for the moment. I went to the dock and began the long, arduous process of checking all of the crab traps. I’ll remove the suspense for you: This was a mistake.
You see, when a storm comes by, you’ll find that interesting things usually come up in high tide the next day. High tide is normally interesting, but storms seem to bring in the weirdest abominations of sea life that you can imagine.
Now, to properly prepare you for what I am about to describe, I must first describe crabs themselves. They are evil creatures made of pure malice. They hate fish, they hate birds, they hate other crabs, and, most of all, they hate you. They are not nice. They will kill each other for fun. There’s an old adage among crabtrappers. Never have only one crab in a bucket. If you have one crab in a bucket, it’s possible that it could escape. If, however, you have two crabs in a bucket, you don’t have to worry about them escaping because one will always grab the other fucker and yank him back down if it seems like he has a chance of making a break for it. They hate. That is their purpose. There is a reason for the word “crabby” having the connotations that it does.
You can imagine properly now that I was a bit surprised and concerned to discover the somewhat cumbersome weight holding down the other end of one of my crab traps was a veritable clusterfuck of all the ugliest, meanest, and largest crabs to ever glare menacingly at an unlucky sop like me. You, perhaps, cannot imagine what possessed me to haul this crabby fucking doom onto the dock. I can’t. Neither can I imagine what made me think it was a good idea to place this boiling pot of pinchfuckclawkill directly in-between me and dry land.
What followed is something I will keep between me, whatever deity governs the evil hive consciousness of all clawed, seaborn arachnids, and perhaps whichever seagull was laughing its ass off as my ankles became the target of about fifteen different sets of claws.
So I returned to the house with my haul, or what was left of it after I had beaten most of it into bait or off the dock, and found something peculiar about the shape of the windows on the upperdeck of the house. Some of the debris had fallen in an interesting and particular manner which changed the overall façade of the house itself.
I swear on the graves of several different crabs which I would never want to haunt me after what I did to them if I could help it, this house was fucking grinning at me.
And as I stood there, agog at the simple existential horror of knowing the house that you just rode on through Apocalypse into crabby hell is grinning at you, I seemed to have forgotten that old adage of never having a crab alone in a bucket. A sharp pain stabbed into my right hand and I made rather unmanly noises. The little bugger had crawled up sideways on the side of the bucket, reached up with one big fucking claw, and dug said appendage into the thick part of my hand between my forefinger and my thumb.
Once again, this next section of my memory is between me and one apparently very vengeful god.
So I found myself with a bandaged hand, staring at a dazed crab, several of its evil brethren crawling around in a bucket, and a grinning house. I was wondering what exactly I should do to get proper justice for the wrongs done to my person.
Then, it dawned on me.