The mortar exploded into a monstrously satisfying boom and shower of neon sparks in the sky above them. Off in the distance, a car alarm set off by the shockwave howled in protest.
“Heck yeah!” Clifford shouted as he dug another beer from the rapidly emptying cooler. “Didn’t I tell you guys, cop don’t care nothin’ ‘bout any of this.”
Clifford and his friends were set up in an unfinished part of the subdivision, and had been shooting off fireworks since dusk. Which was a few hours ago, judging by the rate the cooler was emptying.
He’d blown a weeks pay on fireworks down in Mississippi, but it had been completely worth it. Tonight was about perfect for Clifford.
Then he sniffed the air. Something was…burning. And not firework burning, but burning burning. He stuck his head up and looked around like a prairie dog.
Across the street behind them, a half-built model house was wreathed in flames.
There were scorch marks dotting the ground, leading away from his friends, toward the house. Some of the fireworks must’ve gone wrong in wind, he figured.
The flames roared higher and Clifford’s mouth went dry.
“Grab the beer and run!”
Inside of the Memphis city limits, it is illegal to shoot off any kind of firework more dangerous than sparkler – and I think those might even be verboten. But, that doesn’t stop thousands of Memphis from trekking across to Mississippi or Arkansas, stopping at a gas station to stock up on beer and high explosives, then heading back home to show everyone how the 4th of July is done right.