The Firecracker Dome / 8 July 2002

Did you see the fireworks, diary? No, of course you didn’t, I keep you tucked away in a padlocked satchel, wrapped in plaaaaastic, floating in a sensory-deprivation tank I’ve constructed out of a barbecue grill sealed shut with Andrew’s homemade epoxy, hidden under the floorboards — it is the beating of his hideous heart! Which is why I don’t write in you every day. By the time I dig you out and find an operational Erasermate, I’ve forgotten what I was going to say.

Oh but yeah, the fireworks. I went to Chacha’s like I did last year, except this time it was snowing (quickly) so we had to drag the kegs and tiki torches inside. Luckily, Chacha had her grandfather’s firecracker dome (they can dazzle or delight / or bring a tear / when the smoke gets in your eyes). She dimmed the lights via remote control, then unveiled this contraption that looked like a gutted ticker tape machine. She pumped something into the glass bulb with a bellows, opened a few brass irises embedded into the wooden base, then dropped her half-smoked cigarette through a hole in the top.

Never have I seen cuter fireworks. So petite! Little comets, roman candles, cakes, mines, batteries and bombshells and wheels, all the size of a smaller-than-average fist. The sound was disappointingly thin, like someone tapping a wine glass with a dessert spoon in the next room, and soon enough the smoke obscured all but the white, blinding strobes, but it was still better than nothing.

We all applauded and asked her to clean it out and run it again but she turned her back and said nothing. We glanced at each other, lidded steins in hand, shrugging, mouthing words of concern. “The dome is spent,” she said at last. “You shall never see its like again.”

And we all consoled her, saying it was spectacular, it was once-in-a-lifetime, it was magical and precious. But afterward, staggering to our cars, we admitted that we would’ve enjoyed it a lot more if we’d known it was a one-time deal.

Joshua Green Allen

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