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the day the fire trucks came

while cleaning out the garage for my then new el camino i found roughly 60 pounds of copper wire.  OLD copper wire from back when they had cloth insulation. you know like you see on old toasters a wire inside of a thick black shoelace.  scary right? well apparently they used this wire for everything back in the day, even wiring a house.  i tried not to think about the fact that the house i'm living in almost certainly had the rest of the wire from this spool running through it's walls.  hell, i don't own anything worth a crap anyhow. so what if some rain leaks in through the roof and gets one of the wires wet while i'm sleeping and i wake up to a raging'll be a good dry run for when i wake up in hell.

instead i focus on the fact that copper wire is worth like 2 dollars a pound. at 60 pounds that 120.00 of free money.  but friend tells me that it's worth 3.00 a pound it the wire is stripped...meaning has NO insulation.  removing the insulation from a modern plastic coated wire would be a choir...but THIS stuff was just covered with cloth...i need to simply burn it off.  look, i know it sounds stupid but it sounds LESS stupid when another stupid person is agreeing with is the same mentality that protesters have just before the police give there final warning and charge in with pepper spray and bean bag guns.  it is a mentality that is really more interested in "let's prove we are right" than if it is stupid, dangerous,  practical, or even counterproductive to what we are trying to do.  in this case i am trying to collect some quick cash, and not thinking of the extra time or cost (damage to property = cost)  i hang up with my friend and carry an armful of copper wire to the balcony facing the back yard...and to my Weber grill.

the flames were not anything special at first...but soon they turned green and was really pretty cool.  but soon they started to get out of hand and i thought "oh well so much for that idea, I'll just take them in as is."  i wander over to the fire extinguisher ( you didn't think i would try this without a fire extinguisher didja?)  pull the pin...pull the trigger and...nothing.  empty.  

the flames are now starting the grill handle on fire.  that's pretty hot.  so i wander over to the other fire extinguisher.  pull the pin pul the trigger...nothing...empty.  what luck eh?  oh well the balcony is right by the bathroom to i stick a bucket in the tub and turn on the water.  while it is filling up and figure i'd better keep an eye on the grill.  from up on the balcony i hear my two asshole neighbors  ( a husband and wife team)  on my left and my one nice neighbor on my right discussing if they should call the fire dept.  i call down that nothing is wrong, and that everything is under control.  

i go back get the bucket put out the fames and hear a fire truck siren.  now i live three blocks from the fire house so this doesn't necessarily mean that they called anyhow...or that they called before even asking each other if they should call.  the siren gets closer and sure enough a big ass fire truck an ambulance and a ploice car all jackknife themselves in my front yard.  down i go to deal with the overreaction.  that overreaction being no less then ten city employees showing up to deal with what would have been at worst and unmanned Weber grill (being a man with little patience i usually use alot of lighter fluid when cooking out to get the charcoal going and i can tell you that the flames from my normal grillout are much higher than the flames from the copper the neighbors and i have a ...shall we say history.  one in which i am usually holding the clean end of the stick.  it vexes them to no end. and they would like nothing less than to have the city force me to move)

i explain to the FIRE CHIEF that the flames were only from my grill, that i was standing next the the grill telling the idiots that called you that it was under control.  the idiot and his wife then blurt out "it wasn't US! the whole block was concerned...just look around!"  on every porch there is a slack jawed white trash single mom or alcoholic staring at us. i reply loudly "the whole block is out because a big ass fire truck is jackknifed in my yard at 3 in the afternoon and the,re all unemployed.  the locals react like vampires to garlic and shuffle back into thier homes to finish watching judge judy and mock the plantifs-  "why would you go to court over who pays the electric bill...just don't pay it." 

back to the fire chief, he looks at the two assholes who have already painted themselves guilty for calling in a false alarm by protesting that it wasn't them before i even got around to being more specific than "idiots".  and says "well i gotta take a look anyhow".

as i show him up the the balcony i chill runs through my viens...did i close the lid? will he open the lid if i did close it? is it legal to burn electrical wire on your balcony?  we get up to the balcony..the lid is closed..he looks around shrugs, looks down at the idiots who are pleading there case with the cop who showed up, sighs and goes away.

fate taught me a lesson though.  while the copper would have been worth more per pound stripped, due to the fact that it was covered with cloth weight twice as much WET.  i made just under 200.00.  i used it to by a canoe. didn't need a canoe but the price was right and it drove my neighbors nuts.  A-it made my back yard look like crap and B- since i left it right side up it filled with rain water and all the pretty birds that they hoped to lure to thier yard with thier bird feeder hung out in my canoe.

next time Douglas vs the nieghbors part IV...the fence.


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