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Posts Tagged ‘Rockets’

Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard (French, pronounced Rocket Rishaaad) was a great Canadian,  he defines hockey.  He stopped playing the game five years before I was born.  He won eight Stanley cups with the Montreal Canadians.  He was the first to make fifty goals in fifty games.  He was the first to make five hundred career goals.  He actually made 544.  We learned all about him in elementary school, we wanted to be him.  You simply could not grow up in the environment I grew up in and not have heard the name ‘Rocket’ Richard.

Alas, this post has nothing to do with hockey.  It has nothing to do with the great Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard.  It has to do with my friend Richard. Sometimes I think of him as ‘Rocket’ Richard and it is not because of his talent with a puck. Rather it is because of an episode with a rocket.

For awhile Richard and I dabbled in model rocketry. A basic model can go anywhere from 300 ft to 1500 ft into the air.  They are easy to make, or you can buy a kit.  The kits can be very basic or incredibly elaborate.  I always went for the cheap simple ones or I made my own because while my successful launch rate was excellent I never had a successful recovery.

Richard decided to buy one of the fancier kits.  This one looked like a flying saucer rather than your standard tube shaped rockets.  If my memory serves me correctly this flying saucer needed a ‘D’ engine which was one of the larger classes of model rocket engines. 

A model rocket engine resembles a roll of quarters they are primarily made of gun powder. Basically you explode the engine and if you have made your rocket correctly the thrust of the explosion goes downward propelling the rocket upward.

When I left Richards house everything was fine.  He was tweaking the saucer and we made plans to launch it in the next day or so.  I wasn’t there for the incident but I was able to piece a few things together, but to this day I don’t honestly know if I ever got the whole truth.

The next day my phone rings:

Richard:  “I launched the rocket” 

Me: “Really?  Did it fly?”

Richard: “Yes”

Me: “But?”

Rich: “I launched it inside.”

Me: “Inside?”

Rich: “Basement!”

I thought about that ‘D’ class engine, I thought about the possibility of this thing launching fifteen hundred feet into the air, possibly more.  I also thought about the low seven foot ceiling of Richard’s basement.

Me: “Damage?”

Rich: “Uhm I think I can get away with it.”

We both know the alternative would not be good.

Me: “Seriously?”

Rich: “Can you come over?”

The basement was poorly lit.  Most of the light came from the tv, the aquarium or the really small street level window. Because of the poor lighting it did take me a moment to find the burnt spot on the ceiling and perhaps a moment longer to find the chipped and scarred molding.  There was a chance his father wouldn’t notice there was also a chance that this was just a bad dream. The funny thing is Richard almost got away with it, almost.  There was one element we didn’t take into enough consideration.  Stephen!  Richard’s younger. The problem with Stephen is that he wears his emotions and his expressions loudly on his face.  He is a horrible liar.  Stephen didn’t purposely throw Richard under the bus but that is exactly where Richard wound up. 

When Richard’s father came into the basement to say hello Stephen could not keep his eyes off the damaged ceiling.  Stephen could not look at us, his father, the TV or the aquarium.  No, he had to stare at that bloody spot.  Of course Richard’s father followed Stephen’s gaze.  So did ours.  There was no choice.  Stephen just couldn’t look away, not even for a second.

Why you may ask did Richard launch a rocket inside the house?  That is what I asked.  He didn’t think it would work.

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