Part V Aftermath
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Sighing heavily, I dusted my scientific self off, several times, and faced the cleanup stage of the experiment.
Mission Control took the worst beating. Using a crowbar and pick axe, I carefully removed the various pieces of rocket material from the Rambler. In a way, the car didn’t look much worse than most AMC vehicles, but that’s being harsh. Over the larger gashes, I placed some “See Rock City” bumper stickers I found in Dad’s collection of junk. Not bad looking; a rather bizarre ad for Rock City.
I moved the Rambler back to the carport, with the unwounded side facing the road. That would give me a fraction of second to run once dad discovered the Rock City side. Oh well, it was his fishing car, and I am sure it would give him a great story to tell his angler buddies. “Hey come look at my car. It was hit by a rocket!”
The crater was a little harder to conceal, and its presence gave away my entire failure. The local paper had a great headline for the weekly paper with “NASA Wannabe Devastates Lower 40”. Embarrassing, but some publicity nevertheless. The firemen who responded to the exploding water heater call still smirk when they see me.
Dad created a great fishpond out of the large cavity created by the rocket motor. For some reason, I can’t remember all the details starting with the time dad discovered the car, to the time he realized he could make a fishpond. As I explained my research, he seemed to stick on the gasoline/sparkplug part.
My dad never struck me, although in this case, I probably deserved it. But his lectures were murder. Hours of “you know son, your and mom and I tried to raise you right” blah blah blah. He must have used some chemical agent on me, as no matter how hard I tried to lapse into unconsciousness, I couldn’t. Just the same voice, echoing for hours. Here dad, whack me with this tree, and let’s get it over with.
Mom took the hard, anti scientist approach. House arrest wasn’t good enough. My Mr. Wizard chemistry set was padlocked and anything stronger than Joy dishwashing liquid was off limits. All my science books were tossed to the top shelf of her closet, to be metered out after she had carefully screened all the experiments– very painful. Any time I looked like I was in thought, she suspected an experiment was brewing, and sent me to labor in her flower gardens.
So, I moved out of aeronautical science, and with the assistance of my brother, decided to pursue something a little safer – medical research.
Reaching for the article on “Building your own x-ray machine” which I had hidden away just in case scientific inquiry became a crime, I read to him the part about seeing the bones in his head.
He thought that was cool. So did I.