Saturday, August 18, 2007

Pyrotechnic schoolboy prank

Subject: Pyrotechnic schoolboy prank
From: (David Cockburn)
Date: 2 Aug 1994 03:52:19 -0500
Lines: 78

Story starts in a Chemistry lesson, with Teacher demonstrating that when you bubble acetylene gas through some standard lab reagent (can't remember what I'm afraid! - maybe I'll x-post this to the rec.pyrotechnics mob for comment) you get a black precipitate of god-knows-what, which when dried out, forms an exceedingly unstable powder which explodes with a helluva crack at the slightest provocation. Not surprisingly, Rick the class boffin leaves the lesson at the end with a bottle of said reagent and a bag of calcium carbide (+ water = acetylene, y'know) in his school-bag.

So Rick shortly goes into production of this stuff in a big way, and is soon to discover that for optimum effect it can be detonated by packing it v-e-r-y gently around a short length of eureta wire, and hooking this up to a 9-volt battery via a nice long cable (battery heats up eureta wire,
causing detonation). Much mirth is then had by hiding tiny packets of the magic powder along the road and rendering innocent passers-by almost airborne by remote control from behind a nearby wall or wherever.

But this isn't enough to fulfil Rick's creative urges. Final refinement of the technique comes with the realization that by tightly wrapping the powder and wire with cling-film (saran-wrap in 'Merkan-speak?) it can probably be rendered waterproof, and then...

But unfortunately supplies of raw materials are by this stage running pretty low, so there is no opportunity to test the theory before putting it into practice. Rick therefore packs his entire remaining stash around the detonator, and tightly wraps the whole lot in clingfilm.

The stunt was to be staged in the school crapper after lunch one day, when an unsuspecting kiddie could be predicted to arrive promptly to plant a post-prandial pooh with a reasonable degree of certainty. Rick locks himself in a cubicle with his kit, and carefully sets his charge inside the porcelain, well below the water-line. The very thin cable is led up
the side, under the seat and through to the adjacent cubicle. Removal of all the light bulbs in the area ensures that illumination is low enough for the trap to be invisible to a cursory inspection. Rick shuts all the cubicle doors except the booby-trapped one, installs himself on the adjacent crapper, and waits...

The rest of us wait outside, watching from an overlooking balcony. Sure enough, not long to wait before some kid saunters in for a nice relaxing dump. So picture if you will Rick sitting there on the next bog with a wire in each hand, with a half-crazed expression on his face like Anthony
Hopkins in 'Juggernaut', waiting for precisely the optimum moment...

Door shuts... lock clicks home. Belt undone... trousers down... buttock touchdown... bladder voids... sphincter dilation commences... CONTACT!!! Rick touches his wires together. For just a second, nothing happens. Rats - the stuff must have got wet. Then K-A-B-O-O-M!! there's the most almighty explosion... and then: complete, utter, total silence.

Pretty shocked by what's just happened, Rick hops down from his perch and makes rapidly for the exit. What now? We all heard the bang and were all now more than a little worried as to the potential consequences... "Oh shit..." "Well it was *your* idea..." "I *told* you there was too much charge there..." etc etc. In retrospect, God knows why nobody went in to administer first aid or whatever, but no one did: we just hung about ouside nervously biting fingernails. But eventually the youth totters out of the lavvy, and amidst much relief, everyone crowds round to find out what had happened.

Apparently the poor kid had just sat down and 'opened up' when the thing detonated. Subsequent examination of the crimescene revealed what had happened. The porcelain was covered in soot from the rim to the waterline - not that there was the slightest trace of any water left in the bowl. The cubicle walls were soaked to about waist-height, but most notable was the wet line which ran from straight up the door almost top the top - resulting from the piss-stream still emerging from the lad's flapping tool as he went flying into the air upon detonation.

Mercifully and miraculously, it turned out that no damage had been done to the boy or his wedding tackle. He hadn't had a clue what had happened to him - he'd thought there'd been some sort of explosion in the sewers. Afterwards he'd just sat there quaking in terror, unable to move himself, let alone his bowels. In fact the word was that the poor little sod was
constipated for a fortnight afterwards... funny, that.

David Cockburn (who *always* checks before sitting down)

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