It happened during our annual Fourth of July family reunion. Uncle Matt was issued the wager by the other uncles: twenty dollars to sing “Yankee Doodle” while they ignited a rocket using his anus as the launch pad.
Having married my Aunt Marsha that spring, Uncle Matt was the newest member of the family and honored to join in the fun. He also was plenty intoxicated. This was the late eighties, when cigarettes and gluten were still cool, before anyone knew it was dangerous to place flammable materials inside anal cavities and light them on fire to see what might happen.
You can probably guess what came next. My uncles, equally intoxicated, welshed on the bet, as was their way, claiming Uncle Matt was supposed to clap and stomp while he belted out “Yankee Doodle” as the fiery rocket roared out of his backside.
Most of us kids, also intoxicated, did not recall hearing the part of the wager that involved clapping. We were busy cheering as the massive illumination ricocheted off our neighbor’s house and detonated beautifully in traffic, and also relieved Uncle Matt’s testicles did not explode. Uncle Matt was furious. He demanded his twenty bucks, but the uncles gave him noogies for being a good sport, claiming the wager was a ruse to see if he would actually go through with it.
You can probably guess what came next. Uncle Matt decided to beat them to death with a shovel, which ended the reunion.
As important issues do, the trial that followed divided the nation. On the one hand, you cannot murder people with shovels over gambling disagreements. On the other, a bet is a bet. If the uncles, rest their souls, wagered a man to pucker a rocket, then they were obligated to pay the debt. We kids stayed out of it, not wanting to take sides between the uncles even though most of them were deceased.
The district attorney had been to college twice and was no stranger to blasting patriotism out of his derriere in celebration of the nation’s independence and also Fridays. A soft spot for shenanigans involving pyrotechnics, he offered Uncle Matt twelve years, home in three months. But Uncle Matt said no way; he expulsed that rocket out of his asshole whilst singing “Yankee Doodle” fair and square, and he was entitled to his earnings. His stubbornness paid off when four citizens, also having anally catapulted rolled-up gunpowder into the sky only to be hoodwinked by peers for their bravado, were chosen to serve on the jury.
There were daily protests outside the courthouse: those for the death penalty, those for acquittal on grounds of gambling etiquette, a bunch of religious nuts claiming god did not create the rectum to launch rockets but instead for defecation and occasional perverted sex.
Uncle Matt was acquitted of murder. His memoir, while panned by critics and proctologists, was a bestseller. The movie adaptation starred Bruce Dern as Uncle Matt and different costumed versions of Nicholas Cage as each of the uncles. Nationally, there was a spike in emergency room visits for patients with scorched genitalia. Uncle Matt was hired by Good Morning America as an Anal Aviation Safety Analyst. “It’s imperative to point the rocket in the proper direction,” Uncle Matt cautioned the nation leading up to holiday weekends.
After he was elected to the U.S. Senate as the hawkish candidate devoted to fireworks propulsion reform, everyone forgot about the murders. First they came for the firecrackers. Then they came for the bottle rockets. Then Uncle Matt came for his twenty dollars. Out of spite over the ancient wager, he tipped off the Feds to our Fourth of July family reunion to which he was no longer invited. We were in the process of lighting one out of Aunt Marsha when the Feds raided.
You can probably guess what came next. Someone leaked pictures of Aunt Marsha kabobbed on that rocket with a drunken grin, which publicly humiliated Uncle Matt. He resigned in disgrace. Our fireworks were confiscated. We were charged for each rocket: unlawful wagering, 211 counts of possession, 211 counts of intent to anally discharge. The fines turned out to be significantly more than twenty bucks. We never heard from Uncle Matt again.
And that’s why fireworks are not meant to be ignited out of anuses.