[dropcap]I[/dropcap] remember my first shipwreck. It occurred in the lake behind the Methodist church, at the Fourth of July celebration, when I was fifteen.
It took some convincing on Andrew’s part to peel me away from the punch table at the party, where I was busy demonstrating my newly acquired mail-order turkey-call for Charlotte Watkins and her sister. Things were going wonderfully until Andrew butted in and pulled me away.
“Hey,” I said. “I was in the middle of something.”
Andrew avowed with great earnest that, unless the girls were affiliated with the Future Farmers of America Organization, they were probably uninterested in the mating habits of the North American turkey. “What a girl really wants,” Andrew said. “Is a man who knows his way around a crate of projectile explosives.”
“Explosives?” I asked.
Andrew held a large bottle rocket up to the moonlight like a newborn babe, “This is what women want.”
So, Andrew, the Watkins girls, and I piled into the little boat, with a crate of fireworks. We pushed off from shore, and quietly paddled out a ways. When we arrived to what Andrew referred to as “the sweet spot,” he lit the first fuse, and we watched the Mexican ballistic missile scream upward.
All of the sudden, Charlotte Watkins let out a shriek. I turned to see that her dress had erupted into flames. I began throwing handfuls of water onto Charlotte’s dress, but it was to no avail. She stripped the garment off, and flung it down in the middle of the boat. It smoldered there like a pile of dried leaves.
When I looked at her sitting there, I forgot all about the fire, and proposed marriage to Charlotte right then and there. She refused, and slugged me in the stomach.
When I suggested that we elope instead, she dove overboard.