As I’ve said before, my best friend Steve and I were huge pyromaniacs. Growing up on Long Beach Island, in the off season, there was not a lot to do. We’d burn just about anything. Soon we graduated to accelerants. We would find an old bottle (no, not one of those with a deposits on it!) and make a Molotov cocktail. We were always trying to find the best mixture of ingredients. We would test them on the jetties on the beach. Some were quite explosive. We finally decided that a mixture of gasoline and stripeze, a gel paint remover, was best. It would burn like gasoline, but stick to anything it touched. Our own form of napalm!
One of our favorite things to do was to walk through vacant lots looking for bottles that had a deposit on them. We would then head up the island a couple of miles to the hobby shop. $0.16 would buy us a nickel glider (it took some looking to find this, but this is the exact glider we’d buy – notice the plastic wing holder):
and a 10 pack of boxed rolled caps.
We would take them back to Steve’s house, and we would carefully remove the gunpowder from those rolled caps. Each roll held 50 caps with 5 rolls in each box. 2,500 caps. With a couple of stolen double edged safety razor blades, we’d scrape those caps open and collect the gunpowder on a piece of notebook paper. Because occasionally a cap would fire and burn up the powder we had collected, we would regularly dump the powder into a Sucrets box. Remember them? Sore throat remedy. Probably illegal today.
Steve’s Mom would freak out when a whole bunch of powder would go up at once. Thank god we didn’t have smoke detectors.
Once we got all of the gunpowder out of those caps, we’d take the gunpowder and we’d make a fuse out of a small piece of paper and a little gunpowder. Then we’d roll up the rest of gunpowder deep inside of the rolled up piece of notebook paper. We’d have a slightly oversized firecracker when we were done. Then we’d hollow out the fuselage of the glider, just big enough to hold the homemade firecracker. Then it was to the beach!
With the glider assembled, we’d make about 100 test flights. It was hard to get it just right, because of the extra weight of the “bomb” on board our airplane. Thankfully the wings were adjustable. Once we got things JUST right, we’d flip that last penny to decide who got to throw and who got to light. We’d practice the lighting and throwing dance together too. Too much time invested to screw up now. Seriously, we practiced like Navy Seals headed to kill Bin Laden. Well, maybe not THAT much, but you know what I mean.
When we finally made a decision to “go”, we’d light the firecracker, and launch. Sssss… BOOM! And that was how we’d spend a Saturday.