Archive for the ‘Hooksett’ Category

By Roads

March 16, 2013

hooksett new hampshire field

Came out of the brush somewhere on Route 103 East, couple miles from where it hooks up to 89. Sun about 5 degrees up from straight dawn, chilly as shit. Wearing nothing but some generic hunter green work overalls, sturdy enough but the name tag torn off and the legs all ripped to hell like I’d been wrestling a particularly vengeful badger. Maybe a fisher cat, I don’t really know. Things are hazy. I know there’s a night at a remote fishing lodge in the mix, little old thing, rustic, one story, up on pylons near the local pond. Bare bones, just for the hardcore angler/naturist type. I know there’s a heavily tattooed Inuit guy named “Crystal” involved, a duffel bag full of truly low grade homegrown, a couple machetes and a box of M-80’s that just kept singing out my name all night long.

I know the cabin’s a smoldering ruin right now and the smart folks have decided to scatter but that’s really about it.

Goddamnit but my ribs are sore and these fucking workboots are a size too small.

Check my pockets. About a dollar and 39 cents. Card from a real estate agent in Wyoming. A comb. Small canvas sack full of nickels. Half a pepperoni sandwich that’s not all bad considering the number of pine needles stuck in the bread. Breast pocket has a hand written note. “Come you bounty hunter. Come you county killer”. Big, crazy letters. Not my handwriting, I don’t think.

I whip the nickels at a passing Saab with two snowboards attached to the roof, shatter the passenger side rear window with a sound like spider monkeys being tortured with a cattle prod. Couple young, well dressed “winter sport enthusiasts” hop out to give me the eye but think better of it when I show them my teeth. Fuck you, roll on. These are my god-cursed woods.

Flag down a passing school bus (apparently it’s Tuesday, who knew?) and luckily the driver is a girl who enjoys a whiff of danger in her life and we spend a a quality quarter of an hour teaching the kids a particularly vulgar sea shanty. Got a good melody and after the driver passes me the flask she’s got hidden in the dash I start feeling weepy. Pop the doors and ditch out near Hopkinton, tuck and roll into the long grass. Some old snow breaks most of the fall but I’m not sure I’ll ever throw a frisbee again with quite the same accuracy as I used to.

Which is sure as shit a good reason to spend 90 minutes by the side of a New Hampshire dirt road screaming incoherently up at the drab morning sky. Voice all raspy and hoarse by the time I get to the barking part of the performance and now I’m just tired. Nap a bit beside and old rock wall where some kid threw a skateboard with three wheels and a torn up dog collar. I hug the thing while I sleep. Gives me a measure of comfort which you wouldn’t expect but that’s me, I guess.

By the time sun sets I’m home. A well meaning member of the local constabulary has brought me here. Whole ride in silence but with the haunted feeling we’d done it before only I have no idea of his name. Seems like a nice kid and so I just keep my mouth shut. Grateful he never mentions the smell. Drives off without a word never thinking to see if I have a key to the place. Which I don’t.

No matter. The wood shed is unlocked and there’s a bottle or two squirreled in the eaves. Short while I’ve got a proper back woods bonfire roaring. Sparks rise up to the neverending stretch of stars and dark, slowly turning above me. Vast. Uncaring. Without judgement or expectation.

A man with a bottle. Rocking and swaying.

Staring into the fire.

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Rage of the Screaming Fire Demon

May 14, 2012

fire demon

I may have mentioned this before but the lands just Northwest of the Compound’s borders are rumored to contain an ancient Native American burial ground. It just so happens that that is the same area of my land best suited to what we sometimes call the Bad Craziness Bonfire.

If you hike out northwards from the Compound and slowly head west before you reach the edges of Bear Brook State Park, you can climb a small ridge that, when you crest it, reveals what looks like a crater in the side of the hills where, some tell me, a meteorite smacked into the rocky New Hampshire soil one All Hallows Eve in the early twenties. Killed about 17 nudists and left one hell of a snazzy impression in the rolling landscape that I, for one, am happy to take advantage of. The upper eastern rim is a great spot to chill out and look out over the ponds and the river to the sun setting over the distant hills of Dunbarton and Weare. Nice spot to relax and burn shit.

With that in mind, while I’m landscaping a proper woodland hangout up there, I like to pile up all the old brush and deadwood I can into a big mound and, when it’s big enough, invite a handful of the local ne’er do wells and light the fucker. It’s a BYOB event and, if you know the right people, you can get past security and guarantee yourself one hell of a night. Put it this way, you’ll see the sunset and the following dawn and, in between, the sort of blazing party that would terrorize the fuck out of anyone present during the fall of Saigon.

The main concern is, of course, accelerant. 5 gallons of gasoline, all the used motor oil we can get our hands on form the local farms, that half-can of gunpowder from the 4th and a backpack full of defective fireworks bought cheap. Propane torches, lighter fluid, 4 months worth of the Times and Globe and an issue or two of Barely Legal. Seven finely dried Christmas trees, a seven foot stack of old pallets and that case of Duraflame logs that fell off that truck in Londonderry two weeks ago.

To start.

Pile it high. Light the damn thing. Back. The. Fuck. Up.

It’s a good time, I think. Never heard anyone really complain. Even Dabney Chigger, a Pharmacist fired from over seventeen CVS and Walgreens’ in four states, who was almost wrestled into the coals by Chad Greenlough’s epileptic Russian bride that night in ’09 when we had that pipe bomb making contest. Bernie Dillinger once burned all the hair off his own genitals with a hairspray flamethrower and he was still laughing about it three days later in the infirmary.

Not much holds a candle to what happened Saturday night however. Maybe it was Sketch Lowrie’s moonshine or maybe it was the presence of Pete Nickelsson, last living descendant of a supposedly cursed Maine logging family, on the grounds. Maybe it was the fresh blood we spilled when Cal Deeter said “fuck it” and had his brother Ernesto do an impromptu wisdom tooth extraction on scene with nothing more than a six inch multi-tool and a butter knife. I don’t know for sure. All I know is things got weird fast.

The fire went up with the kind of whooshing roar you’d more expect at a Shuttle launch and the damned flame was forty feet high before the glass from the molotov cocktail even settled in the kindling. Six or eight of us lost eyebrows right off the bat and Linda Deuterrie went spinning down the embankment slapping at her North Face like it was riddled with bees. Glen Johnson was screaming but it’s possible he’d been doing that for hours, I don’t know. Never really got over the lukewarm reception to Ovations, I don’t think.

Then we saw it. Stig Marmoset’s face was scarlet and stretched out in horror as his arms flailed and waived and I looked up above the fire and saw it, a raging, screaming demon of pure flame come to burn us all in terrible judgement. A wave of air pressure like a giant slamming you backwards and the sound of a thousand screaming guitars on feedback and we all fell to the ground, dead eyes raised to the towering flames like the mortal doomed that we truly are.

And then it was gone.

After a good twenty minutes of wordless quiet and only the steadily softening crackle of the fire as it died down to less apocalyptic levels, I suggested we maybe move up the start of the after party and drinks were on me down at Pasties. Most folks agreed, nodding their still smoldering heads slowly. We’d just got Last Call From The Seventh Circle and we knew it.

Anyway. Checked back in at the spot this morning and it was no worse for wear. Spotted a couple aging, dried out pines that need to be put to rest. Think I know just where to drop them. Start building a new brush pile.

I’ll let you know when it’s ready.