Exploding Fire Extinguishers, Tales Of Misadventures
In my younger days, I often played Russian roulette with the fuel in my vehicles. Many of them I knew to within about 500 yards how far the fuel would take me. I remember once my dad taking my sister out for a driving lesson. I was laid under a small lorry I owned repairing something when I heard my dad walk up the drive.
Seems he ran out of fuel about 4 mile up the road, there wasn’t mobile phones in those days, and he didn’t have any money on him for fuel, so he had walked all the way back to get some. Hearing him shout to my mother ‘Where is the little bA*&^rd, I am going to kill him. I decided discretion was the better part of valour and stayed where I was.
I had booked a shooting gallery into a gala in the North East town of Redcar. This particular gallery was built into a 6 wheeled Foden lorry. At the time it would average about 12mpg, so was fairly thirsty. Anyway, I arrived at Redcar, drove onto the allocated pitch, and it promptly conked out of fuel. Oh well, I would operate, get the day over then worry about refuelling.
As it turned out it was a bit of a poor day, and everything was finished by about 5pm.
My at the time mate Arthur, owned a transit van, I asked to borrow it so I could go and fill a 5 gallon drum up with diesel. This would allow me to then return with the lorry to the fuel station and fill it up.
The Fuel Station
I arrived at the fuel station, and in truth pulled up to the pump a little faster than I should have, I was in a hurry. As I braked, again a bit sharp, I heard an almighty explosion, and my world instantly turned white.
Now, I had read in the past about people arriving at the afterlife and seeing a bright white light. This white light was more of a murky grey, but hey, I couldn’t see brimstone and fire so I figured I had gone up, not down.
I was wondering what had killed me, brain aneurysm, heart attack, stroke? Now at this juncture, I became aware that I couldn’t actually breath, and my respiratory tract appeared to be full of gritty, awful tasting stuff. I have to admit, I wasn’t impressed with this afterlife, I mean, whats the point of life after death, if you couldn’t breath and you had a bloody awful taste in your mouth.
I wondered if I was going to spend eternity in the bloody van, or if there was more, so scrabbling around I managed to open the door. As I exited I tripped, landing on my knees and that bloody hurt. So the afterlife where I couldn’t breath I could feel pain? I was wondering about a transfer to the other realm, on the basis of I wasn’t feeling the love in this one. I vaguely remember Sunday school lessons, and I couldn’t recall this being mentioned.
In The Back
As I lay there I became aware that my breathing was returning, I also noticed that a lady at the next pump was looking at me quizzically. I asked her if I was in the afterlife, and she replied “No love, Redcar”
Being a bit non compis mentis at the time it took a while to process this. I wondered if she was an idiot, and why did they let idiots into heaven, but gradually realised I might not be dead. “Am I then, not dead?” I enquired, she looked at me funny, obviously wondering why an idiot was knelt in front of her asking funny questions. “Eeerm you look kind of weird, but I don’t think you are dead, I mean I can still see you”
I must admit, not being a student of the afterlife, I am not sure whether her being able to see me counted for anything. As realisation dawned that my demise was, as Mark Twain once noted, ‘greatly exaggerated’. I climbed to my feet and decided I needed to investigate. Best place to start was, I thought the back of the van.
Opening it I spotted the culprit. It turns out that Arthur was the proud owner of one of the worlds largest dry powder fire extinguishers. A fire extinguisher which has it happens was missing its safety pin to prevent accidental discharge. Seems that my enthusiastic braking had tipped the bloody thing over, whereupon said fire extinguisher had gleefully and molevalantly discharged what seems look half a tonne of dry powder in a matter of seconds.
Now, as I took stock, I realised just how much mess I had caused. The entire van front and rear had a thick coating of powder. The cars at the side of me had received an instantaneous colour change. And you could no longer see through the window of the fuel station.
I still needed fuel, so filled the drum, secured it in the van and went in to pay. Cue howls of laughter from the occupants of the garage. Turns out I also was covered in powder. As one helpful prat, sorry person remarked, I resembled an anaemic ghost.
I got in the van to set off back and discovered I had a problem. The window was obscured, like, totally, I had to wipe peep holes in to see. I pulled over and decided I needed to ring Arthur and prepare him for what I had done to his van. He answered the call. I managed to croak “Arthur, your van”, That’s as far as I got, as I erupted into slightly hysterical laughter, Arthur screaming down the phone “What have you done to my van” didn’t help, I blame the contents of the powder, gotta have some effect right.