“Memries”

It’s funny the things that will pop into a guy’s head sometimes just out of the blue.

A memory from twenty years ago just did.

I remembered one time when I was still married to the 1st wife back in the early 90’s and I was standing out in the yard on a nice Summer day screwing around doing yard work.

As I recall I was trimming some tree or something when all of a sudden I got a serious whiff of that unmistakable rotten egg stink they put in propane gas.

Then it got stronger and it didn’t just float off in the wind.

It persisted.

We were right on a corner so I walked around looking to see if some dumb shit was messing with a BBQ or something but there wasn’t anyone in sight.

About thirty seconds later a whole bunch of the neighbors started piling out of their houses out into the street all saying the same thing.

“Do you smell that?”

“Smells like gas.”.

Everyone started walking around looking for the source and at least two of the women folk said they were calling the police and the Fire department, both of which were like six blocks away.

By that point it had been going on for several minutes and it was really strong.

There must have been fifteen people out in the street too.

Pretty soon here they come but by then the smell had gone away as quickly as it had started so of course they didn’t have a clue as to what to do except walk around looking like I had done and trying to calm the panicky neighbors.

We never did find out where that came from but it was strong enough that people could smell it INSIDE their houses.

Fast forward to the present and a little thought experiment.

What would happen if somehow someone could get away with dropping a full propane bottle into a convenient garbage can on a hot Summer evening just after sundown with the valve cracked on it just enough to get a fairly steady stream of propane coming out of it and then just drove away?

I’m thinking it wouldn’t be too long before things got really interesting around there and some of the cities resources were kept busy for a while.

In other words, Diversion 101.

You know, just a thought.

16 thoughts on ““Memries”

  1. Spring of 1972 I was a senior at a northern Virginia high school. Some buddies and I piled into a huge 1969 Cadillac De Ville (De Royal Extrordinare) and left school to get lunch. Coming over a rise in neighborhood in Annandale we were greeted by what looked like a B52 arc lite strike. About 20 large brick homes had just been leveled by a gas leak caused by a nearby backhoe operator hitting a line. The gas traveled along the lines in the dirt to homes and filled basements until an ignition source was reached. No one died as they were all either at work or school. There was one woman running door to door in bare feet trying to warn people. She survived the blast but her feet got shredded by glass everywhere and we could follow her path by the bloody footprint. Anyway, we dumped out the bong water & about then emergency responders were showing up so it was back to school for our sorry but very stunned asses.

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  2. Phil’s ‘cunning as a shithouse rat’ streak surfacing again. BTW Phil, the early ’90s was 30 years ago, not 20! I too am amazed that my memories are those of an old fart, I never planned on hanging around this long. Some people wish I hadn’t!

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  3. Better than propane is just get the stuff that makes propane smell. No possibility of flame and will stink quite a bit more, as it is rather concentrated.

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  4. Instead of hauling around 1 lb propane cylinders, how about a couple pill bottles with mercaptan-soaked cotton balls? They’ll hide better and easier to overlook during the search. Half a dozen in trash cans should empty any mall in existence. And, if you could slingshot one into the HVAC system…..

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  5. A few months ago, I remembered a road trip I took coming home from the Navy. I was serving at my permanent duty station in Canada and my tour was coming to an end. I got orders to return to a stateside base in Maine. I owned a car, 54 Beetle that ran well, body was shot. I couldn’t sell it and didn’t want to abandon it, so decided I would drive home, 1585 miles, with a ferry ride, in January. I was a month or so shy of 21 years old. The trip was mostly uneventful. I had one flat tire and a bag of tools stolen by the garage that fixed the tire for me. By the time I realized that the tools had been stolen, I was 300 miles away and not going back. The duty station, in Canada, was probably the best place I could have ended up in the service. I loved to fish and the fishing was fantastic. Ponds on base were chuck full of 3-6″ brook trout that would chase most any kind of fly or lure.

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  6. Mr Bracken mentioned some Cubans doing this back in the day…..

    A big plastic commercial-grade trash bin on wheels was placed outside the store-front windows of the targets. Looks innocent enough at night. A simple camping gas bottle was opened at the bottom, a plumber’s candle was taped near the top. The lid of the bin kept the candle from blowing out, or the rising gas from blowing away, and the lid hid the candle light from view. But the lid did not totally seal the bin, so the candle would keep burning. The rising gas reaches the lit candle, and BOOM.

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  7. If I remember properly the IRA used to make bombs this way. Propane is heavier than air. Stick a small propane bottle with the valve cracked into a trashcan have a small candle burning in the top of the can, place the can near the front of a building with glass windows. When the can fills enough – boom. If caught planing a propane cylinder in a trashcan, expect to be charged with charges related to planting bombs, attempted murder, WMD and such. I wouldn’t recommend such.

    Now something better, from my high school memories from 1970 chemistry class. From memory so the exact chemical might be wrong…..

    The teacher was giving a class on diffusion. He stood at the head of the class and opened a bottle of hydrobromic, I think, acid. Waited about 5 seconds and put the cap back on. If you are not familiar with the acid it normally occurs in your stomach. It is what makes vomit smell like vomit! In bottled form it is insanely strong. He had warned us so we were prepared for the smell however he did not warn the typing class directly below our room and being that the gas released was heavier than air the poor class room below us was a mess. People started gagging then vomiting all over the place. They had to wash out the mechanical typewriters, the fire department was called and the entire school was evacuated. All from just uncapping a bottle for 5 seconds.

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