“Nah, aah, I gotta be the cowboy and you be the injun John-Wayne” said my little brother Jiggs. Dang, I thought, here we go again. If I told Jiggs the color black, he would say white. I know this to be true. He was used to getting his way.
“Okay, Okay Jigsy”, I said, then spotted some smoke over at the edge of our neighbor’s land. They were using their burn barrel to burn their trash. I got an idea ‘cuz I really wanted to be a cowboy, not an indian. The cowboys always wore white hats and chased the indians around. I got tired of Jiggs being the one to chase me around all the time, it got kinda boring, ya know? Besides, we didn’t have any toy bow and arrow, but we did have a toy cowboy gun and hat. Not that we could not make a bow and arrow, but enough with the indian thing already.
“Hey, Jiggs, we can both be cowboys today, see over there, see that smoke from the indian camp over there?”. Jiggs saw the burn barrel smoke and said, “oh yea! Let’s go get them injuns capytan!”
He kept the straw cowboy hat on and gave me the toy six-shooter and away we galloped our pretend horses to the burn barrel. Our neighbor’s who owned the cornfield, had quite a little fire going in there, you could almost see the indians dancing around the fire if you only imagined it. We snuck up quietly on their war party, planning on circling them first to see how many there were.
The flames shot up a little more, and Jiggs and I looked at each other and said, “Cool man!”. We forgot about the indians for a minute and went closer to the fire to check it out. It looked like a little cardboard was causing it to flare up , and toilet paper was trailing over the side of the barrel. Jiggs grabbed a stick and started messing around with the toilet paper. “Hey, be careful!”, I warned him, “you don’t want to cause a fire!”.
Jiggs of course did not listen and started flinging the toilet paper around with the stick, causing little sparks to drop in the dried grass. “Stop, Jiggs!” I yelled as I saw the sparks turn to tiny flames.
Too late as tiny flames gave way to a little bit bigger and snaked over to the neighbor’s cornfield. “Holy crap!”, I yelled as I started doing my own war dance jumping up and down on the flames trying to fight them and stomp them out. I kicked dirt on them, glanced wildly around for water nearby, none to be had. Jiggs’ hem of his jeans caught fire and I leaped on him rolling him in the dirt before he could get burned.
:He was scared, crying by now, “You stay put, don’t move an inch or I’ll clobber ya!” I was hollering at him now. I took off trying to stop the flames by beating it with corn shucks. The fire was bigger by me and I felt little burns on my body here and there happening.
The fire trucks came and put out the fire. About half the cornfield was saved, the other half, well, history.
Our mother tended to our burns, Jigg’s was not bad. I had blisters all over, but other than being scared to death, we were basically okay. That is , until the Old Man came home. He had over heard the news at the general store.
Our mother tried pleading with him, saying , “don’t spank them, they are burned!!”. He whipped me pretty good anyway, causing my blisters to break. We were in huge trouble, the neighbors would probably sue us for everything we had, that is what the Old Man kept saying.
We spent the rest of our summer doing odd jobs for those neighbors to try and make up for our mess. This was just one of the first of many messes that Jiggs and I got into……………