We Americans can get a little crazy around the 4th of July. And so we should. This is our time to celebrate the start of our great country. And nothing screams America like family, food, and fireworks.
This is our day to celebrate throwing off the shackles of the British monarchy and striking out on our own. Our forefathers fought tooth and nail for years to throw off their oppressors. Though sometimes, it feels like the British are still trying to keep us down.
The heroes in our story were involved in the most 4th of July experience of all, a fight against a British oppressor, though maybe not quite like the one in 1776.
Or was it...
Please note, this story contains some British slang to keep its genuine feel. If you get lost, try to imagine Gordon Ramsey yelling it at you.
Our heroes in this story are the homeowner George, his best friend Tom, Tom’s girlfriend Martha, and Tom’s dad Adam. The villanous neighbor is named William.
George was holding a party at his house for the 4th of July. Like the good American he is, he invited his whole neighborhood over to revel in their freedom, eat some great food, and set off a few fireworks to cap off the party. He even invited over his new British neighbor, despite the man never having returned his polite hello’s.
It was a lovely day and everyone was in a great mood. William and his wife had only lived in the neighborhood for about a month, but George had done his best to interact with them, and even made a special effort to invite them to the celebration, despite them flying a Union Jack specifically for that day.
It was almost like they wanted a confrontation.
Our hero's spent the day getting everything ready. They had done this every year and they were known around as having one of the best celebrations. The party kicks off around 7:30 pm. Everyone is enjoying themselves, eating hot dogs and jamming out to some classic American anthems. Soon after, someone brings the fireworks out. One of the attendees had brought about $500 worth of fireworks, so there was some good stuff in there. Pretty quickly, their British neighbor came to join, but not in the way they had asked for.
William (the neighbor) walked angrily into the party and demanded "What the absolute bollocks is going on here!? Who ‘ere is in charge!?"
He had come running out of nowhere. A short, extremely pale man with strange teeth and bad breath, he spoke as if he was angry at the party from the get go.
Nobody really knew who this strange sounding man was, so there were a few looks exchanged. Eventually, someone grabbed George and let him know there was a crazy man yelling in his house. And then it got weird.
Being the 'leader' of the group, George approached this strange newcomer with his traditional big smile, hoping this was a misunderstanding and the strange man was here to join in the celebrations in his own weird way. It quickly became apparent that this was not the case. This strange man was a neighborhood tyrant.
George: "Well, howdy there neighbor. I was hoping you’d show up."
William: "Show up!? I’m ‘ere to put an end to your kerfuffling! You all are all Mickey! Shut it down now!"
At this point George was giving William a strange look, wondering why the sudden hostility. Tom picked this up so he stepped in.
Tom: "Woah, chill out neighbor, it’s just some light fireworks. This happens every year!"
William: "Every year you disrupt your neighbors who are trying to get some sleep!? I want this all to stop now! Throw your party another time!"
The group is somewhat in shock at this suggestion, did he really just ask them to move the 4th of July?
Adam: "Well, it’s not exactly a party. It’s the 4th of July! I know you’re from Europe, but in America-"
William: "I know about your argy-bargy history! You celebrate how you’re better than our country by doing crazy acts like this!"
Tom: "If you don’t like it, then buzz off. It’s our party, and half the neighborhood is here. We’re not gonna stop unless we absolutely have to."
William didn’t like this reaction and sulked back to his home. The celebrations continued with more fireworks (a few of the bigger ones) and plenty of more food. Not 30 minutes later, the cops come blaring down the street, sirens and lights on like they’re trying to add to the celebrations. Tom went to deal with it, knowing full well that William had called the cops.
Tom: "Hello officer, is this about the fireworks?"
Officer 1: "Yes and no. You do need to put the fireworks away, but we also got a complaint that someone at this party was physically harassing one of your neighbors."
"That would be me who complained!" said William as he came creeping out of the shadows, but this time he looked totally different. Everyone quikcly noticed that something very weird had happened to his face, something that wasn't there an hour earlier.
William's face looked darker and more exaggerated than before, but in the limited light, it was hard to tell exactly what had happened.
"This is the young man right here!" William yelled while pointing at Tom. "I asked him who was in charge, and he beat me up! Oh, the pain! I’m bruising over his fists!"
Our heroes stood there in shock, asking each other what on earth was going on?
Officer 2: "Calm down. We’ll get an ambulance to check you out, and-"
Tom: "Wait a minute! I didn’t hit this guy! He came over to talk to us three, and starts screaming at us because we had lit fireworks and our party was against his nation and stuff like that!"
Officer 1: "Does anyone here have anything else to say?"
George and Adam told the same story as Tom while William ranted and raved in the background about how bad the Americans had been to him. It was becoming apparent that William was a special type of crazy. Or he really didn't like the 4th of July.
The officers finally got everyone's story. They bring everyone together in an attempt to lay it all out.
Officer 2: "Alright, so based on what we heard, you (pointing to William) are either faking your bruises or did something else. We’re going to check that out later. As for this party, just keep the noise down and put the fireworks away. We don’t want to come back to have to break this party up."
George: "Yes sir. We went ahead and had someone put them away, so there shouldn’t be anymore fireworks."
William tried making up some more excuses but the police weren’t falling for any of his overly dramatic exaggerations. As soon as they shined a light on his ‘bruises,’ they could tell exactly what was actually going on here.
Makeup. A grown man had actually put makeup on his face and expected the police not to notice. It wasn’t even done well. It looked like he’d grabbed some mascara and attempted to rub it into his face. Did he seriously expect the police to fall for such a stupid trick?
Well, William's grand plan didn't work. In fact, his whole grand scheme was blowing up in his face. The police wrote him a ticket for wasting their time, and were about to leave when they heard a loud BOOM.
Everyone turned in horror to see the source of the explosion.
William’s backyard was on fire and his tree was burning. Like, seriously burning. It was instant pandemonium as people from both sides of the fence were running to help, throwing buckets of water, pulling out water hoses, and basically doing whatever they could to try to control the blaze. The police radio’d for a fire truck and then went next door to help William assess the damage.
"What did you wickets do!?" William screamed as he ran over to his burning lawn. "I told you they were bloody reckless! They went and set my bloody house on fire!" William had gone from falsely accusing our heroes of committing assault to falsely accusing them of committing arson.
Suddenly a young kid, maybe 9 or 10 years old, runs out of the crowd with his hands a bloody mess. No one is all too sure who he is, but he runs straight up to William while Tom runs into the house to grab a first aid kit. The police officers call for an ambulance once they saw how bad it is.
Adam and the police are assessing the damage, and realize it’s bad, like really bad. It looks like the kid has third-degree burns and a huge cut down the side of three fingers. By this time, the street is in absolute chaos. Between the fire, flashing sirens, Lea Greenwood blasting through the air, and the smell of gunpowder, it looked like something from a war movie or something. Thankfully, the music was turned down while everyone tried to fix the yard and help the child.
Eventually, the ambulance and firetruck show up and the police start taking statements. Turns out, it was William's kid who got hurt, with one of WILLIAM’S fireworks. William was charged with child negligence, filing a false police report, disturbing the peace, and a single count of arson.
It was close to midnight by the time everything was all said and done. William’s wife went with their son to the hospital to get his hand checked out, while William was placed in the back of a police car and taken away.
The next morning, George and his crew go and check on William's backyard, and it’s a complete disaster. The grass is black and burned to a crisp and the tree looked like a giant used match. They’re lucky the house didn’t go up too. It was going to be one monster of a clean-up job.
The story didn’t end here though.
A few days later, George got a call from Tom. He’d been told that the kid lost THREE fingers in the accident. The three fingers were embedded with so much shrapnel the doctors were forced to remove them. They think the kid lit a mortar while he was holding it, or something of the sort. Our heroes felt terrible for the kid because it wasn't his fault his dad was such a lunatic. They told his mom to reach out if she needed any help with anything during the time. Even after all that, they were still neighbors.
So what do we think is the moral of the story? Either teach your kids firework safety, or keep them locked away. After all the yelling and screaming of William, he had ignored his kid and a horrible accident had occurred. You need your own house in order before you start to criticize another.
William’s wife came over later on and apologized for her husband's behavior. She said she had warned him against it but, in his words, "You have to show those dumb Americans who is really in charge still!"
Sounds like that went about as well as it did in 1776, William.
To be fair to the British, our heroes know they aren't always like that. Our two countries share a special bond, William just seemed to forget about that for a moment and had to be shown what was really going on. Our heroes took their kids to visit William's kid in the ER and made sure he had enough toys and games to keep him busy.
We think they'll be leaving the neighborhood pretty quickly. It's hard to show your face again after painting yourself in makeup, making false accusations, and then having your house set on fire. Just goes to show William, you don't mess with Americans on the 4th of July.