Milner and I had always been pyros! We’d scotch tape live bugs to upside-down crosses made out of Popsicle sticks, spray them with WD-40, and set them ablaze. We were the original Beavis & Butthead. When I first saw the program, I had an eerie feeling that Mike Judge had been following me around, recording my youth.
Today wasn’t any typical day. It was 1985. I was 13. The night before, I’d just seen our first concert, The Iron Maiden “Powerslave” Tour! They had an elaborate Egyptian stage set, a 15 foot tall Eddie, and lots of FIRE! What an awesome show! For years after, that tour ruined it for many bands.
We met the next day, both sporting brand new ¾ sleeve Iron Maiden t-Shirts, and purchased 2 gallons of lighter fluid from the Asian convenience store. We wanted to re-create the pyrotechnics from the night before!
This was our home: Uncasville, Connecticut. It was the dead of winter and we wanted to burn shit! We were having trouble because much of the ground was frozen. It was a hassle to find anything combustible. We went to a nearby rock quarry. There was snow everywhere, excluding humongous 3-foot patches of dead grass.
This was rustic napalm.
We could douse them with lighter fluid, drop in a match, watch the flames go 20 feet into the sky, and run around throwing snow on the fires to extinguish them before they spread.
We weren’t trying to kill anyone.
It was glorious.
The wind picked up and started blowing one fire into the next. We ran around the rock quarry for 30 minutes hurling snow at the blaze that was headed northbound, straight at the adjacent golf course. We had decided this fire was no longer manageable, grabbed our bikes, and like Iron Maiden, ran to the hills!
From our vantage point where we stopped to look, we could see the fire consuming the entire back-9 of the green, including the clubhouse. We dug holes, buried our lighters, and made a short-lived pact to “never burn anything again”! We biked back to his parents’ house, still blue with smoke. We told them we had just witnessed a terrifying fire on the golf course, excluding where the fact that we were the perpetrators.
From that day forward, I knew I was never meant to live an “ordinary” life.