The 4th of July is my favorite holiday. Growing up, my parents hosted giant cookouts in our back yard. My dad would drive across the border to New Hampshire and return with a shit load of fireworks (they’re illegal in Massachusetts). Everyone would stay really late, which is like the most exciting thing in the world when your 10. I loved it. Now my parents are old and just want to eat a hot dog and pass out at 9 PM while the Star Spangled Banner plays softly in the background. So it’s up to me and my sister to keep to annual cookout alive.
And alive it is! Look, it’s the 4th of July and everyone is drinking all day, so it’s usually at least marginally exiting every year. But this year was just one weird ass incident after another. Let’s start with the fight. My friend, who is gay, was with his boyfriend of the past 6 years, who is also gay. The boyfriend doesn’t really keep in touch with people from his hometown, so not many people from his past know he’s gay. In a shocking turn of events, the boyfriends ex girlfriend from high school somehow ends up at my party. I don’t even know her, she’s there because she’s now dating my friend’s friend’s friend (ugh, family trees, man). The fight breaks out over a game of flip cup. Someone had decided it was a good idea to play “survivor” flip cup where you vote one person off your team each round, which, I feel like you’re just asking for a fight with a game that aggressive.
So the fight starts out over that. My friend and the ex girlfriend are screaming. And obviously, because of their relation to each other, it escalates quickly. The ex girlfriend ends up just leaving the party, along with her current boyfriend. No one at the party really knew them, so…no one really cared! Everyone’s reaction was basically “Well, that was weird…anyone need another beer?!”.
Shortly after this incident, my cousin shows up and starts chugging nips of vodka. It’s insane, I have never seem someone drink so many nips in such a short time. I am not exaggerating when I say he drank at least 20 in one hour. Cleaning up the next morning, I kept finding empty nip bottles everywhere. They were stuck in the fucking tree branches. I knew this wasn’t going to end well for him, but we’ll get to that later.
This is where it gets interesting. If you were only reading this story to get to the part with the finger, feel free to skip ahead to this section. Every year, the party heads out to watch fire works once it gets dark out. These are not professional fireworks by any means, it’s all people like my dad who have smuggled them across state lines under blankets in the trunk of their Subaru Forester. We always go to the beach down the street from my house, so I start to walk in that direction. On the way over I run into my sister’s friend. She tells me that there wasn’t much going on at the beach, so everyone went to the field instead. The field is only another 5 minutes past the beach, so I continue my walk there.
Let me try to best explain the layout of this field so you can understand it. On one side of the field there is a small hill that has a swings on it. That’s where my sister and everyone else from the party was sitting to watch. To the left of the hill are basketball courts. That’s the entrance I came in. In the middle of the field is where people were lighting fireworks. As I walk over to the hill, a lady runs by me, crying. She’s running, so there’s not time to stop her and be like “Umm, you good?”. I get to the hill, but everyone is focused on what just happened in the middle of the field. There’s some kind of commotion, and people are gathering around one man in particular. It’s dark out though, so it’s hard to see what’s really happening.
No one from my party is entirely sure what just happened. But 10 seconds after I get to the hill, a man from the middle of the field starts shouting at everyone “We need phones! Come here if you have a phone!”. Something is obviously up, so me and a few other people from my party head over, phones in hand. Once we get to the middle of the field, we realize what has happened. They need phones because they need to use them as flashlights. They need flashlights because they are looking for fingers.
Fingers. Fucking fingers. All five of them too! This poor man accidentally blew his hand off while lighting a firework. And now we need to find his fingers so they can be sewn back on.
I don’t look at the man or his hand because 1. it’s disrespectful and 2. it’s fucking gross. I am horrible around blood, I was that girl who needed to leave the room in science class whenever we learned about blood and veins. But I’m also good in a crisis. So I get to work and start looking for those fingers!
The man who shouted at everyone for phones has now become the unofficial organizer of this little scavenger hunt. I’m assuming he is the father of the man who lost his fingers, but who knows, maybe he’s just a stranger who always had dreams of working in emergency response and happened to get lucky. Anyways, this father/EMT wannabe gets everyone to stand in a line, shoulders touching. We’re instructed to make our way very slowly across the field and to keep our eyes to the ground at all time. There’s a $500 reward for anyone who finds a finger. No, I’m kidding about that last part.
We’re about half way through the field when the man next to me goes “I think I found one”. I shine my light over to where he’s looking, and sure enough, there it is. “Yup, that’s a finger” I say. My friends brother comes over and picks up the finger to hand it to an EMT. Honestly, the finger just kind of looked…like a finger.
The search continued, but no other fingers were found. The rest of them just disintegrated in the blast. Or something like that, I don’t know, I don’t understand science. The man was taken to a hospital. Newspaper reports I’ve read after the incident tell me that he was fine other than the missing fingers part. Someone also told me recently that this same man caught on fire at a bonfire on the 4th of July a few years ago. Damn! This poor man is probably never leaving his house of the 4th again.
You would think after an incident like this, we would all just go home and go to bed. But not this crew! It just kept going. My sister, who was very drunk, made a phone call to her boyfriend at the field because she was freaking out over the fingers. Someone overheard her on the phone and yelled at her to “have some fucking respect”. My sister, being drunk and emotional, started crying and cried the whole walk home. When she got home, she made mac and cheese. Mac and cheese portions are fucking huge for just one person, so half of it was still in the pot on the stove when I got home a few minutes after her.
I asked her if I could have the rest of the mac and cheese. To which she said “Nope!’ and started pouring the mac and cheese on the ground and in the trash can, like a fucking lunatic. To prove a point, I grabbed some out of the trash can and ate it. “You’re disgusting” she said. “No, this is disgusting” I said, as I rubbed the cheese residue from my hands onto her arm.
And that’s when she lost it. She could not handle having cheese on her arm, despite just eating an entire fucking bowl of cheese covered pasta. “FUCK YOU” she screamed. Then, she took the pot she was holding, and hit me in the face with it. She threw the pot on the ground. Mac and cheese was everywhere. My mouth was bleeding. “CLEAN IT UP!” she screamed. The she ran out of the room.
I walked onto the porch where my cousin, the one who drank 20 nips in an hour, was passed out half naked on my couch. There was a stain on the floor next to him. He threw up, but someone had tried to clean it and gave up half way through, so now it just smelt like a combination of vomit and Lysol.
I stayed up for a little longer to attend to my guests, but I just wanted to sleep. Also, I was still hungry cause I never got to eat that god damn mac and cheese. It was a very traumatizing day. Around midnight, I gave in and went to bed. I woke up the next morning and cleaned for 4 hours straight. It needed to look immaculate for my parents. I looked through our entire yard to make sure I snatched every empty nip bottle. Searching for all of them was hard. But not as hard as searching for a finger.