“From New York to Los Angeles to Hartford, Conn., complaints and reports about fireworks have ballooned over the last month.” — Time, 6/19/20

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Well, well, well. Look who came crawling across the street, begging for mercy.

For those who don’t already know me: My name is Frank, I live in the little blue bungalow at the end of the street, and for the last four months I’ve been terrorizing the neighborhood with nightly firework displays, strategically designed to exhaust you into submission.

Fueled by boredom, revenge, and armed with 600 pounds of illegally-obtained pyrotechnics, I have assaulted your senses and assumed control of these streets. I stand before you now, not as the pushover neighbor whose recycling bins everyone steals, but as a conquering hero.

Kneel before me and embrace me as your all-powerful firework overlord! I am the destroyer of movie climaxes! Traumatizer of pets! Disruptor of sleep cycles! And all shall suffer my wrath.

You fools! While you were busy worrying about a global pandemic, battling racial inequality, and saving your pennies in preparation for the country’s cannonball into economic ruin, I was off buying up every last bottle rocket in North America. How could I afford such an expense? Don’t worry about it. I’m certainly not a member of a large firework syndicate funded by Russian oligarchs, intent on fostering national chaos and disrupting the upcoming election through a campaign of never-ending, ill-timed illuminations.

That would be ridiculous.

Regardless, I’m delighted to announce that after months of dedication, my persistence has paid off. I’ve got you right where I want you: Exhausted. Paranoid. Prone to flinching at small noises.

I hope you’ll indulge me in my moment of triumph. I’m not one to brag, but torturing people with random acts of fireworks is kind of my thing. I like to draw you in with a couple of sparklers at twilight. Maybe launch an after-dinner Roman Candle or two for a little pizzazz. Then, just as you’re about to settle in for the evening, maybe pour yourself a nice cold glass of white wine to sip while you nod off to The Voice


I drop an M-80 on your ass with enough force to set off every car alarm from here to Kansas.

You underestimated me. You thought I was weak, insignificant. You continued to steal my recycling bins, even after I labeled them very clearly with my name and home address. But look at me now. I bet no one’s lusting after my bins now that you know that stacked inside my one-car garage are enough explosives to guarantee your baby won’t sleep through the night till their high school graduation.

Resistance is futile. Rage against me on Twitter, threaten me with litigation in your Nextdoor message threads — I won’t see it. I gave up Wi-Fi so I could focus all my energy on blowing shit up. You can file as many noise complaints as you like, but I will not stand down. The Earth will run out of natural resources long before I exhaust my supply of celebratory dynamite sticks.

There are, of course, those who seek to destroy me, and to them I say: take heed. Like the heads of Cerberus, I am only one of many. You can move away or even flee the state, but you’ll find it makes no difference. Wherever you go:


Baby, it’s a firework.

Which brings me to my next point: After months of systematically fraying your nerves and holding your REM cycles hostage, I’m sure you’re curious as to what it is I want. My list of demands are as follows:

  • I would like my recycling bins returned. All six of them.
  • I want to help plan the neighborhood block party, and I want to be allowed to use the grill.

I don’t like to threaten, but failure to deliver upon these requests will result in decisive action on my part — but it won’t be swift. In fact, you’ll never know when it’s coming.

You’ll return to your normal life. You’ll begin to sleep through the night. Your dogs will poke their noses out of the closets in which they’ve sought shelter, and at the exact moment everyone has let their guard down:


Skyrockets in flight, motherfucker.

So that’s the deal. Return my bins or suffer the consequences. And to anyone who might be wondering, I will be taking July 4th off to visit the lake for some much-needed peace and quiet.