The Meyers were having a great Fourth. Setting off bottle rockets was a family tradition, and this year was going to be their greatest display ever.
The Bottle Rocket is considered China’s first ‘modern’ weapon of warfare. Fired at advancing sword wielding hordes from the mouth of a Ming vase, this early explosive device coined the phrase ‘Shock and Awe’. A simple projectile, consisting of propellent on a stick lit with a primitive opium lighter, would strike fear in the hearts of the invaders, causing a massive retreat… or so that’s how it was supposed to work. Today, the Bottle Rocket is relegated to New Year’s and Fourth of July celebrations. Wait a minute! That’s not exactly true… Wikipedia says: A bottle rocket is a very small skyrocket, consisting of a rocket engine attached to a stabilizing stick. The user can place the stick in an empty bottle (hence the name), and ignite; the mouth of the bottle guides the stick, stabilizing the rocket in its first seconds of flight. They’ve been made since the early decades of the 20th century. In India, bottle rockets are set off during the Hindu festival of Diwali, and are sold in the millions.
So, on this particular Fourth, the Meyers boys put their mouths to the mouth of many a beer bottle, in order to prepare for the big event. Bottles lined the railing on the deck of their second floor apartment, a skyrocket inserted in each, they were ready and waiting for darkness to descend.
It can be assumed, that in their excitement to light as many rockets at once, one bottle was knocked off and fell to the Gutmann’s deck below, sending the rocket into their living room. The Gutmanns saved their cat.
Sifting thru the charred remains of the Meyers’ apartment, investigators were amazed at the amount of ‘launching pads’ they found. The Meyers brothers are currently residing in the Sacramento County Jail, since bottle rockets are illegal in California, except for certain Hindu celebrations.