The Raid on Mill Creek Mine, Part Two – Dynamite

“Smasher, we ought not to be foolin’ with dynamite. Let’s fergit about that,” Joker said.

“You kin fergit about it if you want to. I’m gonna have a look. Some blastin’ powder would come in real handy to finish off what’s left of that there motor barn,” Smasher told him. It came to me then that Smasher just might have a couple of marbles loose and rattling around in his head giving him those crazy ideas. Joker was right. Dynamite was dangerous stuff. A guy could get blown to smithereens or worse. Smasher started off by himself down the dirt road that led toward the powder magazine.

“Come on guys. Smasher’s right! If there’s any dynamite in the magazine, we might as well have that too,” Wizzer spoke up. “Smasher is right! It might come in JOKER123 handy. Let’s go!” The rest of us followed Smasher and Wizzer toward the powder magazine.

The powder magazine was locked with the biggest padlock I have ever seen. The hasps of that lock was set into a steel plate that was fastened to the building with rivets whose heads was the size of my wrists. That rig was a match for Smasher’s hatchet and a whole lot more. Twenty minutes of steady pounding with our hatchets hadn’t made so much as a dent on the lock. I decided to look around in the back of the building for something bigger that we could use to pound on that lock. When I turned the corner of the powder magazine, I noticed some cracks in the mortar joints between the blocks of the building. A cribbing block, which isn’t anything more than a piece of hardwood that is cut four inches by four inches square and is about three feet long, lay on the ground at my feet. I picked it up and gave one of the blocks that ran along the crack in the building a tap or two with the butt end of the crib block. Thump! Thump! Plop. The block fell inside the building.

The rest of the gang was making so much noise with their pounding on the lock that they couldn’t hear me. I gave a tap to three more blocks, and three more blocks fell inside the building. With just two or three taps with a crib block I’d made a decent hole in the powder magazine. I crawled inside. Those boys outside the building were sure making a terrible racket. Pranking isn’t one of my specialties, but in one shiver it was done. Goose bumps popped out on my arms as an idea pricked my brain.

“Who is trying to break in here?” I screamed as loud as I could. That shout slipped from my throat before I could stop it. The magazine echoed. Things got quiet outside the building in an awful hurry.

“Cripes, there’s somebody in there. Let’s get out of here!” one of them hollered. I could hear them running. I poked around in the gloom and found one of the blocks that I had knocked loose. I sat the block on end and sat down, resting my elbow on one of the dozens and dozens of cardboard cases that was stacked in the magazine, and waited to see how long it would take for the other guys to come back. I chipped with a twig of wood at one of the blocks that I had pushed into the powder magazine while I waited for the other guys to return. Ping! — Ping! — Ping! Bullets began to ricochet off the building, followed by the sharp crack of rifles. Cripes! The guys was shooting at the building with their twenty twos. What a pickle I had gotten myself into. I figured I had better stick my head out through the hole that I had made in the rear of the building and let the guys know that it was me that they was shooting at. This here was a good strong building, but yours truly was getting awfully fidgety about those bullets that were flying around outside and slamming into the side of the powder magazine. I stuck my head through the hole in the back of the building and began to shout.

“Boys, it is me you are shooting at.” Ping! Another bullet ricocheted off the building. I ducked back inside to what I hoped was safety. They must not have heard me. I tried again. “Guys, it’s me, Squirt!” Ping! Ping! I knew then that it wasn’t just a pickle I had gotten myself into; it was the whole crock and all. There was nothing for me to do now but lay low and hope I didn’t get killed or worse. It wasn’t long before I heard them coming back. If they were going to be shooting like that, I figured I would let them think they had hit something. I stretched out on the floor of the powder magazine and moaned, “Help me! Help me! I’m shot! I’m shot!”

“Where are you, Squirt?” one of them shouted.

“I’m here, inside the building. Come around the back,” I moaned my best imitation of someone who’s just been shot.

Smokey poked his head through the hole I had made and asked, “Squirt are you all right? Honest, we didn’t mean to shoot you. We was only kiddin’ with you. We knew that it was you that was inside here all along.”

Smokey crawled through the hole. “Where at are you hit? Lemme see. Yer arm is bleedin’.”

“Smokey, I ain’t feelin’ so good. Kin we jist get out of here.” I staggered to my feet. “I don’t think I’m bad hurt. I jist want to get out of here n’ see some sunshine.”

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