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Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Cosmic Liquidator




The Cosmic Liquidator ... late '70's ... $4.99 at Kmart in Hattiesburg, MS. The first pressurized water gun on the market, a space-type pistol fed by a clear tube connecting it to the "power pack" you wore on your belt. The tiny switch at the front of the pistol set it for either stream or pulse fire and you charged the water gun by pumping air into the liquid tank (much like a garden sprayer). I say "liquid tank" because one afternoon Alan Speed and I decided to fill the "liquid" tank with gasoline from his dad's gas can in the garage.
I pumped the tank up until it was literally bulging, we marched across the street to a vacant lot, he held the Bic lighter at a safe distance and I pulled the trigger sending a stream of high pressure gasoline from the nozzle of the Cosmic Liquidator through the lighter's flame and ...

... and it was nothing short of glorious ... 
It was everything that we had hoped and thought it would be and for a few short minutes two nine year old boys had a working flamethrower which devastated large ant hills and anything else we spewed that flaming stream of gasoline on. We even tried to write our names in burning liquid on the back side of a neighbor's fence.

... and then we noticed that in our gleeful abandon we had been maybe a bit ambitious in our pyromania and there was more fire than we could stamp out, believe me, we tried. There was more foot stomping than "River Dance - The Musical" and more cussing than a Richard Pryor concert. Knowing that we had only one chance to avoid what could only be trouble of Old Testament proportions, we ran back across the street, grabbed about a hundred feet of coiled up garden hose, turned it all the way on and spent the next ten minutes doing our best to keep a vacant lot in Hattiesburg, MS (and probably the neighbor's fence and several houses around that lot) from burning to the ground.

We were successful in our fire fighting efforts and we learned a valuable lesson that day ... gasoline and plastic are not friends. Yes, our brief adventure with the Cosmic Liquidator using gasoline as a projected medium of entertainment had melted the air pump and most of the internals of the gun rendering it useless ... but while it had worked and before things had gotten out of hand it had been nothing short of awesome to hold a pistol like that in your hand and be able to stream liquid fire out to ten or twelve feet.
If you want to read all the glorious details, step on over to "Tales from the Driver's Seat".

Today, all these years later, I'm amazed that I ever survived my childhood but what memories I have and I wouldn't trade them for anything.