the promise of fireworks

July 4th, 2014. Aviation and fireworks don't mix...right? Of course they don't. Cason should have known this. He really should have known this. But in the grand scheme of not being smart at all, Cason royally botched up his plan to surprise Paris in Monaco for the Fourth of July. First, he booked an international flight from California to Heathrow in London, and spent a few days in early July hanging with his parents and his younger sister; and even letting her tag along with him while he bought fireworks at The Fireworks Den on Abbey Road. His sister was always the responsible one in the family -- despite Cason not setting the best examples -- so she was the first one to try to warn him.

"You can't take those on a plane, Case." She shook her finger at him, a look of concern painted all over her face.

"Yes you can."

"No, you bloody well know you can't."

"Let's place a bet on it, yeah?" Cason was so convinced. "These will ride on the bottom of the plane, not in the cabin with me."

"Use your loaf, eh? You're going to get nicked at TSA and probably fined too."

Regardless of the warning, Cason shook on it with his sister. If she was right, he owed her some sort of expensive hand bag from some designer that he already forgot the name of.

The second warning came from his Mum. Like most mothers, she diligently helped Cason with packing, reminding him not to forget a nice pair of pants and urging him to take a tie and dress well every once in awhile.

"Mum, I don't need a tie. I'm going to see a friend." He sounded like he was 17 again whenever he was around her.

"Not even this one? Your aunt bought this one for you last year and you've never worn it." She draped the tie around Cason's neck loosely, admiring the pattern. "Oh don't you look dapper!"

"Mum, I don't need a tie." Cason laughed, and despite his words, he threw the tie into his bag.

"Which friend, Cason?" She started drilling him with questions as she very obviously began adding things to his bag to pack.

"She's a friend... who is on tour." He stated, purposefully omitting details from his prying mother.

"She? A lady friend. Are you finally taking your life seriously, Case-anova?"

"Mum! I'm going to forget to pack something with you standing here bashing my ear in."

"What are these?" His mother reached for the fireworks and her mouth immediately dropped. "Cason, these cannot go in your duffle. Can you post fireworks? I don't even think you can post them. Perhaps you should purchase them when you arrive. What are you doing with fireworks anyway? I'd bet my life's work that you don't even know the fireworks law in France." His second warning had come, as his mother continued to pester him with loads of questions.

Cason simply reached for the fireworks, packed them in his bag, and leaned in to give his mother a kiss on the side of her forehead. "Now stop ragging on me, please."

If there was anything his mother knew, it was that you could not tell Cason what to do. Even when you knew he was wrong. She prayed that they simply gave him a slap on the hand, or that the fireworks would go unnoticed.

They were definitely noticed.

Cason was replaying the advice from his family in his head, over and over, as he sat on a very long channel tunnel train ride to Frethun, France. Maybe in hindsight he should have mailed the fireworks. Or maybe he should have bought them in Nice. Either way, he was now completely behind schedule, since being called back to the security area and sitting with TSA for a long time while they searched everything tends to make one late for their booked flight. And flying out on July 4th meant there were no other nonstop flights to make.

So he had to take his luggage (sans the fireworks, since the airport security confiscated them), grab a taxi to the train station, grab a tunnel train to France, grab another train from Frethun to Paris, France; then from Paris to Nice; then from Nice to Monaco. All because he didn't listen to anyone and took contraband in his luggage. Cason turned a 2 hour journey into a 10 hour one.

But he would have done it all over again. After all, he made a promise to her that he was going to be there, and he made a promise to himself to bring something special along to make her Fourth of July worthwhile. Fireworks. They were perfect, right? Maybe he didn't have the fireworks anymore, but he was surely bringing along with him some sparks.