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  Humor stories > Funny stories : The drowning spool

The drowning spool

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It was a momentous day in the neighborhood as all the kids were buzzing about the next big thing to arrive on the block. Though nobody could pinpoint exactly how or where this new marvel had first appeared, we all knew it would be something significant; as soon as we could figure out what to do with it. The object of our new found fascination was actually a large wooden spool used for transporting heavy cable. Somehow, my friend had commandeered the empty spool. When stood up on its side, the object was as big as a round picnic table.

My gang of kid engineers went to work immediately on the task of trying to determine the best function for the artifact. Though we could have stopped at turning it into a big table, this application seemed pitifully lame for such a glorious thing. For a time we experimented with the idea of using the spool as a launch pad for the tire swing that was rigged up in my friend’s back yard. We practiced getting four or five of us up on top of the spool, and leaping unbelievable distances, one at a time, to see how many boys could reach the swing and grab on before it got too far away to make the jump.

After about a hundred rounds of imagining ourselves to be mountain climbers, making a life and death leap across the great divide, the spool began to sway and shake from the burden of this activity. At this point, one of the slats in the center of the spool loosened up enough to fall out. There was a few moments of concern as we assessed the damage to our launch pad. We turned it over to get a look at the center area, and saw that it now resembled two huge wheels that were connected by a center axle. With the one slat missing, we peered down inside the center axle, and discovered a hollow chamber formed by the slats that were still in place. Like a bolt of lightning, we all suddenly realized we now had a vehicle.

In no time at all, we were rolling the spool toward the nearest downhill slope, excited about planning our launch of its maiden voyage. Poised with anticipation at the top of the hill, the next step was the selection of a test pilot for the trip. As fate would have it, the only one small enough to squeeze into the middle of the spool was my younger brother. It just so happened that my brother had vertigo problems when it came to anything which spun. A few twirls in a swing, and he was ready to lose his lunch. We considered this limitation for a couple of seconds, but my brother was prepared to make the sacrifice for the sake of science, so into the centrifuge he went, sliding the slats inside the rim to hold him in. Our enthusiasm for the take off was unbridled, as the spool picked up speed in its roll down the hill. In almost no time at all, it accelerated faster than we could run behind it.

The spool whizzed forward, and we could hear the Doppler effect of my brother’s screams as he spun valiantly inside the thing. At the bottom of the hill, the spool kept going. It hit a ditch and went airborne as it crossed the road and crashed into the ditch on the other side. We saw it wobble like a UFO as it flew through the air, and watched with horror as it exploded into pieces upon landing. Everybody in the ground crew raced to the scene of the crash. As we looked down on the rubble, my brother was on his back amongst the ruins, staring up at the sky in a daze.

I was the first to speak, “Are you all right, Joe?”

Joe’s answer was slow and deliberate, “Yeah, I guess so,” he replied. Then almost as an after thought, he concluded, “But, I’m not going to do it again.”

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