Andy Betz: Memoir: June 2022

Southern Legitimacy Statement: I was born and raised in Missouri and now live (very, very) close to Atlanta. With the exception of college, I have spent my entire life in the South.

William and the Tick Tock Clock

For my 52nd birthday, one of my co-workers purchased 6 road flares.  He stenciled the word “dynamite” on each one and used electrical tape to bundle them.  He added a windup alarm clock and a motion sensor to the package.  For fun, he included a battery and 200 feet of various wires of various colors that ran a digital counter and a noise maker. Together, all of this resembled a homemade bomb.

Mind you that I turned 52 in 2016.

This was an accident looking for a place to happen.

Fortunately, my friends all had a sense of humor and frequently wanted to borrow my “party favor” for stunts of their own.

For this reason, I still had the road flares until two months ago.

As I said, this was an accident looking for a place to happen.

I invited four friends over as a think tank to explore how to launch and finance a new project in which we shared similar interests.  The meeting went well past midnight with a looming 8am deadline.  One of the attendees, who just happened to know I still had the bundled road flares, set the wind up clock for a 7am wake-up call for the five of us.

He also set the motion detector and left the bundle in the kitchen.

He failed to tell me or anyone else; including William.

William is a bit skittish and a bit sketchy, which may not present much of a problem under normal circumstances.

However, William also carries a concealed firearm.

With a 15 round magazine.

And no tolerance for surprises.

During the ensuing police investigation at 7:10am, when we were all awake (bright eyed and bushy tailed), William tried to explain why he had to shoot the bundle of road flares.

Apparently, the sound of the tick tock clock alarm was insufficient to provide a normal response.  When he saw both the bundled flares and the motion detector countdown clock, William took inventory and found that he did not have a wire cutter or knife to stop the, what he refers to as the, inevitable.  So, choosing to implement Plan B, he justified the necessity of discharging 4 of the 9mm hollow points into what the police officer will refer to as, Exhibit A.

It did not help that William is only 24 years old and has never used a wind up alarm clock or heard the sound of the alarm from one at 7am.  Such is the case with Millennials.  The rest of us are baby-boomers.

I am positive that my homeowners insurance will cover the cost of the repairs, but not the bail. The four of us appeared with William during his arraignment to explain the 28 color photographs with the circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one to the judge (Google search Arlo Guthrie).

William left the court with a warning and a fine.

The rest of us left just laughing.