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The County Dump

I don’t know how things “up north” work, but in the rural South we still have “County Dumps” that you can take your garbage and refuse to for disposal.

It’s a beautiful thing.

For those of you that may be unfamiliar with this unique phenomenon this is how the process works.

The county buys an acre of property in the middle of nowhere that isn’t suitable for farming and isn’t close to any other houses.

Normally they are found on a gravel road and they consist of two or three large green dumpsters in a bed of gravel. No fences, just show up whenever you want and dispose of your trash.

Once a week or so the garbage fairy shows with a truck to empty them and on and on it goes.

Like everything else in life, this was destined to change too.

A few years ago the county dump near my farm encircled the entire operation with a chain linked fence, placed a sign on one of the green dumpsters as “recyclables”, although the sign was spelled wrong, and added a large garbage crusher painted olive drab green and then had “operating hours” of the facility proudly displayed on a sign hanging from the new fence.

They even added a small wooden shack for the “manager” of the county dump.

Progress had come to the county dump.

Being deployed for so long I wasn’t aware of all the changes to the system, so I was a bit surprised when I returned stateside and went to my farm and discovered that everything was different.

No matter, sometimes change is good, right?

I need to give you some background before I go on

For a number of years I had tried in vain to purchase the property next to mine, primarily for the barn. The elderly owner of the property not only wouldn’t sell it to me, he hated me for reason’s I can’t quite explain.

If you are wondering how I determined that he hated me when he didn’t even know me, is actually not too difficult to figure out.

I came to the conclusion that he hated me because he shot at me on numerous occasions on my property when he thought “I was looking at his barn”.

Yeah, it was like that

So upon coming back from a long deployment the elderly owner’s wife called me and told me that her husband also known to me as the “geriatric sniper” had passed away several months before I had returned.

I offered my condolences trying to sound as sincere as I could when the widow startled me “I will sell you that property and barn if you still want it” she said.
We quickly agreed on a price and she asked if I would “clean out her husband’s barn” before we turned over the property.

“That wouldn’t be a problem; I will get right on it”

And the very next morning I did just that

I loaded up my 18 foot trailer and drove over to my “new” barn and I was in for a shock

You couldn’t walk through the door; the entire floor of the barn was full of all kinds of junk and trash

I couldn’t even see the stalls yet for this trash, but I could only imagine they were full of trash too.

I couldn’t believe the old man had shot at me over this “treasure” he was hoarding.

I load up my pickup truck and the 18 foot trailer with aluminum siding and aluminum roofing material and made what is known here as “a run to the dump”.

I rolled through the opened gate to the dump and drive to recycle bin and I see the “manager”, the name on his county work shirt said “Carl”.

Carl is about sixty years old, had on a ball cap and sported a beard.

I see the name tag so I say “Hey Carl, how’s everything going?”

I get nothing

No response, nothing

I like to talk to people and I will tell you that if you ever meet me and don’t talk to me, I will wear you down trying to get a good morning or how are you doing out of you.

That’s how I roll

So as I am unloading the aluminum into big green the recyclable dumpster I say…
“Sure is hot today Carl, you think we might get some rain later?”

Carl shrugs his shoulders

Are you kidding me, that’s all I get?

I knew from the looks of the barn that I had several more loads to make to the county dump that day, Carl and I would be talking before the day was out, I guarantee it.

I made another “run to the dump” with yet another load of aluminum from the floor of the barn.

There was Carl

“You are going to be seeing a lot of me today Carl, hope you don’t mind”


“I will have enough aluminum today to build a house, what do you think?”


Why won’t this guy talk to me? This is bothersome, but I have another run or two to make. I finally got the floor of the barn cleaned out, now it was time for the stalls.
Once I was back at my new barn I turned my attention to the first stall on the left.


It was all part of God’s big plan that the electricity didn’t work to this barn

Because before me, in that stall to the left was….

Two half full 55 gallon drums of diesel fuel that had been leaking for God knows how long…

Into about 150 pounds of nitrate fertilizer

Leaching out of the fertilizer bags was a trail of pink crystals about an inch high…

This trail went to an old wooden box that was almost biodegraded and from that box the trail got wider and redder, because inside that wooden box was about five pounds or so of gunpowder that had degraded into the diesel soaked fertilizer.

To the immediate right of that “explosion waiting to happen” were 3 liters of ether and a small container of paint thinner and eleven one pound cans of Freon that had expired November of 1987.

If the electricity to the barn would have been on NASA would have tracked the explosion.

What the hell am I going to do with this mess?


I will bag it all up and take it to the dump!

Before you start “judging me” let me say this about the Marine mind.

Our collective theory about such things is simply this.

Once you bag all these things up, they are in my possession and they are my responsibility.

However, once they leave my hands, such as in the case of the county dump, then they are no longer my responsibility, make sense?

So I put the contents of this biohazard into a series of black plastic bags and load up my truck and drop the 18 foot trailer.

So as I drive into the county dump yet again, I could hear the Freon cans starting to leak and they were making a hissing sound in one of the bags. No time to waste here, I had to get to the garbage crusher.

Nobody here but me, perfect

I pull up next to the garbage crusher and start to toss the black plastic bags into the crusher when Carl comes out of the “manager’s shack” and says….

“Whad at in dem badgs?”

O Hell, he would have to have a speech impediment, so that’s why he didn’t say anything earlier

As I have detailed in earlier articles I have a rather high sense of survival

So I noticed there were a series of signs when entering the county dump of what they would take and more importantly what they “wouldn’t” take, so I said to Carl

“Those are just some old hair spray cans, you do take hair spray cans right Carl?”

Of course he took hair spray cans, I saw it on the sign, so Carl said..

“Yeah but da butter be all dat is”

I unloaded all the contents from the back of my truck into the garbage crusher and wished a Carl a good afternoon and off I went.

I was 50 yards away from the county dump and I could hear and then see in my rear view mirror that Carl had activated the crusher to do its job and compress the garbage in its bin.

I opened my sliding glass rear window in my truck to get some ventilation and was thinking about my new barn.

I was now about 100 yards away and thinking this was a lot more work than I thought but it was all coming together and then…


I felt the vibration from the explosion ripple through the cab of the pickup truck


A secondary explosion, I looked in my rearview mirror and a huge black mushroom cloud was rising from the garbage crusher!

Then it hit me

I killed Carl

There was only one thing I could do in this situation

I did what any responsible citizen would do in a similar situation

I drove away as fast as I could back to my farm

Time to clean up and get the hell out of Dodge

But first I had to get my 18 foot trailer back from what was to be my new barn and then I could escape

As I was hitching up my trailer the widow was waving at me from her porch.

I bet Carl was her cousin and she already knows that I killed him.

I waved back and drove up to her house from the barn smiling the whole time.

You never want to let anyone think anything is wrong

Before I could say anything the widow asked…

“I hate to bother you, but I have some kitchen garbage that has piled up would you mind taking it to the dump for me?”

What could I say?

“I would like to but I think I killed Carl and I would rather not return to the scene of the crime just now”

That wouldn’t work

Or how about….

“There was a bad accident there when I left and I don’t want to get in the way of the coroner”

No, that wouldn’t work, it might give me away

And we hadn’t signed the papers on the property and barn yet either

So I said…

“I will be glad to; it’s not a problem at all”

This was going to be bad…

So I loaded up all the widows kitchen garbage in my truck and drove back to the county dump, wondering if I could get bail for setting off a thermonuclear explosion

Along the road leading to dump I would pull off the road and listen for sirens.


The closer I got to the dump the more I listened for sirens and watched for flashing lights

This was going to be bad, I just know it

I topped the hill and before me was the county dump

My Heart leaped for joy! There was Carl standing at the gate!

He’s Alive!

No fire trucks, no police, just good ole Carl!

I was so happy!

He’s Alive!

So as I turn into the gate at the county dump I wave to Carl and said “Hey Carl!”

Carl pointed at me and yelled…

“You ston of a dam Bicch! You put a dam bomb in dat ston of a bicch!”

Now, it is worth noting here that I am a “That’s my Story and I am sticking to it kind of a Guy”

So I acted shocked and said “What the heck are you talking about Carl?”

But as I was saying it, I couldn’t help but notice that Carl’s beard looked more than a little bit singed, as did his clothes and cap. My Lord the smell of burnt garbage was filling my nostrils, it was horrible.

But nothing I could say was going to slow Carl down now…

“FIRE Shot out of that ston of a dam Bicch that FAR!”

A rather animated Carl was demonstrating how far the fire had apparently leaped from the crusher by outstretching his arm and waving it around.

Time to take control of the situation and check on Carl’s condition, he is clearly in shock

“Are you alright Carl, you aren’t hurt are you?”

“Scared the libbing sheet out of me, cause FIRE Shot out of that ston of a dam Bicch that FAR!”

“We have established how FAR the fire shot Carl; I am asking if you are alright”

“It Scared the libbing sheet out of me!”

Time to console, drop the kitchen garbage off and get the heck out of there

“The important thing is that you are alright Carl”

Then good ole Carl threw me a curve ball

“You put a dam BOMB in that ston of a dam Bicch!”

Ok those were some pretty bold allegations; it was time to present the facts

“Carl there was a lot of other garbage in that crusher, it was probably something somebody else put in there, don’t you think?”

“It Scared the libbing sheet out of me, cause FIRE Shot out of that ston of a dam Bicch that FAR!”

Ok, now he was repeating himself, a clear sign that Carl has suffered some traumatic shock

Then he motioned me over to the other side of the garbage crusher


The side of the garbage crusher with the control panel was no longer olive drab green

It was black as midnight in a coal mine and some of the one inch rivets were sticking out of their holes about a half inch or so.

Carl was still talking….

“FIRE Shot out of that ston of a dam Bicch that FAR!”

“It Scared the libbing sheet out of me!”

“You put a dam BOMB in that ston of a dam Bicch!”

Looking Carl directly in the eye and giving him my most sincere look imaginable under the circumstances I said “Carl, it wasn’t me. I glad that you are alright, but I need to drop this kitchen garbage off and get on the road”

Gathering his composure now, Carl looking rather defiant said..

“Well BY GOD, I am going to go TREW IT!”

Carl then proceeded to open the kitchen garbage with his pocket knife like he was an extra on CSI: Las Vegas. Examining all the contents, he gave me the nod to put all the garbage into the smoking crusher.

I knew I was never going to get that smell out of my clothes.

Once that task was completed I was on my way and I put the entire incident behind me.
But Carl didn’t

He NEVER forgot

Now each and every time I make a “run to the dump” I am treated like some sort of a criminal, with Carl or his “assistant” going through the contents of my garbage like he is looking for key evidence in a murder trial.

To be honest I don’t know why that is either

Just because I “may” have been responsible for a thermonuclear explosion at the county dump doesn’t make me a bad guy.

I’m just saying