Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Home-field advantage: Water cannon


The line pressure in each of the four water cannons was boosted by a diesel-powered irrigation pump.

And while the effect of getting hit by the jet from the water cannon was the full equivalent of being clotheslined by an all-pro linebacker, each cannon could only roll two rioters a second.

Brad seemed to have a deep pool of resources. On Brad’s advice and bankrolled by “Uncle Timmy”, the fertilizer injectors of the diesel pumps had been loaded with liquid soap and very small, dissolving packets of material purchased from India and air-freighted over at great expense.

The effect of the soap was immediate. The road surface became slippery and the hoodies and Goretex jackets of the rioters were quickly soaked, especially when directly hit by the 150 psi stream of the cannon.

The cannon were very literally “wet blankets” for the rioter’s high emotional state.

The rioters were already under-dressed for the weather. They were staying warm by hopping, jumping, moving and cuddling. By-and-large, they were not people who spent much time outside, exposed to the weather.

Being completely drenched by fifty-degree water took them from chilled to very cold.

Most of the rioters were oblivious to the biggest risk. They were a half mile from their vehicles and the soaked clothing was worse than being naked in the sub-freezing weather.

Most of them were less than an hour from being totally incapacitated by hypothermia.

Ass-over-teakettle the cannons rolled the rioters two-at-a-time but that barely slowed them down. After all, there were three-hundred of them.

Most of the rioters got stuck in the first band of tangle-foot.

Tangle-foot is labor intensive to apply. Alex cheated. He had teams fabricate ten-foot, square sections from concrete rebar and barbed wire. It took a team of two about twenty minutes to fabricate each section.

On the night of the riot, the pre-fabbed sections were carried out and set into place. The rebar feet had a washer welded near the bottom so the grid of rebar was 15” above the ground when the feet were pushed into the dirt.

A netting of diagonally zig-zagged barbed-wire was suspended 8” above the rebar which was spaced on a two-foot grid.

The pre-fabbed sections were carried into place, the legs pounded into the ground, tied-off to stakes. Then the sections were shackled together.

Alex chose the heights based on where the rebar would hit the legs of rushing, blinded rioters and he chose the height of the barbed-wire to make it nearly impossible to push off-of using a pushup motion.

The rushing rioters hit the first barrier and stuck to the tangle-foot like flies to flypaper.

Some still leaked through.

One motivated athlete danced across the tanglefoot on the backs of less fortunate riotors and managed to leap the 6’, barbed-wire fence only to land in the middle of the 2’ grid of the second tangle-foot barrier.

His foot planted and his upper-shin contacting the rebar grid, his forward momentum hyper-extended his knee with an audible CRACK!

As far as Alex could tell, the astronomically expensive packets of white powder from India were a total bust. He turned up the injection-rate on the fertilizer dispensers, hoping that would help.

It was only later that Alex would read the literature that came with the powder, a proprietary blend of proteolytic enzymes extracted from papaya and durian fruit. While the effects were not immediate, they lasted for an average of three weeks.


Johnny said “OK, this looks like it is as good as it gets.”

Bjorn eased away from the front of the house with glacial slowness. Then warned Brad and Johnny “Fire in the hole” before sending his first round downrange.

Bjorn had moved for two reasons. One was to distance himself from the team incase the shot was not-standard. That is, blew up or behaved in any non-standard way. The other reason was to put the van in the background so if he missed the trailer there was still a chance the errant round would hit the van.

Bjorn didn’t miss the munitions trailer.

There was still a magnificent supply of gasoline in the trailer.


Bert, on the roof of the Hall-of-Justice a quarter mile to the east didn’t see the fiery mushroom cloud. His view was blocked by the air conditioning units on the roof. Even if he had been looking, he would have been blinded by the kleig lights in the background, as bright as they were.

Bert was entirely focused on 09-23.

One of the demonstrators seemed to have his wits about him. He had broken the driver’s side window to gain access to the cab of the truck and was attempting to shut the rig down.

That wasn’t going to happen. One of the first upgrades to the remote controlled trucks had been to lock-out the ignition and transmissions of the trucks. That had been motivated by a fatality in Modesto, California. A street urchin had stolen a running truck and the municipal worker had been tangled up in the hose.

When running in RC mode, passersby could yank on the manual controls as much as they wanted but it would be to no effect if they weren’t carrying an over-ride fob.

The plume of diesel sputtered and thinned.

The level sensor in the tank told the computer it was empty. The RPM on 09-23 dropped to an idle.

“Sorry about this, old girl” Bert said as he loaded a flare into the pistol.

Pointing the cartoonish, Eastern European flare-gun at the parking lot, Bert pulled the trigger.



  1. ". . . a proprietary blend of proteolytic enzymes extracted from papaya and durian fruit"

    If you are like me and didn't know

    What is papain?

    Papain is a proteolytic enzyme extracted from the raw fruit of the papaya plant. Papain is a popular ingredient in meat tenderizer. Topical papain may cause allergic reaction, blisters, and skin irritation.

    1. Indigestion. Smells bad. Can be lethal when taken with alcohol. Don't find a topical risk.

    2. Sounds like the mix will make the protesters stink enough they can be positively identified and arrested after the festivities are over. Less obvious than dye.

  2. Having eaten durian - terrible sulpher taint over a pulpy awful flesh that looks like a grub. In Malaysia illegal to eat in a plane or bus or hotel cause it smells so bad.

  3. I am always so pleased when I LEARN something from these stories. That is why I call myself your number one fan.

  4. Oh... NICE way to handle them And stench is right!


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