This morning after coffee, St Johns County Commissioner-elect, Bill McClure, joined me for a brief meeting and some introductions to staff members at City Hall as we each prepare for a week full of appointments.
As we walked through the Plaza, scratching our heads trying to figure out how Fred Halback and Jeremy Marquis’ Andrew Young memorial sidewalk had managed to fall into such a state of disrepair, so soon after it was installed — suddenly, Commissioner McClure abruptly stopped in his tracks, as if he had seen a ghost.
Placed suspiciously beneath the barrel of the unusually situated cannon, which seems to be aimed directly at anyone who would be attempting to walk down the sidewalk from Andrew Young Crossing, lay two bright red tanks of gasoline … just sitting there with no one around.
Of course, I immediately called Homeland Security. I tried to report the incendiary devices, after I first determined that there was no fuse leading up to the combustible containers of fuel. I ended up leaving a voicemail message for 9-1-1 to call me back.
As we stood there, trying to imagine who would want to blow up a cannon with two tanks of gasoline, McClure, always looking for a way to save a buck, told me that he wanted me to carry them to his truck before the FBI and NSA showed up. “Figure out how to pour the gas into my fuel tank,” he said — I didn’t know if he was joking or not; until I realized that the six gallons of gasoline were worth about $24.
“Hey, where the Hell are you going with that gas?”
I turned around — half expecting to see Islamic terrorists and half expecting to see Dana Ste Claire claiming that the exploding cannon would be a signature event for the 450th Commemoration.
I was surprised to find a city worker dressed in a blinding orange colored shirt. He had been hiding in the back of an oversized brown city van parked on the curb near the scene of what I was imagining could become the next ground zero. Turns out he was going to use the gas for the gardener’s equipment and had just dropped it off there, thinking no one would mess with it.
McClure seemed relieved; but then, he wasn’t carrying the gas cans.