Secret Giant Bubble Juice

Rick Ryckeley

Against the backdrop of a clear sky, colors of purple, silver, and blue chased each other, swirling over the surface of the bubble in an iridescent kaleidoscope of harmony.

Aided by an ever so slight breeze, the larger than a beach ball bubble made slow progress above the emerald grass just out of reach of two laughing children who wished more than anything to be the one to jump up, pop it, and bring its wobbly jobbly journey to an end.

Such was the playful scene unfolding on our front lawn on the picturesque spring day. It lasted about an hour. Then the giant bubble juice ran out. And that’s when the epic squirt gun battle began.

But who won last weekend’s battle and who walked away soaking wet will have to wait until the end of this story. Spoiler alert: it really wasn’t a fair match. I was outnumbered two to one.

It wasn’t the first time I’ve chased giant bubbles and been in the middle of a squirt gun battle. A long, long time ago on an old familiar street not so far away, there was a backyard of dark green grass soft as a carpet. A backyard behind a house at 110 Flamingo that was full of laughing kids, bubbles and water guns every spring.

A battle ignited every first weekend after being released from school for summer break, and every kid who lived on Flamingo joined in — even Down the Street Bully Brad. It was the only day of the year he stopped being a bully to join in on the fun.

As out of character as it sounds, Bully Brad was the one who brought the bubble juice — his secret homemade giant bubble juice. Why? No one ever knew. But for that one day, he was like a regular kid.

With Bully Brad’s secret Giant Bubble Juice, beach ball-sized bubbles started floating across our Flamingo Street backyard just after breakfast and all the way ‘til lunchtime. That’s when the juice finally ran out.

Brad hung around for a lunch of hotdogs, BBQ beans, chips, and watermelon — then started the squirt gun battle. As good as he was at throwing dirt clods, he had a better aim with squirt guns. The rule was each kid could only carry one, but he carried two. Guess he still was a little bit of bully for that day, but it was hard to be concerned when everyone was having so much fun.

Even though we had teams, no one really lost. Chasing giant bubbles, eating hotdogs, and an epic squirt gun battle — we all won that day … unlike Yours Truly last weekend.

Each armed with 2-foot-long, pull-back-plunger-type squirt guns, the girls advanced on their unexpected Big Papa who, when the giant bubble juice ran out, was innocently watering flowers. I got soaked!

They giggled all the way back to their 5-gallon bucket of water, but they took too long to reload. They got soaked by way of my hose.

The epic battle raged on for half an hour until I finally had to give up. Only six weeks out from shoulder replacement surgery, this one-armed Big Papa had had enough. The girls went in to change clothes for another hour of play in the sandbox. I went inside to put ice on my shoulder.

No one ever found out how to make Bully Brad’s Giant Bubble Juice. Well, no kids who lived on Flamingo. Seems like someone is selling the same bubble juice on Amazon. And they call it “Secret Giant Bubble Juice.” I wonder … did Bully Brad get rich by starting his own giant bubble juice bubble business? If so, the arch-nemesis from my childhood is about to get a little richer.

I just ordered two gallons — and one Big Papa-sized giant squirt gun, powered by batteries. It’s about to be summer break and I want to be ready. Besides, me and the girls, we’re gonna have a rematch next weekend.

Special Reader’s note: On Nov. 18, 2018, I wrote a story about a time capsule that Big Brother James buried way back in 1965 at Beecher Hills Elementary School. Two weeks ago, we were given final permission to search and dig it up. What we found surprised everyone … even us. But that’s the story for next week.

[Rick Ryckeley has been writing stories since 2001. To read more of Rick’s stories, visit his blog:]