(Hopefully) Compelling Fiction

 

The dawn’s early light has awakened Pat and Leslie… albeit a bit too late. Having slightly overslept, there’s barely sufficient time for a good morning kiss, getting dressed for work and a coffee shop stop.

As expected, the Starbucks visit is a quick in and out. Pat, back behind the wheel, enters the Capital Beltway… Interstate 495… and instantly observes, aloud, how the traffic patterns seem a bit lighter than normal… in fact… way too light. Leslie guesstimates their commute will take a scant thirty minutes, tops.

Pat switches on the car radio which is already in Emergency Alert System mode. It’s that godforsaken, eerie end of the world signal, which, unfailingly, manages to creep them both out.

However, on this ill-fated a.m., this is NOT “Only a Test.” The grim, TAKE COVER IMMEDIATELY message follows.

Leslie, a journalism / communication arts degreed Editor of a News and Opinion Website and Blog, mentally rehashes the previous day’s news cycle… gallantly tries to connect the dots. Alas… that was yesterday’s world. But it doesn’t require much analysis to conclude that the madman has finally done it… Tweeted the world into an early grave. The global thermonuclear exchange is now in progress… if progress is even the operative word.

Pat, his PhD in nuclear physics, fortuitously, recalls a nearby, past workplace… a now mothballed military installation… complete with a lead lined, fallout shelter, no less! Putting the pedal to the metal, they race towards what could be their last hope for survival.

“Why oh why didn’t we move far, far away from DC right after Inauguration Day ’17? We had had plenty of chances, Pat! Sure as shit, DC is the #1 target of all of our enemies and our bodies will be reduced to radioactive ash.”
“What good would that have done? After all, there’s actually no place to live safely at a time like this. But Look! We’re not dead yet! I can see it, Leslie! There’s my old army base!”

Crashing through the multiple padlocked, chain-linked gate, they skid through the gravel to a halt. As they rush forth towards the main building’s doors, the dialogue becomes even more tense.

“Hurry Pat… I don’t want to die like this!”
“I know, my love, but… I’m not even sure the provisions we’ll need to survive are still stockpiled within. And worse yet, my old CO, Col. Jeffries… was a renowned stickler for security… likely deleted my password from the system, long ago… that is… IF there’s still electricity powering up the keypad, at all.”
“You mean we could easily die whether or not we are granted ingress…”

Leslie knows, fully well, that this last utterance is both the question and the answer.

One final hurdle does present itself. Luckily, Pat’s pocket knife easily strips the casing off each end of the severed wire and, with a spark… the two ends meet and the keypad flickers back to life. After Pat’s first two password entry tries get challenged by the same, flashing “ACCESS DENIED” LED response, the third try proves the charm. At last, the security system recognizes an ages old numerical sequence and… with the creaking hinges loudly protesting… the triple layered, blast doors slowly open wide. Leslie rushes inside, yet oddly, Pat does not follow.

“What are you waiting for? We must close the door, now!”
“We have a moral duty to look out for the welfare of others. They’ll be needing this shelter, too.”

Waiting until the very last minute, with a shared long sigh, they must concede that it’ll be just the two of them.

Now in Security A-1 lock-down mode, they stand beneath the garish neon glow. Feeling the dank chill in the air, they huddle closely and kiss tentatively… both sobbing as countless blasts proceed to “efficiently” roll up the outside world… bury their loved ones and lay waste to the Earth, that no one will ever know again.

They crouch to pick up their Styrofoam coffee cups off the floor, raise them upward to propose a toast. Leslie goes first…

“To whatever may remain of our Earthly tomorrows, even if there is only one.”
“To today… if there’s no tomorrow at all.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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226,000 Slaughtered Souls ~ 1 Quick Limerick #060 & #061

 

In nuking Hiroshima, Truman sure blew it,
The ghastly apocalypse sketch, he sure drew it,
Despite known death toll, pain and grief,
That calloused Commander-In-Chief,
Nuked Nagasaki, too! Why did he do it?

 

Said Englishman Alex Pope, “To err is human,”
(But) “to forgive, divine” (can be) undue, man,
Harry’s nuke revolution,
Warrants NO absolution,
Alda’s Pierce said it best, “To err is Truman!”

 

Yeah… I know… in posting 2 limericks instead of 1, I’ve (once again) strayed (slightly) from my above headlined premise / promise. But think of it this way… the monumentally wrong Harry S. Truman, who bombed out 2 times in 1945 (August 6th and 9th), could never be adequately dealt with in just 1 poem.

Re my 2nd quotation filled limerick… I thank both the centuries ago writer/poet Alexander Pope and the decades ago MASH teleplay writers for their inspiration. As for that specific “To err is Truman” line, these words had been quipped by actor Alan Alda’s character, Capt. Benjamin Franklin Pierce, M.D.

 

For more limericks (as well as other verses and song parodies, etc.), head over to my “Categories Menu” and select “Poetry”.

 

Rising the Phoenix from the Radioactive Ashes?

 

It’d be an understatement to say January 2018’s events had been unnerving. It all started with a Tweet, posted by a cyberbully who, due to his well-known character flaws of self-importance, imprudence, impudence and ignorance, needs no further introduction. Said he…

 

“North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2018”

 

How reckless of “Tweetie” to further engage and enrage his temperamental North Korean nuclear nemesis… particularly considering how their past rounds of infantile squabbling have already left the entire world on the brink of WW-III.

And to what end? I mean, here we witness the so-called prez, perhaps obsessing over not measuring up below his own bloated belly’s bellybutton? Maybe compensating for that shortcoming by boasting, online, about the size of his “nuclear button”?

As if that weren’t already bad enough, on January 13th, Hawaiians faced down what they believed to be a nuclear nightmare-come-true. Indeed, they had (erroneously) received the stark warning that a ballistic missile was already en route, inward bound… that thermonuclear exchange and the annihilation of humanity was imminent.

Then, on January 15th, I had unwittingly exacerbated my own anxieties… i.e., by switching on my FM radio at precisely the wrong moment. It had been quite disconcerting to hear the Emergency Alert System attention signal already blaring away… likely the exact same menacing monotone that had needlessly scared the crap out of my Hawaiian compatriots. My first reaction… “WTF did that numbskull narcissist do now?” Yep, I actually had groaned that aloud.

Of course, in that instance, it had been an actual alert… an AMBER Alert to help track down the whereabouts of a missing, perhaps abducted child.

My nerves, nonetheless, had become a bit frazzled. I was more than ready for some much needed escapism… perhaps courtesy of the Comet TV Network? However, once more, this proved to be ill-timed. I was now watching their feature presentation: Panic In Year Zero… a low budget, post apocalyptic film… a production that would have never won any awards for special effects. BUT it sure as hell did offer up a plausible portrayal of nuclear war’s grotesque side effect… societal breakdown… e.g. the male characters, first, becoming hunter-gatherers and, next… once their testosterone poisoning began kicking in full force… they further devolved into little more than knuckle-draggers… their predominant MO being pillaging, raping and manslaughter.

Then… just about when I thought it was safe to go outside, again, and get on with my life… on January 16th, a totally unexpected flash over my home state lit up my nighttime skies and generated an accompanying, minor, sonic boom… wound up fully backlighting my closed, thickly insulated kitchen and dining room curtains and “rocking” my home’s brick, mortar and drywall. Once more I groaned, aloud, “WTF did that numbskull narcissist do now?”

All the sudden I found myself desperately searching though my brain’s “files” for some “plain vanilla” type explanation… oh… say… thundersnow. However, just as quickly as I had hatched that theory, I had to debunk it. True, there had been a heavy  snowfall on that day… BUT… the extreme cold air mass, which had descended immediately afterwards, certainly would’ve made wintertime lightening… already a meteorological rarity… even more so.

The good news was that night’s 11 o’clock news story, which fully cleared up the mystery… a meteor had plunged to Earth. Yet, I could not help but wonder. Had that rocky space debris’ flight plan, instead, sent it streaking over Washington DC, how would “Prez” Tweetie have reacted / overreacted?

Factoring in his repugnance for intellectuals and all time honored, scientific principles (e.g. recall how he stared… sans eye protection… at 2016’s solar eclipse after being warned not to), it’s easy to see how his response would’ve been to trust his (cheeseburger glutted) gut and “go ballistic”.

The late astronomer / author Carl Sagan postulated along similar lines. From his book, Cosmos… Chapter IV – Heaven and Hell… I’ve condensed his observations from pages 73 – 76 (inclusive)…

 

“In the early morning hours of June 30, 1908, in Central Siberia, a giant fireball was seen moving rapidly across the sky. Where it touched the horizon, an enormous explosion took place. It leveled some 2,000 square kilometers of forest and burned thousands of trees in a flash fire near the impact site. It produced an atmospheric shock wave that twice circled the Earth.

This remarkable occurrence is called the Tunguska Event [and] was probably caused by an icy cometary fragment about a hundred meters across – the size of a football field – weighing a million tons , moving about 30 kilometers per second, 70,000 miles per hour.

If such an impact occurred today it might be mistaken, especially in the panic of the moment, for a nuclear explosion. The cometary impact and fireball would simulate all effects of a one megaton nuclear burst, including the mushroom cloud, with two exceptions: there would be no gamma radiation or radioactive fallout.

Could a rare but natural event… trigger a nuclear war? A strange scenario: A small comet hits the Earth… and the response of our civilization is promptly to self-destruct. It might be a good idea for us to understand comets and collisions and catastrophes a little better than we do… this is a real possibility and underscores the dangers in an age of nuclear weapons of not monitoring impacts from space better than we do.”

 

January’s unsettling events have since compelled me to seriously evaluate how I’d react IF… more likely WHEN… “Tweetie” provokes WW-III. One certainty… we could never expect a “prez”, ignorant enough to use social media for such an antisocial purpose, to ever effectively cope with the resultant nuclear wasteland… and far more importantly, even begin to sense the “survivors'” physical pain, mental anguish and emotional drain. Nope, he could never rise that phoenix from the radioactive ashes.

Under those dire circumstances, the “survivors”, most assuredly, would need flawless leadership… someone possessing the resolve, resourcefulness and reasoning power of Sci-Fi botanist / astronaut, Mark Watney… portrayed by actor Matt Damon… in the Hollywood big screen film, The Martian. To synopsize the plot and Watney’s plight, after winding up marooned on the otherwise barren of life, totally inhospitable Mars, he was left to figure out… every single minute of every single “Sol” (day)… all that he’d need to accomplish to survive. He wound up summing everything up, thusly

 

“So, in the face of overwhelming odds, I’m left with only one option: I’m gonna have to science the shit out of this.”

 

 

So what would the Trumpian response be? Well, once the fallout had settled, the holed up in his underground “prez” would emerge from his lead encased bunker… utterly clueless as to how to cope with an unearthly, uninhabitable Earth. He could never possess even a minuscule fraction of Mark Watney’s textbook knowhow and survivor instincts.

Worse yet, the “prez” would know no real life “Watneys” and even if the scientific community did step forward to offer their advice and services, “Tweetie” would still turn a deaf ear… would denigrate and spurn them. Consequently, the “prez” would preside over his world… no strike that… rule over a shithole nation and planet of his own making. Even far worse than that, he would still expect high praise and applause from countless hordes of beleaguered walking cadavers who’d be sloughing off their burnt flesh, puking their guts out… and dropping dead.

Returning to the here and now… IF… more likely WHEN… our Emergency Alert System starts signaling the end of the world… I’ll be lacing up my Sketchers and jogging, full speed ahead, towards Ground Zero… not away from it. I mean, given the two options of…

A. Existing within Donald Trump’s virtually lifeless, hopeless, burnt to a cinder, irradiated shithole nation and planet.
B. Dying and taking my chances with attaining either eternal life or facing down godforsaken oblivion.

I’d opt-in to choice “B”.

So, my readers, my comment section is the venue to tell the whole world what you’d choose. It’ll only take a few seconds to type in your one character… either your “A” or “B”… response.

Of course, other lengthier comments are also welcome.

 

 

Grate… Not Great (One Quick Limerick #019)

 

 

Grump bullies non-WASPs / non-straights, spews his hate,

Deems rule of law / liberty second-rate,

In big biz world, he’s a glutton,

He’ll melt down, push “The Button”,

That irritant makes america grate.

 

 

You can access more original limericks, poetry and lyrical parodies by clicking onto my poetry category.

 

 

Fire & Fury (One Quick Limerick #018)

 

The man-child’s foreign relations routine,

Vows fire/fury world has never seen,

Sane folks can’t sleep at night,

With Earth’s end now in sight,

Guess it’s in Heaven where we’ll reconvene?

 

 

More original limericks, poetry and lyrics can be accessed by clicking onto my poetry category.

 

 

Rattle + Prattle = Battle (One Quick Limerick #017)

 

The fools’ nuclear sabers both rattle,

And they spew forth too much mucked up prattle,

With diarrhea of mouth,

Hopes for truce talks could go south,

They’d end up with a mushrooming battle!

 

More original limericks, poetry and lyrics can be accessed by clicking onto my poetry category.