Land of The Midnight Sun
Bob Smith sat in his recliner reading the day’s paper. The mouthwatering effervescence of TV dinners cooking in the microwave wafted through the house. The delicate hint of meatloaf told Bob it must be a Tuesday and after Junior went to bed it would be his usual cocktail with his wife Agnes. If he got her drunk enough he might just get lucky.
Junior was sprawled out on the floor in front of Bob fooling around with his plastic ray gun. The Honeymooners played on their brand new television set. In the backyard Bandit could be heard barking. It was dark outside but not late enough to wake anyone up. Bob decided to let Bandit bark. “Probably the neighbor’s cat,” he thought. “Screw that cat and screw the Jones’. Screw Don’s new Buick. It will never be my Cadillac. Burn in hell.”
Bob and Donald Jones had a rivalry that stretched back as far as he could remember. Agnes was the blonde Prom Queen and Bob the Valedictorian. Donald was Salutatorian and his wife Dorothy, a natural brunette, dyed her hair blonde and was homely at best. Before they married Agnes was a fashion model and Bob loved holding it over Don’s head. Agnes was a true blonde. She was blonde where it counted. The thought made Bob’s body tingle and he turned to look at Agnes. But Bob couldn’t turn. His neck was stiff. Stiffer than any old football injury or bad night’s sleep.
“Christ what’s the matter. My fingers. Oh god am I having a heart attack? No it isn’t a heart attack. Its my whole body. I’m stuck. I’m frozen. Why can’t I move? I’m paralyzed. Help. Help me Agnes,” Bob shouted. Even though he had been taking his meds Bob felt a panic attack striking at the speed of light.
Out of Bob’s peripherals he could see that Agnes was a perfect statue in front of the microwave. She did not move when the timer went off on the microwave. She did not flinch when the plastic cover on the TV dinner began to burn. On the stove potatoes cooking in a pot boiled over on to the floor. Bob’s attention then turned to his son.
“Junior! Junior can you hear me,” Bob thought, not quite sure if his words were audible.
Junior did not move. He did not heed his father’s call. Junior, ray gun in hand, just sat in front of the TV like a frozen zombie.
“Dear God. What’s happening? Is this it? Is this the end?” Bob thought until he heard the wailing of a siren, the way he wanted to wail but couldn’t. It was the wailing Bob felt when he was told his parents died in a car accident. The same wailing that crippled him when Junior nearly drowned in the community pool. The boy would have died if not for the quick acting of lifeguard and his administering CPR. This wailing Bob had seen before in the Public Service Announcements. The thought made him nauseas.
Suddenly the TV went dead. A whiff of ozone filled the air. Suddenly a great flash of light nearly blinded Bob. A great gust of wind shattered the windows and knocked Agnes to the floor in pieces. Bob watched as his brand new Television set, the set he had put away nearly 2 months salary for, went up in flames. Bob watched as his son’s skin peeled back layer by layer, bubbling like tar. He could taste the smell of the boy’s smoldering hair. Bob watched as his son, the son he and his wife tried nearly two years to have, the son he had taken to baseball practice just hours earlier, fell to ashes in a neat pile at his feet.
Bob then felt his own body sizzle as if he was dancing on the surface of the Sun. Bob began drowning in endless pain; the kind of infinite pain mothers feel having watched their children die before their very eyes. He felt the dark enlightenment only a madman could know and in his agony a thousand silent screams echoed against the walls of his mind.
Bob hung in an abyss. Darkness enveloped and invaded him. “Am I dead? Is this death?” he thought. Suddenly he faintly heard footsteps coming towards him.
“Help. Finally some help. Can you hear me? Please help me,” screamed Bob, but no one answered. Then he heard a man’s voice.
“Jesus. Will you look at this? We’ll have take this back to the lab for analysis. Think the dog is alive?” a man spoke.
“Nah. Saw him fry on the monitor,” answered another man.
“Anyways let’s get to work. Got to have the final product ready before the damn Russkies. Place an order for another Bob. Have this one recycled. Gonna need another Jones too. Gonna need a new damn neighborhood. Haha. Poor Bob” said one of the men. They both chuckled.
“Poor me”, Bob thought. “Poor, poor Bob.”
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