Boom Chick

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

I keep getting the impression that Trump is going to blow up the world. This causes me to wonder what it will be like. That special day when your world evaporates shortly after returning from

Submitted: January 15, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: January 15, 2018




You Never Know What the Day Might Bring

Finishing my burger in the first floor canteen, I rode the elevator to the third floor and stopped by the coffee room for a little buzz to ward off my afternoon nap. A nap habit that I was trying to break after eight weeks of unemployment.

“Yes, but that soup wasn't enough, I'm going to starve”, said the cute young girl who, for some reason, constantly wandered the halls and bull pens of JP Morgan.

“You want an apple?” Asked the guy she was with. Another software engineer like myself.

Leaving with my coffee, I would never know if the apple was accepted. I wondered if I should have stayed for a minute. I'd heard that the girl played electric guitar and I had brought my drums with me. It would be a lot more fun to try to play some music with people than my usual weekend “fun” of haunting the bars in Westport. Back in Boulder my drumming got me into a lot of good parties with a lot of good people.

Returning to my cube I clicked on the Hawaiian Breeze, a tiny four inch fan that sat on my desk. Even in the modern climate controlled JP Morgan building, Kansas City was hot. And being from Big Thomson Canyon back in Colorado, I wasn't used to it. I logged into my machine and brought up Twitter. I'd heard that starting to code immediately after returning from lunch could cause cramps. Some social media was needed to settle the food.

But I really loved coding in the Spring framework and wasn't really avoiding my work. It was a joy and I was making great progress getting up my part of the new retirement site. I'd ground through EJB's before. and other people's junk, one off, custom frameworks, and this was a dream in comparison. Plus, I was getting rich here. I would go back to Colorado with enough money for Andrea and I to finally put a down payment on a house. We knew of one up the canyon. A tiny 100 year old one bedroom cabin by the river. The owner wanted us to have it, but he wanted some money before he would carry us. But brief periods of social media kept the job a joy and kept my stamina up.

Twitter was weird. I hadn't been on since before 7:00 AM and it had changed. The usual cat pictures and sunset photos were mostly replaced by the the political folks I followed. Scanning, I gleaned that about about 8:30 AM Trump had made a direct threat to North Korea. He planned to “Bloody Kim's Nose” for violations of one of his many, and sometimes vague, red lines in the sand.

Opening the Washington Post I learned that Kim had conducted an ICBM test at about 8:00 AM that morning. Planes had been launched from two offshore carriers and were now over North Korea.

I kept the Post open and began working on my assigned tasks. They had to be done and up in CVS by 4:00 PM, when the new build would be compiled and tested.

About a half an hour later, at about 1:30 PM, I saw the red banner across the front page of the Washington Post. “Carriers Under Fire.”

Clicking the link I read that objects from space, unknown objects, had come in at re-entry velocities and slammed into the decks of our two carriers. Both carriers were reported to be badly damaged and out of commission. The incoming angle and speed of the objects had made them almost impossible to defend against.

Fifteen minutes later an address by Trump was announced. He came on in that tiny little screen in the upper left hand corner of the Washington Post front page. Giving up on work, I activated the sound. The guys from the desk behind me and the desk next to me heard it and crowded around. Trump said the carriers were sinking and many lives had been lost. He was ordering a full retaliation to “destroy North Korea's military abilities”.

Robert, my next door neighbor remarked: “He already did a full on strike. What the hell is he talking about?”

Sahid, my back neighbor, and not much of a talker, cleared his throat. “I think he's talking about a nuclear strike. Oh, God, I hope not.”

I felt a cold sickness and heard the chatter ratcheting up across the huge bullpen. People were crowding around desks and starring at computer screens.

I tried to work and pretty much failed, but not much time was lost. An electric voice came across the tornado warning intercom, “Employees are asked to move to their designated tornado shelter areas according to the drills. Your floor and section will be called when it is time to move. Do not panic. This is not a drill. A threat has been identified.”.

The three of us just looked at each other across my desk. “Section One, First floor begin moving to your shelter area”, said the intercom. It was loud and hard to miss.

The Kansas City tornado warning had lost it's punch a long time ago. Usually, a warning meant that there might be a tornado in some open field out by the Colorado border somewhere. But be that as it may, we would dutifully march off to the shelter area until we got the all clear. In a way, it was fun. And I was a mountain girl who had never seen a tornado, and there was always a faint chance that I might be able to. I planned to ascend the three flights of steps and look out the ground floor door if one actually came around.

But there was something real and scary here. And that cold, sick feeling I still had compelled me to go through my desk and take out my personal items. My address book, the photos I had brought in, my spare glasses and the file folder with my bills in it. Also, bag of mini snickers bars for some reason. As an afterthought I grabbed the Hawaiian Breeze, I'd bought it while working in Denver years ago and I had had it on my various desks ever since. I was surprised how sentimental I felt towards it. I did Cntrl-Alt-Del and locked my machine.

We moved out when we heard, “Section Two, Third Floor, move to your shelter”.

We used the steps, not the elevator, and descended to the third level below ground in the parking garage. People were pouring through the door and onto the auto ramp. There was usually a lot of talking and laughing here, but people were now a bit grim. I kept going down. I needed to get to the fifth level below ground where my car was parked to drop off the handful of junk I was carrying. My bills kept slipping out of their file folder. Setting the load on the hood of my Suburban, I clicked open the doors and began stacking the stuff on the front floor of the vehicle.

Overcome with worry, I left a few odds and ends on the hood, and standing by the front door of the vehicle, dialed my phone. There was cell phone coverage in the garage. I wanted to warn Andrea in Colorado, but I got nothing but a busy signal. Same thing with my dad. “The cell towers must be overloaded”, I thought.

It felt like someone hit the bottom of my feet with a ball peen hammer. I saw the Hawaiian Breeze fly upward from the hood of the Suburban and bounce off the low concrete ceiling. I landed on my ass and saw the Suburban bouncing up and down beside me. There was only a faint boom, then a roar that rapidly grew to fill the universe. Dust filled the garage and the lights went out. They came back on at a different level a few seconds later. The facility generator.

I opened to door of the Suburban and, without thinking, dove in. I lay on the seat. A good move for a second shock hit just as I got my head down on the seat. I heard and felt the heavy automobile land back on the garage floor and bounce. The wind was knocked out of me and I tried to breath as the infernal roar again filled the garage. The lights were out again. This time they stayed out.

The third shock blew the side windows out of the Suburban and I felt an awful wave of heat. Something like I had felt when some guys at college had lit and whooshed up a big pile of black powder. It felt like the Suburban would roll, but it again landed upright. I smelled burned paint and gasoline. The whole inside of the Suburban was covered in little trapezoids of safety glass.

Each of the next three shocks were diminished. One less than the other. But still massive. Massive beyond belief.

I lay on the car seat for a long time. Maybe thirty minutes. My phone wasn't giving me the time. The garage was dark and filling with smoke, a terrible, weird, chemical smelling smoke. I felt my way to the glove box and found my flashlight. Leaving the vehicle, the beam of the flashlight showed the Hawaiian Breeze on the garage floor, looking not much the worse for wear. Insanely, I picked it up and tossed it into the car. I made my way to the stairwell and began ascending.

I opened the stairwell door on the floor immediately above and violently slammed it shut. I caught a glimpse of burning cars, heat and dense smoke. Moving to the next floor, where my section had taken shelter, I had to force the door. It was bowed inward towards the stairwell. I kicked it until it opened. There were no fires here as there were few cars. It was a kind of a guest parking area for groups attending seminars. No cars or other junk to fly around, and hence a good tornado shelter. A single car next to the stairwell door had it's windows blown out and tires flattened. Weird, the flat tires.

I moved to our shelter spot and saw everyone laying on the floor, near the wall where they usually congregated. Some in contorted positions. Moving among them, they didn't appear to be injured, but all appeared to be dead. Their eyes were open and unblinking. They weren't breathing. They must have died instantly as they seemed to just fall where they were standing. Some had a little blood coming out of their ears and noses. It took a few minutes to determine there was no one I could help. I shuddered and moved to inspect the other group on the floor. Third floor, section one. All seemed to be dead. I marveled that I felt nothing as I returned to the stairwell. Shock I suppose.

At the second stairwell below ground I could see light filtering down. I pushed on and found that the roof of the ground floor landing was gone, as was the door to the outside. The steel fire door lay crumpled under the concrete stairs up to the first floor. Or, as it now appeared, the stairway to the sky.

Looking out, I first saw nothing. An empty parking lot and lots of smoke. It was hard to breath. I then noticed the pile of cars against the south wing first floor. The four upper floors were gone and the cars were smashed and stacked on top of one and other. I noticed that the trees were gone. Stepping out and turning around, I saw all the floors but the first floor were gone. My third floor bullpen had simply vanished. Peering into the smoke I then saw the yellow and red glow. I'd seen that in the Santa Barbara wild fires. There were whirring sounds as whirlwinds of fire moved in and out of the smoke. I'd seen one of these too, as the wildfire came up the canyon behind our house. Basically, it was a scene of massive heat and flames masked by even more massive clouds of smoke. An out of control wild fire in the heart of the city.

I moved out into the parking lot and saw that I was surrounded by flames. The well kept lawn and large parking lots of JP Morgan kept them at a reasonable distance. But I didn't think I could travel off the grounds. I called out and my voice sounded thin and weak. I realized that the fires were roaring and the noise drowned out everything else. An idiotic thought came to me, “Your life is going to be really different now”.

Realizing what had happened, and fearing radiation, but not knowing what to do about it, I returned to the garage. Radios usually worked in the garage, but the Suburban's was dead now. The signal must have been piped in somehow. Or all the stations were gone.

And the days passed.

Mostly I lay on my back, in the dark garage, on the Suburban front seat. Thinking. Kind of numb. I would eat one of the Snickers bars and have some water now and then, and I would then feel pretty good. Physically, at least. Until the sugar high wore off. And I didn't feel sick. And I thought that you would feel sick if you had been exposed to radiation. Or at least to harmful amounts. But I didn't know.

Six bombs on Kansas City. That wasn't the act of North Korea, or at least not just North Korea. I'd recently read an article saying they had ten to fifteen bombs. Why would they waste six of them, almost half their stock, on this relatively unimportant city? I figured the Russians or Chinese were involved. They were the only ones with bombs to waste. And given what had happened here, I wondered what was left of the important centers like DC, New York, Los Angeles or Dallas.

I wondered if I could ever get back to Colorado. Maybe find Andrea and my dad. Were the roads still there? Would there be gas? The car would start, but was it too damaged for the trip? No windows, but that might not matter. I planned go upstairs in a few days and see if the fires are out. They were still going the day before and I was amazed at how long they could burn. I figured there would be rubble in the roads and the car couldn't get out.

I was guessing that this was really bad. Even worse than Hillary's emails.


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