mushroom-cloud-mdJust Like Hiroshima

by Vance Mikin-Laurie

A colossal woman stands on a beach with photoshopped blue water behind, a roadside sign illuminated against the night sky. My eyes ride up between her thighs until they reach the orange fabric gripping tightly against her wet skin. Her bikini is tied with a fragile little string in two knots that look so loose they could be undone by a gust of wind. I imagine myself floating upwards and level with her, pulling the knots undone and watching the orange cloth tumble onto the white sand. I imagine it so clearly and intensely that all I can see is her image against a blinding white light. 

An air horn blares and I jerk the wheel hard to the left while the side mirror explodes against a rushing road train in the oncoming lane. I’m off the bitumen and onto the gravel, ploughing through weeds and shrubs until I pull the car back onto the highway. Fuck. She stares at my shaking, sweating figure in shock.

− Oh my god, whats wrong? What happened?

− Shut up! Shut up! Shut the fuck up!

I’m shouting and hitting the wheel with my palm over and over again. I push the pedal down until it touches the floor. I need to feel it touch the floor. It has to. It feels good. She is crying, hyperventilating. I can’t console her. 

Trucks rush past in the rain, pelting the windshield with torrents of water; an endless barrage from behind the white line. She can’t even move her hands from her face and I feel the power of what I can do with just a flick of the wheel. 

Headlights burn along the highway, lighting the rain on fire. The blaze growing until we are pinned against our seats like escapees under a spotlight, cast naked into the view of the faceless driver-god. I turn up the news on the radio to cover her sobbing, pulling my hands from the wheel like neodymium magnets. Louder! Some American commander has apologised about the civilian casualties of an unmanned drone strike. Lives ended by a hand on a Playstation controller on the other side of the world. A tiny movement of the hand. Flesh against plastic and boom! Just like this steering wheel, just like Hiroshima. 

*** 

The newspaper lays open across the table in front of the fruit bowl. The road toll is 21, unchanged since yesterday. She is standing in the kitchen with the tap running, filling a glass with water then drinking it and filling it again, spilling it over her trembling hands. Rotten oranges are piled into the fruit bowl, with fruit flies hovering around. I pull one out, exposing the decomposing blue and white skin while the flies scramble away as if the world is ending. I run my thumb slowly over the moist flesh before plunging it deep inside until I can feel my nail against my palm. I stare at the number 21 while the sick thick juice drips against my leg and onto the carpet.

Vance Mikin-Laurie wanted to be a journalist until he saw the inner workings on a modern newspaper. Now he likes to fire potshots at assholes from his desk.
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