Fresh from the microwave, it’s Macabre Macaroni

Lisa BurtonWhat if you were offered a front row seat to the end of the world. Would you take it? It’s a sight no humans have ever witnessed before.

What if that seat came with a price? You get to go on, but you have to throw the switch. Could you do it? Could you justify this act somehow? Someone is going to do it, but the price of survival is you taking the action yourself.

Would you weigh the consequences? Would you feel like a lottery winner, or prefer to move on with everyone else.

This little snippet explores this choice. I hope you enjoy it.

Collateral Damage

Lieutenant Scott Davies pulled the Humvee up to the bunker and parked. He left the keys in the ignition and the door open.

Captain Rhodes stood beside the airtight door the Navy provided to the project. “Scott.”

“Byron.”

“Let’s get inside and monitor the phone. Close the hatch behind you.”

“We still have time, Scott. I want to breathe the air and listen to the night sounds.”

Byron put a hand on his friend’s shoulder. “I understand. Secure that vehicle and make it quick.”

“Why? Who’s going to steal it?” He removed the keys and locked the automobile.

Byron never answered, having headed inside. Scott followed, but left the hatch open.

“You take the south button, I’ll take the north,” Byron said. “We will place our hands on our buttons and the commands will be press, turn. Execute your move immediately, no countdown. Understand?”

“Yes, Sir, but–”

“But what? We have our orders.”

“Maybe the phone will ring.”

“We’re already thirty seconds overdue. Hand on your button.”

“My sister and her husband are out there somewhere, you know.”

“They’ll never know what happened. None of them will. You trained for this moment, and volunteered for it I might add. Failure to execute is considered treason.”

Scott placed his hand on the south button. At Byron’s command he executed the moves exactly as practiced. “It’s just another drill, right? The phone will ring and we’ll have to stand down, won’t we?”

Byron pointed to the countdown clock on the wall. Ten minutes. “Not this time.”

Scott headed back to the hatch.

“Where do you think you’re going? We have supplies for two months then the shuttle will come.”

“Byron, I respect your rank, but we have ten minutes. I want to hear the insects one last time. Feel the cool night air, look at the glow of the city lights on the clouds.”

“Alright, I’ll go with you. Do you think we’re wrong tonight?”

“Orders. We follow orders, don’t we?”

“Politics, religion, drugs, global warming, it all ends tonight.”

“I get it. No more terrorism, no more suicide bombers, whatever. I sat through the same training you did. No more butterflies, flowers, tigers, or anything else either.”

“The sea will mostly survive. There are some remote islands that will be untouched. Those are the ones we’ll inhabit once the orbiter decides it’s all clear. They’ll send a shuttle, Scott, I promise.”

“Do we even want them to? Maybe we’d be better off to wait outside with everyone else. How much time left?”

Byron peeked back inside. “Eight minutes.” He leaned against the bunker wall and looked up. “I wonder how many people are looking up at that moon right now, completely oblivious.”

“Lovers, children catching fireflies, old couples rocking on the porch.”

“Terrorists, smugglers at sea, fanatics, zealots.”

“That’s the point though. We can kill the people, but not the ideas. People are going to disagree over some things.”

“Yeah, but according to the big brains, not anymore. Defending our way of life is no longer sustainable. Eventually we won’t be able to keep ahead of the arms race. That’s why they poured everything into the orbiter and the seed bank.”

“Who got to choose entrants onto the orbiter?”

“You can’t worry about that stuff tonight. They made tough decisions, and we’re taking tough actions. The reboot of Planet Earth starts in… three minutes. We have the rest of our lives to debate whether it was a mistake or not. Come on, Scott, let’s get inside.”

They went inside and Byron sealed the hatch. “We have books, games, and food downstairs. Maybe we should get to it.”

“Who decided what was appropriate to survive in the new regime?”

“I don’t know, man. You have to accept some things as fact.”

“We could still stop it, you know.”

“This is a one shot deal. We can’t wait around for debate, then do it later. This is happening and there’s nothing we can do.”

“But we could, Byron. We could.”

“It requires two of us acting in concert, and I’m not acting.”

Scott slid open a tiny slot and looked through a foot of darkened glass.”

“What are you doing?”

“Taking the last look at everything. Art, literature, music, that all dies too.”

“Remember your training. We’ve had a year to wrap our minds around this. There’s meditation space downstairs, and it sounds like you could use it.”

“And I will, but I’ll see this first.” Scott wiped zinc oxide around his eyes and face. “The brains are doing the same thing as the terrorists you know. They’re forcing their will upon everyone else.”

“I’ve had the same thoughts, and I don’t want to see it. I’ll meet you downstairs. Do you want me to microwave a burrito for you?”

“No. I went to a nice French restaurant before I came here, and put it on a credit card. It’s not like they’ll ever collect.”

“Looks like you’ve found some acceptance in all this. No more West Nile Virus.”

“Political campaign season.”

“Spam email.”

“Split shifts, required overtime.”

“Road construction.”

“Sounds like you’ve found some comfort. Besides, you can always remind yourself that you were just following orders.”

***

Lisa here again. If you’re enjoying this year’s Macabre Macaroni, there are more of them available in the sidebar. The category is “Short Stories and Vignettes.” Craig also produced several books of this stuff and at 99¢ each they’re a steal. You can find those on his Amazon Author Page.

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46 Comments

Filed under Short Stories & Vignettes

46 responses to “Fresh from the microwave, it’s Macabre Macaroni

  1. Whoa! I wonder if something like this could actually happen with the current idiots in charge? Nah – they’ll do it bit by bit – slowly destroying everything of value in America first. I’ll probably be dead by the time something like this is considered. Gulp.

    “Too many people don’t care what happens so long as it doesn’t happen to them.” ~ William Howard Taft

    “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”
    ~ Winston Churchill
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I can already see that it’s doomed to fail. There are still humans who will return to Earth and the whole thing will start again. Probably even be happening in the orbiter considering our tribal nature. So, I’d refuse in this situation due to it feeling more like one group ending things in order to rebuild in their image. No matter how noble their ideals, it loses something when starting with global decimation.

    Honestly, I don’t think I can push the button at this point in my life. Younger me with fewer connections might have done. Now, I just think that I’d wipe out my friends and family. Not a fan of baby with the bath water decisions.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Frightening. These are not the people I want to ‘repopulate’ the earth. I sure wouldn’t wanna know. ‘Poof, I’m dead’ sounds alright. No ticket to the show for me.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. The beginning of this reminded me of the opening scene of the movie WarGames.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I’d never be the button pusher. Leave me outside with the rest. And if I could be oblivious to it, all the better.

    This story will stick with me for a while. Nicely done.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. This was uncomfortably real, Craig… and I don’t think I would want to know either…

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Reblogged this on Siân Glírdan and commented:
    It’s the end of the world as we know it… This Macabre Macaroni piece cuts to the bones of everything facet of our lives. Would you hit the button?

    Liked by 3 people

  8. D.L Finn, Author

    It is a scary thought that this can be justified as an order to mindlessly follow from entities unknown. Although it happens everyday on a smaller level. Very chilling.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Food for thought. If we could re-boot earth, what would we choose? Great story, Crait.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Sorry – typo. Of course I know your name, Craig. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Ooh, nicely done! I could feel the character’s mindset changing, finally morphing into acceptance. I’m with you. If someone plans to fry me, I’d rather remain oblivious to the situation.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Glad you understood that he’s had time to work through everything. Acceptance is a great word for it. Doesn’t mean he agrees, just accepts. Did you see the book reference I made in one of the other comments. Might be interesting for a crime author.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Well done, Craig. I’m not sure Scott totally got there but he is justifying the act. Scary one too.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
    It’s another installment of Macabre Macaroni from C.S. Boyack’s blog. Enjoy.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. This is so well done, Craig! Goes beyond ‘…nothing to fear but fear itself!’

    Liked by 2 people

  15. paulandruss

    Don’t know what I enjoyed more the Story or the comments. I know I’ll take both the story and the furore!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I’m with Staci…I’d rather be outside and oblivious.
    An exceptional story. Scary too because somehow it doesn’t seem all that far-fetched.

    Liked by 1 person

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