Around noon, the bomb squad arrived—puffed up men with space-age helmets and gadgets, German Shepherds and Walkie Talkies. They came through our floor in a measured pace, even though the explosive was set to detonate in three minutes.
When the alarm had gone off, a ponderous voice, much like an auto-tuned version of God, blared through the overhead speakers, saying, “Leave now. This is not a test.”
Random hucksters always set off the alarms in our building, and so the bloated attorneys and overloaded legal aides were slow to rise.
But then God came back on, his voice a strained soprano now (something between Justin Timberlake’s falsetto and Justin Beiber’s male voice) saying, “THERE’S A BOMB IN THE BUILDING, PEOPLE! THIS IS REAL!”
The suited and skirted buffalos fled in a scurry, as if they’d just realized that Black Friday had begun without them and bargains were being scooped up in a jiff. Steve Hempel—hairy walrus of a man, with his face-goiter that always oozed during staff meetings--slammed into me, him fleeing and me walking the other direction.
I watched the mayhem, doing my best to suppress a grin, thinking how panic and fear are siblings or cousins, or in the very least, meant for each other like penis and vagina.
I saw Old Man Hopkins run over Ashley Owens, stepping on her right breast and not apologizing. I saw Beckworth mow down the receptionist, sending her flying across the copy machine I’d once beat the shit out of with my Cole Hahn shoes before being fired.
I walked to the large conference room with the ridiculously long, mahogany table shaped like an oval plaque so that even a big gathering would still feel intimate. Six of us—two scribes, two attorneys, one ex-attorney (Me), and one soon-to-be ex-wife (mine), had sat in this very room months earlier, me having my heart and guts ripped out by my wife’s demands, me having my anus destroyed in sinister ways I’d never thought possible. During the entire time, My Lovely held a red smile on her lips no different than as if she was Mona Lisa.
Now my wife squirmed in the chair I’d bound her to. The ruse I’d set up to get her here was one of my finest moments. I still had a key to the conference room and was smart enough to draw the blinds, lock the door, and--best of all--stuff one of my dress socks in her mouth before taping over it.
On the internet, you can learn anything. The bomb I’d constructed was a crude thing, made with duct tape and a Folgers coffee can. When I sat next to my wife, it stared up at us from the carpet decorated with dollar signs and bald eagles.
I asked my ex if she had any last words. Of course, she didn’t. Her mouth was gagged. It made me laugh. And then the next thing that happened made me free.
published 3 February 2013