“Ted?’ I called out plaintively, there in the darkness of the woods compounded by clouds of black smoke.
*crickets* Or in other words, no reassuring sound or sign of life so far.
Ever the scientist (and word-fiend) I quickly spoke into my cheap Radio Shack pocket voice recorder; “NO TED, I NOTED”.
And knowing full well that I had some major amends to make, I wasn’t surprised to hear my phone’s assistant (I call him ‘SSV’ for ‘Still small voice’) tear into me at once:
‘HE’s ED now!’
Not immediately grasping the implications, and of course justifiably in shock since the explosion, I added to the tape:
“HE’S ED, HE SED.”
‘Yeah, missing the top of his head!‘, SSV added accusingly, as if it was my fault.
‘So the ‘T’ was that boyish top-knot he’d worn for the last couple weeks back at the plant?‘ I asked SSV, stalling for time.
‘Big deal, no problem, I’ll call him Ed.‘ I added, convinced of my generosity.
“Um.. call’ IT’ Ed, guy; take a look at what’s left of him… Or don’t.”
I’d liked Ted a lot since he started to work under me. Thirty-something, clever, curious, and adventurous. Guess it was the last two adjectives there which, like, destined that this ‘bad thing’ might happen, like, sooner or later.
Ok, whom am I kidding, it wuz all my fault. I’m the one who said ‘Yeah, probably.’ when he asked if we could make something ‘awesome’ out of the dusty cabinet of chemicals back in the corner which Inventory never seemed to give a shit about re-stocking.
To make matters worse, I’d done the net research on the TNT synthesis path using the reagents there. (Since deleted). And frankly, both of us beginners were overwhelmed by the power of the blast, just like at Los Alamos. (Although there will need to be an Afterlife, and both of us in the same ‘wing’ someday, for me to hear Ted’s side.)
Such a cute kid; I’m starting to feel real remorse. He’d carefully carried the Device from the back seat of my Subaru to the tree stump there in the woods, and kinda surprised me by intoning, mock-momentous his Oppenheimer-quote: ‘I am become TED, Destroyer of Worlds.’
Well, in a way, I suppose he was right. And I helped him to achieve his dream…
Jezuz, what a crock! SSV is right. His voice, still small but conscience-searing will torment me whatever happens at the trial. I could blame our murderous work-hours at the Plant: (we called it the ‘doppler-shift’, cause you never knew whether you were coming or going without listening to the ringing in your ears.
But still, I should have known. I DETONATED TED. It’s right there in front of us… or in back. I’m actually near tears just typing up this post. As if it weren’t in fact 100% Fiction.
‘It is, right, SSV?’ …Don’t look at me like that!