Sunday, April 13, 2008

Special Delivery: A Flash Fiction Story

"I've studied their logistics and traffic. This is one of the busiest days of the year for both of them."

"Look, I can't believe you would do this. It's so bizzarre."

"It's the only way. Sure, it's expensive, but don't you think it would work? It's practically the only way to get through everything. Call it the shotgun approach."

"Yeah, but still how did you come up with this?"

"I visited my father a year ago, he shot a beer can with a shotgun, and all that was left of it was holes. That gave me the idea, on several levels. Lots a Little pellets, shipped separately, each in lots of lead shielding."

The doorbell rang. Hohn and I both went to the door.

It was UPS. "I have five packages for Timothy Smith."

"That's Me", I answered.

"Sign Here. This is just one of them, they're all heavy as lead."

We both kinda snickered. I signed, and said "John, can you help me carry in the others?"

"Sure", he answered, and we all three walked to the UPS truck to get three of the four remaining packages. I then walked back to the truck with the UPS guy to get the last package.

As I got back to the door and the truck was driving away, I said "I wasn't expecting any of them early! Wait till tomorrow, that's wen most of them are due to arrive."

"Tomorrow Dr. O'brien will come by to test all these. I don't want to open them up now, I figure we should wait until the last minute, so we don't get unneccesarily exposed."

john went home, and I had a restless night that night. Next morning I sat on the doorstep sipping my coffee. I couldn't believe it was all about to come together.

I didn't have to wait long for John and Dr. O'brien to show up.

"Morning, Tim, John says you already have a few deliveries."

"Yes, right here by the stairs."

"I've got my meter right here, how about we take 'em out on the back porch and open 'em up?"

"Gladly," I replied. I really wanted to know if this was what I paid for. Follow me." I grabbed one of the packages and went out to the porch.

Dr. O'brien pulled out his box cutter as if he always carried one around, and sliced open the cardboard on top and around the box, and peeled the cardoard away from the lead box within. The top was held on with about a half dozen pieces of duct tape. I didn't know to expect that, but you never know what you get when dealing with the underworld. He pulled off the tape, and carefully lifted the lead lid.

"Is it glowing?" inquired John.

"Not yet," said Dr. O'brien with an evil grin. He then pulled out his geiger counter, stuck the business end into the open box, and adjusted a switch on it until it gave out a good, steady several clicks per second. He looked mystified for several moments, and kept checking the geiger counter.

"What is it, Doctor?" I asked. I could tell the expression on his face wasn't good.

"This isn't what you ordered. It only gives about one percent of the radiation it should." He reached into the box and pulled out a small pellet with his fingers. John and I both took a step back, because we knew what it was, or at least what it was supposed to be, and you're not supposed to be near it.

"Well, it's heavy enough," Dr. O'brien said, hefting the little pellet up and down in his hand. "I believe this is depleted uranium. Easy enough to get, perhaps taken from some area where US troops have been shooting recently."

"So I got ripped off?" I enquired, feeling rather sick.

"Well, just for this piece that we know of. You said there were how many hundred more shipmenmts?"

About that time I heard a horn blowing in front of the house. "That must be Fed-Ex or UPS! Let's go!"

I ran to the front door, and sure enough, there was a large Fed-Ex truck outside. I flung open the door, and we all three ran to the truck. About the time we all three got to the truck, I saw men running around from both sides, and looking back, more men running from both sides of the house, some running into the front door - men carrying guns. Several of them yelled:


We were handcuffed in no time, and told "You are being charged with transport of nuclear materials. Look closely at the sun, folks. It's gonna be a loooooong time before you see it again."

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