Dan

Weapons of Weapon Destruction

In the William P. Hobby airport, CNN is on. Glazed stares and crying babies maunder through an almost-visible haze of cinnamon, fried fat, and cleaning fluids. On the screen, the anchor is reading tweets from the public. But then the bottom of the screen flares up, with a shining silver “BREAKING NEWS” badge. “GUNS ALL GONE?” it reads. Just as a few people start muttering, the airport intercom erupts with static.

“Please remain calm. A state of emergency has been declared by the governor of the state of Texas,” the toneless voice rings out.

At the FastCheck TSA security checkpoint line, a man in a battered cowboy hat stands confused, reaching in his jacket. “Where the hell did my piece go?” There’s dust all over his hands. He claps them off, confused, patting his pockets. Then he stares at the guy behind him. “You take my gun?”

“Naw man, what’re you even talking about, man?”

“I’m a fed, son. Don’t mess with me.”

The guy puts his hands up; sort of joking, sort of not. “I’m not messin’ with you, dude!”

From far back of the TSA line someone yells, “Hey! They’re sayin’ ALL the GUNS are gone!”

“What? Gone?” someone shouts back.

“They ALL GONE!”

Mumbling and jostling anxiety skitters down the lines, ramping into a buzz of fear.

The fed stands stock still, arms akimbo, glancing from side to side. “I’m an air marshal,” he says, more to remind himself than to inform anyone else.

The TSA agents look around in panic. This was not covered in the training videos. One of them stands up, sky blue gloves raised, and tries to restore order. “Please wait until we get further information!”

The marshal pushes his way to the front of the line, causing more people to grumble and the general chatter to get louder.

“PEOPLE!” he hollers, loud enough that everyone actually does stop and stare for a moment. “I am a U.S. Air Marshal! I hereby order you to REMAIN CALM and STAY WHERE YOU ARE!”

“Yeah, but do you have a GUN?” an anonymous voice in the crowd yells out.

The marshal’s hand moves instinctively to his empty holster, he looks down confused, and then pandemonium erupts.

“Blyaaaa!” yells a man, completely unintelligible, as he launches himself at the U.S. Marshal and bites his ear clean off. The ensuing screams are drowned in the clatter of the mob rushing over and past them, plowing their way through the checkpoint and howling with feral glee as they enter the sacred inner confines of the airport’s plaza.

Some react like animals, becoming predators or prey, asserting their dominance or running for cover. Some people lucky to not be pushed along in the raging torrent stare in disbelief, frozen. Deer with only other deer to fear.

By this point there is far too much screaming for anyone to hear the airport’s intercom. “Please stay calm,” the disembodied voice says anyway, flat with the conviction that it can’t compel a soul now.

 


 

Hours later, a family are huddled together in a fortified restroom entrance, walled in by chairs and baggage. The two boys’ faces flicker by the light of the blazing fire that used to be a Sbarro.

The mother glances around the corners, grimacing in the direction of a bloody pile where a police uniform lies in tatters over a mangled body. “I bet there’s a radio.”

The father nods. “Not a bad idea, hon. I’ll keep watch.” He hefts a home-made spear fashioned from a walking stick and a barbecue tool set.

She touches his cheek, and then lurches out past the baggage, as one of the boys grasps for her hand. “Mom, no! Be careful!”

Ducking fast, and staying close to the soot-stained wall, she eyes the infinite gates stretching past the roaring Sbarro fire. Nobody in sight. Far off, the sound of screaming, or maybe laughter. Behind her, towards the dead end terminal they came from, most of the lights have been broken. But no motion in the shadows there, either. Just bodies, quietly lying. She shudders, and looks at the body.

Grimacing, she kicks at the belt. Nothing. Empty holster, of course. But she grabs the heavy flashlight and sticks it in her waistband. “Stupid of them to leave that,” she mutters. “Radio must be on his chest.” Before rolling him over, she looks both directions again. Nothing moving.

As she pulls the body over, a sudden radio squawk makes her push it away with a sickening thunk. But that sound means the radio is still working. She grabs it, squeezes and yells, “Help us!”

Static fills the air. And then a voice cuts through. “Excuse me ma’am, this is a police channel.”

“I know. The, umm… the officer is dead. It’s total chaos here. Let me get back to, uhh, to cover. Call you back.” She flips the radio back off and hustles back to the wall, cradling it.

Her husband steps out and watches for movement as she ducks back behind their little fort. “What’s going on?” she asks into the radio, as he squeezes her hand and pinches his lips together.

“Sorry,” the voice on the other end crackles. “I don’t want to get your hopes up, but… I can’t help you. I’m locked in a radio room.”

“What’s going on out there? Is it like this… everywhere?”

“Pretty much. Some kind of high-tech nanotech mumbo-jumbo destroyed all the guns. Now there’s no guns anywhere, no way to protect ourselves, so we just gave up. There’s a few good police still trying to work how they can, but…”

“But what?”

“The federal government sent in marines armed with bows and arrows. They’re taking over all the states one by one like this. First, they get the guns. Then, they take over in the inevitable chaos.”

One of the kids yanks on her sleeve. “Mommy, why did God take away all the guns?”

She looks down, wiping a tear from her eye. “God didn’t take the guns, sweetie. THE MAN took all the guns.”

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Dan

Problematic

Trigger warning: bad metaphorical superhero discussion of unwanted advances, sexual assault, and the friggin’ patriarchy. Also swearing.

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Dan

Mike Pence

Mike Pence grimaced as he angrily shook off his suit coat, thundering down the grim cement tunnel with his security detail. “I thought the FBI had this under control,” he snarled at the meek-looking bespectacled man next to him.

“Yes, and they sure seemed certain the drop was tomorrow. But we now have reason to believe the eagle has landed early.” The mouse-like fellow shifted Pence’s coat from hand to hand, nervously, as Pence strode ahead of him down the long hallway. “That’s why we had to… pull you out.”

“Well then. That’s a fine relaxing football game, ruined.” Pence fumed as they stormed out of the tunnel towards a waiting helicopter. As its blades began to slice the air, he yelled, “Do we know why they chose Indy yet?” He slid on a pair of sunglasses, staring off into the distance, trying to divine why they would have moved early.

“No. That’s for you to discover, sir. We’ll tweet that you left because of the kneeling players, for cover.”

“Good. Good. Tell Mother I’ll be home late tonight, Kenneth.”

The aide coughed, nodding. “Yes sir. Of course, sir.” He passed a metal briefcase from one of the security men up into the helicopter. “You’ll be needing these.”

Pence said nothing, setting the case on his lap, and saluted to the Secret Service as the copter began to lift off. He quickly took the shoulder holsters out and strapped them on, then grabbed the headset. “How much time do we have, captain?”

“ETA is just under 5 minutes, sir. We’re rolling in hot.”

Checking the assault rifle stacked next to him, Pence continued to clip on the gear he would need. As the helicopter flew over the White River, he stoically took a breath and snapped open the metal case with his lucky guns.

Two chrome pistols lay in the foam, calling his name. It was just another day to do the right thing, he thought. When he picked them up, they glinted in the sun as it peeked through the clouds the copter ripped through. On the handle of one was an intricate scrollworked GOD, and on the other, COUNTRY.

The sun choosing to shine just now is a sign from God, he thought. Praise Jesus! He cradled the stocks in his hands, feeling their truth. “I’ve got some fake news for you, terrorists,” he whispered, as he jammed fresh clips into them. “Michael Richard Pence is done messing around. America is coming for you bastards.”

The helicopter began to descend on a rooftop. The pilot’s voice came through his earpiece. “The Planned Parenthood is on this block, four buildings north. See the green spire? That’s the one.”

Mike Pence said a quick prayer as he slid his pistols in place and checked his ammo. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land…” And then he was out on the rooftop, running to stop another baby-killing stem cell research terror plot before it claimed more potential lives.

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Dan

World Grudge Holding Championships

Annnnd welcome back, folks, to ESPN3 for this years final event of the GHL. I’m Steve Inlezzen. With me is Bob McHestle. We’re happy to bring you the exciting action of this years playoff event. These competitors have clinched their path to these championships, and, well now, Bob… it’s time to see if they have what it takes.

That’s right, Steve. It’s finally time. The stage has been set. Let’s introduce our competitorrrrrs, in the… World Grudge Holding Championships!

Two giant CGI robots grimace at each other with glowing red laser eyes while bombastic theme music plays, and then they stand back to back with their arms crossed as the camera flies between their stoic spines towards a branching graphic.

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Dan

Chicken Delicious

Gary looked up from his phone when the woman shouted at him from down the block. It sounded like she said “Come help,” so he stopped texting and trotted up towards her. What was she holding? A twitchy little dog? Had it been hurt? He shoved his phone into his pocket past the chain, and almost tripped on a crack in the sidewalk when he saw what the white animal was.

It was a chicken. A rooster, in fact, if his city-born eyes did not deceive him. Gary was slightly out of breath, and a little confused, so he came up to the woman and stopped, panting with his hands on his knees for a while.

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