Chapter 1

Chapter 1, Bomb in a Bikini

An indistinct rumble penetrated my sleep. I was sure I hadn’t made an appointment with a rumble. With the effort of Atlas, I managed to open one eye. As no pain resulted, I decided to risk opening another. I saw what my half-functioning mind interpreted as a green dog, not a common sight thereabouts. In a few more seconds I understood the source of the rumble. It was a delightfully enamelled green and purple bomb, sporting a pink bikini. Why would a bomb wear a bikini? You’ll probably guess the bomb wasn’t designed for stealth. It had chewed its way through bricks, steel and wood to get to me. By the looks of the fragments of robot here and there, one or two security machines had succumbed to its charms. The bomb noticed that I was now aware of it. It retracted its wall-chewing teeth, shook off the dust of its exertions like a dog shaking off water, and prepared to deliver its message.

The bomb had a charming speaking voice and delivered its threats in the most civilised manner. It stood on two legs, barely fifty centimetres tall and addressed me through a small, tinny speaker. I knew it was a bomb, because it had ‘Bomb’ printed on its side, and a flashy countdown timer. It read 20:15: time left, I presumed.

“Good morning. Though I could explode and do a lot of damage, I’ve come by way of a warning.” I waited it for it to continue; interrupting a bomb while delivering a threat did not make for a comfortable life.

“Um… what warning are you delivering?”

“Just a warning, that’s all. Life is damn good for you, on your sixth lifetime, semi-famous and happy. It would be a pity if all this came to end, wouldn’t it?”

“Yes...I suppose it would.” The question was rhetorical, but I decided to answer anyway. I wanted the bomb to like me. Getting on the right side of a bomb can make life less painful,

“Good...I’m going to stop this countdown timer and simply explode in a completely injury free manner, so no need to get too anxious. But just before I do, I have a question.”

I could hear my heart thump, as the bomb paused; for dramatic effect, I suppose.

“Do you like my bikini? We bombs don’t have much fun, so I thought I’d jolly my short life up a bit.”

“It’s…um, very…sensual.” The statement would have been entirely accurate if I got excited about buckets in swimwear, which is what it looked like. I thought flattery was the best policy.

As adrenalin pumped me up towards full wakefulness, the bomb seemed to waver and shimmer, like the road in the desert. Within a second, the bomb dissolved into a mist that rapidly spread through the house. I was a little shocked by the bomb, which was the point I suppose, but the stench soon overwhelmed me. Think of a six-month-old corpse, add a touch of eau-de-sewerage, then garnish with the essence of milk-in-the-sun-for-a-week. This would be at the bottom of the slope that, at its pinnacle, could begin to approach the repulsiveness of the odour now permeating my home.