Atomic Effects

by Gina Rodriguez

    It is a normal day. A azure sky hangs over a picturesque little town. The sun shines. In a neighborhood, old Mr.Edwards relaxes on his white porch. Mrs. Edwards comes shuffling out of her door with a tray of ice tea. She sets it down and sits next to her husband. "Remember Martha, how we met? At that dance?"

    The old woman nods. "You were a rebel back then Charlie."

    "You married me because you liked to make your parents angry." The old man chuckles. He takes his wife's hand.

    Mrs. Edwards laughs. "I made an honest man out of you, didn't I?"

    "You sure did, Martha." He smiles at her.

    Across the street, in a modest little home are the Rodrics. Ingrid is in her nursery. She is stenciling her baby's name on the wall. Josh is trying to build the crib. Boxes, paint cans, half-assembled funiture, and gifts are scattered all over the room. She looks over at her husband and smiles at his attempts. Looking around, she finds the instructions, grabs them and walks to Josh. "Here. Read this."

    "I don't need it, Ingrid." Josh puts down his screwdriver and expects his wife to go back to painting.

    "Here. Read it. They'll help." She insists.

    Josh sighs and takes the instructions. He glances at them. "I can't read Japanese." He states.

    Ingrid blinks before laughing. Josh joins in soon after. It is a normal day.

    A few streets over from the Rodrics and Edwards, a group of children play in the park. A little girl plays with her jump rope. Two boys toss a ball back and forth. Six girls play ring around the rosie. One boy rides a bike. Two girls play with teddy bears and dolls. Three boys race each other. Their laughter sweet and innocent. It is a normal day.

    In this same park, Roselyn Davis is attempting to pick her things up. She apologizes repeatedly for not watching where she is going. The guy she ran into helps her while expressing his fault in the run in. Their hands reach for the same book. They touch for a moment. She looks at him, quite flustered. He smiles as he stands with the book and helps her up. She notices the strange warmth again. He hands her the book and asks her out for coffee. Roselyn is surprised, her cheeks flush with color. But she doesn't refuse. It is a normal day.

    On a different porch, a few blocks away from the park, sits Vianne on her porch swing. Sharing the swing is her boyfriend Giovanni. They sit, talking and laughing about mundane things. Things only important to people their age. He suddenly wraps his arms around her and leans in, pressing his lips to hers. Their first kiss. Vianne is shocked but soon returns the kiss, overjoyed. It is a normal day.

    In another modest little house, Ron holds a video camera as his wife encourages their son to walk to her. She has her arms outstretched as her son stands up shakily and makes his stumbling way toward his loving mother. Sara catches him as he collaspes, laughing as she did so. She looks into the camera. "Our baby's first steps!" She grins. It is a normal day.

    Downtown, men and women rush to work. Mothers bring children along to do shopping or to go to a doctor's appointment. Shops are opening. People are enjoying their meals in various resturants. Everyone greets others upon passing in the street. It is a normal day.

Above this picturesque little town, in that azure sky, flies a black military plane. Having found its target, its cargo bay doors open. Death falls. It isn't a normal day.

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