I stare in horror at the smirking face of Albert Grindstaff, the purveyor of death and horror, not the sanitized version of television screens, but the real genocides, the killing of entire families, smirked at me, scarlet blood blossoming over his heart from the bullet I just shot into his chest.
There is a dead quality to his eyes as if the soul had long departed and left this zombie-man in his stead, a monster to do the bidding of the dark force. All he cared for were his luxuries and the dirty money that floated in electronic nothingness. And all he wanted, was to tear down governments and make sure that they would never rise again. His terrorist organization had been responsible for dozens of countries’ downfalls, and he was trying to add another to his belt. But take away that loot, take away the gun, and all that’s left is something so pathetic, something that gave up his heart long ago, that sold his soul for extra champagne and a private jet. He was psychopathic through and through, with all the charm they use to manipulate and threaten all at once.
His words ring in my ears. Thirty seconds before this bomb brings you down to hell with me. I turn and run. Not away, I’m not a coward. Besides, I wouldn’t get very far before the plutonium bomb nestled in the tent of the world’s most dangerous terrorist and anarchist blows up, taking most of the Pakistan-occupied state of Jammu and Kashmir with it.
No, instead I run toward his tent. As the CIA’s best bomb defuser, I may be the only one qualified to prevent the mass levels of death and destruction such a bomb can create. I yank away the cloth covering from the bomb and gasp when I realize I only have ten precious seconds left.
I pull off the metal plating that encases the bomb’s inner wires. Inside are a mess of different colored wires, each corresponding to a different part of the bomb. If I cut the wrong wire, it’ll either blow up in my face right away or quicken the time, which are not good options, because then the chances of me saving millions of lives, mine included is close to impossible.
I know from hours of training with dummy bombs under constant timers and pressure, that the wires that correspond with shutting the bomb down are located closest to the circuit board. That means that a lot of these wires are wired to different parts of the bomb, each deadlier than the other. I pull out my pocket knife and sift through the tangles.
Albert had designed this bomb, and in a trademark move of his, he distracts any future disarming attempters by placing multiple wires that if cut, detonate the bomb straight away. Several of my colleagues had died in vain trying to stop Albert’s reign of terror, and I wasn’t going to help him add another victory to his achievements. I dig deeper within the mess of wires, my fingertips finally brushing the circuit board.
I know I can’t cut any of the excess wires away, so I pull them carefully out of the way from my pocket knife. I click the light button and examine the circuit board. The circuitry is a small square, with dozens and dozens of different compounds connected to the inner machinery of the bomb.
Circled around the board are two wires. Red and green. I sigh, knowing that this is the hardest part of disarming a bomb: picking which of the wires to cut. It’s a very hard decision, and most often than not, bomb disarmers get the wrong one. That’s why bomb disarmament is one of the hardest jobs in the world, harder even than rocket science, because it’s more often than not, a game of chance.
In bomb class, it was always a 50-50 chance on whether or not I would get the correct one, and more often than not, I would get the wrong one. Only, within the training facility, I’d get a puff of smoke in the face and a monotone voice telling me that I’d failed. If I failed here, it would be catastrophic. The fate of millions of people rests on my shoulders, and I would try my damndest to save their lives.
I study my two options. The green wire was the longer one, which meant it carried more weight. But the red wire was also the shorter one, which meant that it could also be the right one. True, the red did seem the easier option, but I had a tingling feeling in my gut. I’d learned the hard way to trust that tingle, as it had gotten me out of tight spots before.
I yanked the red wire free from the green one and studied it. It was a thicker material which meant that the wiring had to be more important. Either this was the one, or I was going to be walking in the clouds in the next few seconds. My heart was thudding faster and faster. I pulled out the green one and looked at each wire in turn.
I gasped. It wasn’t the red one after all. I remembered one of the first days of Bomb Disarming 101, where they made sure to emphasize that the longer one meant that there was more important information to be sent along to the circuit board. I shove the red wire away and pull up the green one.
With surgeon steady hands, I snip the green wire carefully, and with barely half a second to spare, the bomb is disarmed. I shudder in relief and sit back on my heels-
“CUT!” I look up to see Antoine Bret, the director of the movie, Bombs Away, striding toward me. I get to my feet, and my makeup team flock toward me, clearing away the fake sweat dripping down my face and freshening up the cuts and bruises makeup so wonderfully fakes. “You’ve just disarmed the biggest bomb there is, and you can’t just sigh in joy, Elise!! I need more emotion, more relief. The audience needs to feel what you’re feeling. Set it up again!” I nod as he strides away and sits back in his director chair, and walk back over to where my co-star who plays Albert is being freshened up as well. I position myself properly again and hear the ‘Take two’ being yelled before sinking back into my role.
I stare in horror at the smirking face of Albert Grindstaff…