12 November 2020: red nucleus

this is an awful little short story that just fell out of me. I sort of regret writing it at all.

It was a good day to be a white man in America. To be fair, almost every day was, but today was especially good. His fawn hair blowing in the updrafts from the new-cut cliffs, David stood looking over the endless glittering Pacific at the head of a bowl shaped cut on the coastline, like God Himself had taken a bite out of it. In a sense, he had, David thought. Surely the forces unleashed at the heart of the atom had something of God’s holy fire in them. Seabirds wheeled above and below his line of sight, searching for the shoals of fish that had begun to return to the shoreline.

“Christenson! Get your head out of your ass and get back over here!” His boss, Schmidt called. Shaking his head to clear the reverie, he filled his lungs with the salt air and trod back over towards the checkpoint. Bridging the winding HWY1.1, office trailers and open cages surrounded the reinforced gantries of the checkpoint on either side. A few captures languished in the boxes, waiting to be processed.

David approached Schmidt, who was giving the neon-haired captive at his feet a disinterested run through of the standard interrogation. He must have been in a good mood. Normally a head of blue hair was damning enough on its own and didn’t merit questioning. David caught his superior’s eye as he came up. Schmidt rolled his eyes and made a thumb jerking motion over his shoulder, then turned to address the kneeling prisoner.

“What is your gender”

“Um, I actually identify as an agender pan-romantic?”

Schmidt made a terse note on his clipboard.

“Define, in your own words, the term Intersectionality.”

“Uh, the uh, like idea that multiple systems of oppression exist and can be-“

They were cut off as David and Schmidt grabbed them under the armpits and dragged them, feet trailing and failing to get purchase on the gravel of the checkpoint towards the gap in the jersey barriers that lined the cliffside. The self-identified lib struggled weakly against them, but a decade of Soylent and Twitter (now both purged by executive edict) hadn’t prepared them well for anything resembling physical struggle. Ignoring the normal babbling, pleading, and crying, David and Schmidt yanked the pinko to their white-sneaker clad feet, and before they had time to regain their balance, gave a shove at the middle of the back, sending them over the edge.

David looked down the face, hearing the screams fade and Doppler shift. The cliff was only vertical for a few hundred feet, and then began to asymptotically slope to a scree field, dotted here and there with house-sized boulders that had become dislodged after the initial explosion. He could still just see the commie falling, but it was hard to keep track. His favorite part was coming up. Dimly, just over the seabirds raucous noise, he heard the wet thump of impact, like a bag of mashed potatoes hitting the floor. Scavenger birds began surfing down the thermals towards the new body, which formed a red nucleus in a long white comet of sun-bleached bones stretching down towards the waterline.