Tim Raymond

Josh and I found a bomb that never exploded half-buried in the trees beyond the river. It was heavy, but together we got it back. We told Dad about it, but Dad wasn't excited like we thought he'd be. He just got pissed and said we dummies never think things through. That might be true, but we didn't mean any harm. We thought that it was interesting because history. Dad is always saying that there was a better time in history. I guess Josh and I got confused about what he meant.
We put the bomb in the garage because Dad didn't want us to risk taking it back to the trees and getting seen. He said not to go back to the trees again. He asked how we got there, anyway, and we said that the river is so low these days and he grumbled about something. He said not to tell anyone anything about the bomb.
We're dummies like he said and we told some kids at school. We thought they'd be interested in the bomb, but they weren't. They were scared by it. They said we were idiots and some even said we were terrorists. We know that word and we know that we're not what it means. Still, some of the kids got scared and thought we existed to hurt them like the people on TV and that led to some conversations from the principal, who called Dad. Dad lied to him and everything calmed down, until we got home. Then Dad got real mad. Dad woke up our little sister Lily he was yelling so loud.
It's incredible how dumb we are, because when some kids at school started bullying us for lying, we told the truth and said we weren't lying. We talked about the bomb again, and then they got scared again and even started bullying Lily, who they thought was a terrorist, too. We couldn't accept that and one of the kids that pushed Lily down got punched by Josh first and me second. I knocked the boy's teeth out. That made the principal pretty mad and it also made Dad mad, but Dad at least understood that we were trying to protect Lily. He wasn't mad about that. He was mad because we were so dumb again and couldn't keep our mouths shut.
I didn't really get it, anyway, because Dad didn't take the bomb to the dump or anything. He kept it out in the garage all during that time. He even went out there and looked at it sometimes. That's what I believe. He said he was taking out the trash and looking for tools. But Josh also noticed that Dad was in the garage a long time.
The bomb looked kind of like a big, dusty piece of candy. Bombs are serious and we do know that.
Word eventually got around, and one day the police came to the house saying that, if there was a bomb in the garage, they'd probably need to take it away from us. Dad lied again, but the police saw through that pretty easily, and then pretty soon they were in the garage looking at the bomb and saying stuff like, my god, would you look at that. It was just on the concrete floor.
The police tried to drag it out, but they kept getting scared. They asked how we got it in and we said we just carried it. And the police looked at Dad like, what kind of dummies are you raising here?
They didn't know what to do, either, so they called some lawyers and scientists and even a guy from the church. No one knew what to do.
Dummies that we are, Josh and I said that maybe we could just explode it, since that was how bombs were got rid of. Everyone went crazy and said we were crazy, but we said, no, not here, let's explode it in the lake or something. That happens in movies sometimes. People put bombs in the water, so that nothing gets hurt when they explode.
So we did that. A lot of folks from town went up and stood on the hill above the lake. And one guy with a plane that was just sitting out on his farm agreed to put the bomb in the plane and fly over the water and toss the bomb in. That was the best idea we had, because we couldn't just roll the bomb down the hill to the water. Even a dummy like me knew that'd be a problem. We really didn't want anything to get hurt.
We were all standing on the hill watching as the plane flew past. One of the scientists had to go with the pilot to push the bomb out of the plane. We all watched it drop. When it was almost to the water, Josh nudged me, like he wanted to say something. Before he could, the bomb exploded. I think I know what he was going to say, because maybe I was thinking the same thing. I was thinking that there are a lot of fish in lakes, and fish are dumb, but probably they don't deserve to get exploded, like we don't, even if we're dumb. Maybe Josh and I had that idea first, but after the bomb exploded, I think most people got it. The water looked really bad and big and some of the trees around the lake fell over. Our ears hurt. It was another dumb idea, we know now, but what were we supposed to do? We thought we thought it through.
We didn't let ourselves get too down about it. We'd tried to be good. The bomb was gone and we all tried to get back to normal. Dad watched the TV with the volume real loud and told Lily to stop whenever she started crying and holding her head. Josh and I dug a hole in the backyard. A lot of people began hunting more since there was nothing left in the lake.

Tim Raymond has stories in or coming from SmokeLong, Glimmer Train, FRiGG, Joyland and others. He lives and teaches in South Korea.

Read his postcard.

Detail of photo on main page courtesy of Tim Dennell.

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