Thursday, March 26, 2009



It's after War III. The US government has been re-established but there were heavy causalities; the costs to rebuild the country was beyond anything anyone could have imagined. We got it wrong telling the American people that our enemies had brown faces and funny sounding names and that they weren't anything like us. What a crock of shyte that was. Turns out the number one threat to national security is homegrown terrorism, organic domestic fanaticism. Yep, the iceburg variety in your own backyard.

Our greatest enemy are the off-spring McVeigh would have had. They sprung up like dandelions after the war. They're pissed and they're exacting their revenge big-time. Their weapon of choice, clappers, suicide bombers (hey some things don't change). A clapper usually looks like one of those kids who used to model for Banana Republic ads: blond, tanned and ridiculously thin. So much for profiling.

These days, the trappings are gone. There are no complicated schemes, no layer upon layer of strategic planning, no acquiring materials to manufacture a bomb, no orchestrating elaborate ruses to get pass security measures. And gear? That's a joke. Put on a funky, retro tee-shirt, jeans and sneakers and you're good. No bomb, no backpack. Their body is the reactive, a walking bomb with liquid nitrogen cursing through their veins, the result of six weeks worth of doses of a tasteless, odorless explosive drunk from a Dixie cup, four times a day. For six weeks, wear an extra pair of socks and don't get slapped on the back.

With directions to a designated public location, a clapper shows up for his big revival. All it takes is some old fashion, earnest church clapping and- boom! You're an instant martyr (like I said, some things don't change).

If you'd like to know the inspiration for this piece, check out Neal Shusterman's, Unwind. Clappers are his invention.

Every week at 3ww, Thom gives us three words to use. Here's putting all my YA reading to use. To read more selections go here, 3ww.


ThomG said...

Deep and dark. I liked the pacing of this. The wicked idea, too.

susan said...

And you do realize, your influence, my muse, my dark love? :-)

anthonynorth said...

A chilling and fascinating piece.

bunnygirl said...

Very cool, and an interesting take on the post-apocalyptic scenario. Spec fiction was my first genre and I'll probably go back because it's so rich with possibilities for social commentary.

susan said...

Thanks Anthony. Bunnygirl, I got hooked on speculative fiction reading Octavia E. Butler and when I began reading her, I discovered I enjoyed dystopia fiction.

Doret said...

Nice teaser into Unwind. It's a great book

susan said...

Hi Doret, the book was recommended to me and I loved it.

GirlGriot said...

I love this. I'll definitely be checking out Unwind. Octavia Butler blows me away. I read her books over and over. I never thought I liked speculative fiction or vampire stories or anything like that until someone was smart enough to give me a copy of Fledgling a couple of years ago.

Angel said...

Nicely done.

SweetTalkingGuy.. said...

Wow! I'll have to keep my eyes skinned now, for the enemy within!

Well narrated!

Claudia said...

You really pulled me in with this! And I have another book to add to my list.

gautami tripathy said...

It sucked me in. Great piece of write!

A Climb Through Altered Landscapes

Sepiru Chris said...

Hi Susan,

I liked the idea, still not sure what a church clapping is though... which is a problem for me.

I guess I have to get me some of that old-time religion.

Does someone else clap their back to dispel the evil inside or do they just clap their hands to summon up their own personal rapture? This must be a cultural lacunae on my part, and it matters to me because I am trying to see the mechanism, especially when that is half of the story, literally.

(I am trying to be really constructive, here. There is less of a bang here, for me, because the piece is about the technique, but the last technique is lost on me. So with the hand holding you give, you need to give about three to five words more... for me, at least...)


susan said...

Chris, you can always be candid and honest here. In fact, I prefer it. Check out a review of the book for a a little back story and as far as the clapping goes, I suppose the church thing is cultural. In the book, a bomber gives one good clap and it's over.

The slap on the back is snarky commentary about not exploding before the designated time.

Thanks for coming by.