by matt ronquillo
Bright orange to blood red every few seconds, your eyes reflect the sky changing colors. Wooden planks make up the long pier-deck that sticks out into the ocean. It creaks under your feet.
“Weird sky” you say.
“Shut the fuck up and help me, man!”
You turn around and look at Luke. He is at the far left edge of the pier, crouched down next to a box of bottle rockets. He is frantic.
“What are you doing?”
“I goddamn told you! We have to blow up those three shacks so we can clear a way from the docks to the ocean. We have to get off this island now!”
You saunter over to the edge, look down and see the shacks in the water that block the way of the docks where the sailboat is.
“Bad place to put shacks.”
“I know,” he says, bottling one of the rockets and aiming it in the direction of the shacks.
“Why are they even there?”
“Because that’s how it fucking is here. There’s only one goddamn law and it’s Murphy’s.
He lights the fuse with a match and scrambles back.
“I think I put enough explosives in each shack to clear the way.”
“Ooh this is exciting,” you say.
The wick sizzles up and the rocket shoots through the middle shack’s window. It explodes. Luke flattens himself onto the pier-deck and covers his head with his hands as flaming pieces of wood zip by in the air. Still standing, you casually catch one of the flaming planks with your right hand. You look at it closely and then turn to Luke.
“Hey, I’m Torch Man,” you say, adopting a deep voice and grinning.
He rolls over and fumbles around in the box for more rockets. He grabs two and hands you one.
“Shutup. These are the last two. We gotta launch em both now if we’re gonna make it outta here in time.”
“Why? What’s coming?”
“Murphy” he grunts, bottling his rocket and picking up his lighter. “Light that one already, but DO NOT shoot it directly into the water!”
“Oh, OK” you say and light the rocket in your left hand with the torch in your right.
“Not like that, you idiot!”
The wick fizzles and scorches your hand. You say, “Ouch!” and fling the rocket away. It soars gently over the water for a few moments. Then the wick burns through and the rocket shoots directly into the water. Things are quiet for a moment.
The water begins to whirlpool. Luke sticks his head over the edge of the pier and looks into it.
“Oh no,” he groans.
A blood-red tornado roars out of the whirlpool and spins up furiously into the air. Fire spreads from its base and consumes the ocean in a flash. You become sad, but the sadness has more to do with the way Luke puts his hands over his face then the way the flames lick up over the edges of the pier-deck.
I’m sorry, Luke.”
He sighs, “Doesn’t matter, buddy, as his face melts off.
“I did the best I could.”
“I know, but look where we are. If you were the type to try any less it only woulda been that much easier to fail.”