Atompunk Wife


Author : Jonathan Pigno

There were weapons stashed in the Frigidaire. Alien toys. Things Elaine kept nestled under her dress for safekeeping when company arrived.

But her house-guests didn’t know it.

They remained unsuspecting and silent as she leaned in to reach for the cola bottles.

“So tell me again why you’ve come to Boise, gentleman?”

The suits looked up from their plates and stared at the middle-aged housewife. She was as inconspicuous as any Midwestern beauty queen – chestnut hair curled ever so gently over the base her shoulders, sparkling green eyes that matched the lawn outside.

Her polka dot dress looked like something off the newsstands. A perfect cover for Wink magazine. Things that drove the jukebox crowd wild.

Inside the oven, a pie was cooking. The strangers wondered if the recipe was secret, something only she had knowledge of and concealed ever so well.

But that was exactly what they had come looking for.

They gazed at the woman once more. Something told them she was an atom bomb. A nuclear explosion waiting to blow. But the fallout wasn’t caustic. It was historic.

The mystery men shook it off.

She smiled, placing the beverages onto the linoleum tabletop. She pulled out a seat and reclined next to them.

Both visitors looked at one another.

“We came to talk about your husband, miss. There has been investigations lately by the local law enforcement concerning the lights that were seen over this community. Our division has given us clearance to search the house for government property.”

She uncrossed her legs and straightened herself in the chair.

“My husband is a senior ranking official in the United States military, gentleman. His business is most certainly not mine…”

She pushed her bra up, narrowing her eyes and pursing her mouth. The red lipstick glistened. Her male guests soaked in the sight of her cleavage. The woman breathed in.

Underneath the table, Elaine heard a click.

“You fella’s are looking for the hard way, now am I correct?”

She clenched the holster tucked inside her black garter. She could feel the nose of the weapon against the darkened nylon stretched over her thighs.

The trio traded stares. That’s when the oven timer went off.

Elaine drew her gun and fired. It was a liberating bliss, a revolutionary kind of spark. She saw it in the smoking crater where her former guests smoldered.

Things were changing in Boise.

The housewife stood up and brushed soot off her clothing. Walking over to the window, she lit a cigarette and smiled into the dusk. She wanted to disprove it all, the misconceptions of who she was.

“I’m packing heat like Friedan’s publishing books.”

Elaine heard the screen door out back.

“Since when you get home?”

Her husband trotted over, still in uniform, and kissed the side of her face.

“I took the spaceship for a spin. Ran some tests at the hangar.”

Distracted, he turned to the pile of ash where his breakfast nook used to sit.

“They said the commies might show up.”

He paused.

Elaine was always different. The killing wasn’t the problem. She’d become a new woman. Right around the time he’d trusted her with weapons even he didn’t comprehend.

“So…how those ray guns work out?”

A distinct cocktail of fear and envy brewed in the room. The couple lingered in stillness.

She knew what needed to be said.

Some moments couldn’t be understood knowingly. They had to be explained.

Elaine opened the oven door and stared at the finished pie.

“Well. Let’s just say…you fucking men will never understand. Not for a long time.”


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