Author : Grady Hendrix
The woman on the bus was beautiful. That was true of most suicide bombers – they had a glow about them like an expectant mother or a rich man. The bus turned up the hill and she tried not to let her elbows bump into the explosives strapped to her ribs.
When sheâ€™d been gang raped by her kitchen appliances it was the dishwasher that made the first move, pinning her against the counter while the Cuisinart and the blender immobilized her arms with their power cords. The microwave pulled her down to the floor and then they all piled on. She blacked out a few times but it wasnâ€™t a tasteful fade-out like in the movies; time was chopped up and spliced back together. She blinked at seven oâ€™clock, and then it was seven thirty and the appliances were dragging her across the floor like a rag doll, then she blinked again and they were all back in their places like nothing had ever happened.
The police poked around the bushes behind her house, even after she told them that the perpetrators were all back on their shelves and in their cupboards. The ER was a mixed blessing: her insides were burnt and lacerated and her arms were a contused mess, but they all thought she was crazy. That is, until the defibrillator lurched off its trolley, grabbed her with one of its paddles and used the other to drop the registered nurse. They both screamed, except the registered nurseâ€™s scream was more like a moan because she was seizing. Two cops and a resident burst in to witness the defib tearing at Catherineâ€™s blouse. She managed to throw it against the wall but it flipped itself over and started to drag itself after her by its paddles. The cop shot it until it was smoking plastic shards but still they refused to believe her.
She moved into a motel. The TV went out in the hall. The telephone went in the tub. She was reconciling herself to moving off the grid someplace, maybe Idaho, when she saw the managerâ€™s children playing Xbox one night through their window, and she saw the way the controllers always managed to burrow their way, slyly and invasively, into the childrensâ€™ laps.
The bus pulled over. Nobody would ever understand why she was doing this, but someone had to stop them. And so she stood up and walked out onto the street and found that the Maytag factory was abandoned. A single security hut was at the gate.
â€œWhat happened?â€ she asked.
â€œOh, honey,â€ the security guard said. â€œThey all moved to China.â€
â€œBut the appliances â€“ â€œ
â€œMade in Taiwan. Made in India. We just importers now. Itâ€™s enough to make me cry, too. You need a cigarette?â€
The vest was manual, just a fuse that needed to be lit. And why not? She couldnâ€™t stop this invasion by foreign â€“ by alien â€“ appliances. But she could make sure they wouldnâ€™t ever have her body again.