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 she’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 wasn’t a tasteful fade-out like in the movies; time was chopped up and spliced back together. She blinked at seven o’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 nurse’s scream was more like a moan because she was seizing. Two cops and a resident burst in to witness the defib tearing at Catherine’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 manager’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 childrens’ 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.

“What happened?” she asked.

“Oh, honey,” the security guard said. “They all moved to China.”

“But the appliances – “

“Made in Taiwan. Made in India. We just importers now. It’s enough to make me cry, too. You need a cigarette?”

The vest was manual, just a fuse that needed to be lit. And why not? She couldn’t stop this invasion by foreign – by alien – appliances. But she could make sure they wouldn’t ever have her body again.

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