Buster’s Business

30-Day Flash Challenge, Day 23

Photo by Hassan OUAJBIR on UNSPLASH.

At first, I had thought gravity stopped working.

Slowly the details of what had happened come into focus. I was driving, and then my truck became airborne; I remember screams, pumping the brakes, then landing with a crash, and then? I must have blacked out. When I came to, I was surprised to find myself lying on an overpass. My work truck sat a few yards away. My vehicle and I were defying gravity as we clung to the underside of the overpass.

Well, maybe the earth stopped spinning? That was my second explanation for why I saw hundreds of cars falling into the sky. But, the centripetal force from the earth’s spinning acts as a counter to gravity. If our planet stopped spinning, we would all feel a lot heavier, not fly into the sky.

Don’t let the name fool you. I’m no idiot. “Buster” was a nickname I had in grade school. I chose it when I opened my business. In this part of the country, “Buster” gets way more business calls than “Theodore.”

I stand up gingerly. I nearly vomit with the wrongness of all the images my eyes are feeding my brain. I pick up a small rock, throw it towards the road surface overhead. The rock sails towards the road but then makes a slow, gentle parabolic arc and plummets into the sky. Fuck, fuck, fuck.

The sky darkens. Oh, what fresh hell does mother nature have to add to this day?

I walk to the edge of the concrete bridge, fighting down vertigo. I see it isn’t clouds darkening the sky, but an enormous field of metal, just a few yards above/below the overpass. I watch in awe as it slowly slides past me. I nimbly step back to the other edge of the bridge; the thing seems to extend to the horizon.

A spaceship? One big-ass ship. That answers the gravity question I reason. The enormous silver ship below/above me is so massive that its gravitational pull is more powerful than earth’s.


The sky is almost dark now; the streetlights have turned on.

The gigantic ship slowly floats by. A hundred yards ahead, I see a dome of glass jutting out from the vast expanse of metal. An observation port? An entrance? The hull is littered with cars, trucks, busses, and motorcycles in a line stretching diagonally away from me. I can hear frightened screams from the wounded and dying people who probably thought the rapture was happening.

My gaze floats to my truck. On the passenger side door, as any good contractor does, I have the requisite magnetic sign.

“BUSTER’S Contractors, LLC, Our Business is always Booming!” the yellow sign read in a bold black font.

The slogan was my ex-wife’s idea. She split because I asked her to. I couldn’t bear for her to see me melting away from cancer. Damn, I loved her.

“Booming,” she had said years before a shadow on an X-ray ended our dreams.

This ship is an imminent threat to us. How many people have died or are dying on the hull of it?

Inspiration strikes, and I spring into action. What do I have to lose? Answer nothing.

I stick my head into the backseat. I’m lucky these boxes weren’t damaged during the landing. Peek out the windshield; the dome is closer. I pick up the supplies of my trade; my fingers are a blur, assembling a welcome gift for our extraterrestrial guests. I secure it in the passenger seat with the seat belt.

I cross my fingers that the truck will start. I close my eyes turn the key. It fires up. Whew. “Almost home now, darling,” I whisper to Carol’s picture. “Take care of yourself, baby; I’ll see you on the other side.”

“If there is another side,” I hear my agnostic ex answer in my head.


I slam the truck into gear and smash the accelerator to the floor. When I clear the underside of the bridge, the gravity of the ship pulls me and my truck to it.

I land with a clang. Quickly I’m doing 40 miles an hour across the sleek, mirror-finish hull.

“Hush, now, nothing to fear from little old me. I’m just a harmless mosquito,” I whisper while trying to keep my thinking from giving me away.

I don’t head directly toward the dome. Who knows what kind of sophisticated defenses this thing has.

“I’m just a fly, crawling across a big beautiful, shiny miracle. Don’t pay any attention to me.”

NOW!

I yank the wheel hard left, making a sharp turn, and there, I see, an opening. A gentle ramp rises to meet the glass dome.

My truck is airborne for the third time today. I wonder how bad all of this jumping is going to be on my suspension. That makes me laugh.

I pray that the glass breaks under the weight of my truck. I need to be further inside this thing.

God must be listening; the glass breaks. I see tall green aliens scatter away from my trajectory. Sadly, not all of them make it to safety. My windshield is splattered with green guts and body parts.

My truck stops. I had set a timer, but this looks like as fine a place as any.

“Goodbye, Carol. Thanks for 12 wonderful years, baby.”

The reason business was always booming at Buster’s, is because I’m a demolitions expert. I make explosions for a living. I’m hoping today’s is a memorable one.

I reach to the passenger seat, flip the red safety cover aside, and press the button.

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