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Gone Fission

by Stephen Lautens

June 5, 1998

I'm tired of feeling left out. I want my own A-bomb.

Everyone else seems to have one. All the crazy former Soviet states have them. France feels obliged to blow a defenseless South Seas island to smithereens every couple of years just for the heck of it.

And now India and Pakistan feel no one will take them seriously unless they set off more A-bombs than you can shake a stick at.

Not that it's a good idea to shake a stick at anyone with an A-bomb.

So I've decided that I've got to have one too if anyone is ever going to take me seriously.

After all, it must be awfully important to have nuclear weapons. Why else would places with no clean water, massive illiteracy and crushing poverty spend billions of dollars to build them?

It must be more important than controlling outbreaks of the plague, which still flares up in India from time to time. There are few places on earth where your mother can send a note to the teacher that says: "Excuse Jimmy's absence from school last week. He had the plague."

So you spend a billion dollars making an atom bomb. You wheel it out into the desert - or at least the suburbs - where no one will get hurt. Then you set it off just to see if it works.

If it does work, you don't have it any more. If it doesn't work, you've thrown away your billion dollars that might have been otherwise wasted on food or medicine.

I'm sure I'll be told I'm missing the big picture. India and Pakistan are letting off nukes like kids on Victoria Day for a very good reason.

They claim it will make the other respect them more as neighbours.

And that's exactly why I need one. I don't get enough respect from my neighbours.

They don't bundle their newspapers properly and I always find them blowing around my backyard and stuck in the rosebushes.

Sometimes I'll come home and find they've parked their car in front of my driveway.

Even their cat doesn't respect me. It's had more dates than Marilyn Chambers and conducts them in my garden shed.

If an atomic test gets you respect, then that's what I need.

So I went down to the library and got Martha Stewart's guide to household projects and looked up thermonuclear devices in the index.

I never knew you could make an A-bomb out of a toilet paper tube, cranberries, and just two pounds of weapons grade plutonium.

Plus it makes a festive centerpiece for the holidays.

The only hard part was scraping all the glow in the dark stuff off the faces of about a thousand Timex watches.

So I'm dropping the big one to show my neighbours they'd better stop messing with me. A few bald cats and mutant vegetable gardens ought to get the message across.

My first backyard test detonation is scheduled for the end of next week.

Just a word of warning. If you come by and see a "Gone Fission" sign on the front door, cover your ears.

Like India and Pakistan, I'll be out back teaching the neighbours the meaning of the word respect.


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