VANCOUVER

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

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Because we have been waiting for you for a decade

It’s the [suicide] bomb

Nobody expects a piglet

The other day, while walking along shady Bute Street carrying a couple bags of groceries, there suddenly came a god-almighty-huge explosion a few yards above me. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a cloud of greasy black smoke, and something large and coal black dropped past my head and landed in some bushes.

Customers at the Bread Garden café/bar/not-bakery across the street spat out their muffins and afternoon martinis to scream better. Traffic on Robson Street froze. From a retirement complex with its very own built-in miniature police station spilled a seemingly endless stream of cops with guns half drawn. People everywhere shrieked and immediately advanced in gleeful terror. I looked down into the bushes. A smouldering crow lay there dead, its neck burst open. It had somehow chewed into an electric power line and suffered a massive jolt of self-inflicted lightening. I told my theory to the cop next to me.

“That would make sense,” he nodded almost disappointedly. “We just lost all power in our building…”

I turned to the excited mob and in my too-loud voice announced, “Move along folks, nothing to see here. Just an exploding crow…”
Well, you should have seen their darling faces drop.

When even birds are contributing to the Atmosphere of Fear (or, “Atmosfear”), then the Terrorists have truly won. Is it any wonder airports are now refusing passengers to carry bottled water, shampoo, books, and suspiciously jiggly, gushy babies onto planes? Anything could be a weapon. In the spirit of all those CNN and Fox Network special reports endeavouring to make this a less frightening world by giving the public detailed accounts of how we are all gonna die, here are several easily attainable bombs for readers to feel safer worrying about. Or make.

  1. Mentos candies mixed with diet soda pop create a chemical cascade releasing CO2 like an explosion. Eating five packets of mints and drinking two litres of pop will leave a sweet smelling corpse. Terrorists watching their weight take note: you can be a martyr and still leave a room fresh. In a similar, more destructive vein, pure sodium (Na), potassium (K), or lithium (Li) — available wherever you find salt, soap and, crazy people, respectively — are unstable minerals that react with oxygen, especially in the presence of water, by releasing flammable hydrogen as a wonderful burning mess. Find yourself a lump of, say, sodium, as big as your head and (while wearing gloves and goggles — safety first!) throw it into a lake. Excellent! Grab yourself another lump, pack a lake in your carry-on, and book your ticket!
  1. Soak your pants in ammonium nitrate (NH4 NO3) commonly known as fertiliser, and hydrazine (N2H4), attainable from textile companies that do a lot of dying. Wearing fuzzy woolly mittens, or carrying a balloon, board the plane. If airport security comment on the astounding smell you will be giving off, tell them you are a pig farmer and angrily dare them to make a funny about your lifestyle. Make the pants overalls and also carry a piglet to complete the illusion. Nobody suspects a piglet. Tell them you are taking “yer boy” on a trip to California to see SlopsWorld. Once you are seated rub the mittens together or the balloon against your head, creating a spark to explode your pants.
  1. Alternatively, before boarding swallow half a dozen condoms filled with nitroglycerin (Propane-1,2,3-triyl trinitrate, available anywhere you can buy barbecuing supplies and triyl trinitrate) and take a hoola hoop with you. “What?” you stand and cry when the in-flight movie starts. “Are We There Yet? starring Ice Cube? I protest!” and start making with the hoop.
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