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Blown to Smithereens (standard:humor, 1962 words)
Author: stevetAdded: Feb 15 2001Views/Reads: 3628/2043Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
An old man watches through his living room window as a teenage boy blows up his mailbox.


a short story of approx. 2000 words 

When the school bus disgorged its load and the tumult of kids straggled
up the street past the Kohn house, Abe Kohn was in his usual place at 
the living room window. To Abe, the energy set loose by that gaggle of 
taunting, chasing, laughing kids seemed to surge through the air and 
into him-it was like having his pacemaker battery charged. He tried not 
to miss a single day. 

Shortly after the others passed, the one Abe had tagged 'the lanky boy'
came along. Each day for two weeks Abe had watched the boy separate 
himself from the others, hang back and pass the house alone. He had 
scruffy blond hair over his forehead and eyes, and the gangly-legged 
gait of a yearling colt-with just as much promise of future grace. But 
the boy's woebegone look disturbed Abe, made bittersweet his enjoyment 
of the other kids. 

This time, instead of passing, the lanky boy stopped at Abe's mailbox.
Surprised, Abe watched him open the front flap and glance up at the 
house. So, Abe thought, a little prank is in the offing. He preferred 
that to seeing a kid so glum. 

Since Abe's short, stocky figure was clearly visible in the window, he
expected to see surprise and guilt on the boy's face, then to see him 
run away. No such thing happened. Instead the lanky boy's face was 
impassive as he casually brushed the hair from his eyes, then removed 
from a ragged book bag an immense explosive charge. 

Seven or eight Fourth-of-July cherry bombs were bound together with
white medical tape, and the fuses were wound into one fat wick. A match 
flared in the boy's hand. His face was still expressionless as he 
looked up at the window before lighting the fuse. He placed the 
sputtering bomb in the mailbox, snugly closed the front flap, then 
sauntered away. 

"Why, the brazen little...." Abe muttered, hardly able to stop himself
from running after the boy. That was his first instinct, but he 
realized he wasn't fast enough to catch him. Besides.... 

"You said something, Abie dear?" his wife called from the kitchen. 

...eventually Emma would ask if he had seen the bomber, and Abe thought
that in this case he would prefer to lie. "Nothing, Em," he called 
back, "just mumbling to my-" 


The blockbuster went off and a shock wave rattled Abe's window. The
box's front flap and rear wall tore out in opposite directions and the 
roof blew straight up, taking with it the glow-in-the-dark numbers and 
letters-160 ELM KOHN. 

Abe waited until the lanky boy was out of sight before going out to
survey the damage. What a mess. He sucked air through his teeth, shook 
his head and scratched the shiny, bald island at its top. The mailbox 
was beyond repair; nearly so was his life-long conviction that there 
was no such thing as a bad boy. Discussions on that subject between Abe 
and his friends had often turned into arguments, which he usually lost. 
But he had never conceded defeat and wasn't about to do so now. He 
resolved to confront the boy the next day. 

* * * 

Abe beckoned to the lanky boy with his index finger, more than half
expecting him to flee. But there was no fear or curiosity on the boy's 
freckled face, only a gaping, eye-bulging pretense of innocence. Abe 
waved him over. The boy shrugged, altered course and approached with a 
flapping of large hands and feet. From the living room window he hadn't 
looked particularly tall, but the boy actually towered over Abe. He 
wore no socks, and the cuffs of his faded jeans were inches shy of his 
ankle bones. Abe sympathized with the boy's mother: obviously his 
latest growth spurt had taken the poor woman by surprise. 

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