The World Will Blow by Cate McGowan

An aggressive vine eats its way across the South. It devours parking lots, clawing through Florida all the way to the Lake Fairy Inn’s foundations. Tendrils weave along the motel’s rusted railings, its rotted jambs. Creepers crawl through cracks, coming inside, taking over Ben’s brain. / In these conditions, he gets angry, his plans can’t flourish: whistleblowers blow their whistles, ex-girlfriends call 24-hour tip-lines, blood spills are tough to clean. Yeah, bleach only works sometimes. And DNA doesn’t lie. Inside the inn’s mini-fridge, a human head props on a paper plate. The cricket hum’s silent where the body’s disappeared behind the motel. / If only someone, anyone, would hack away that vine, he wouldn’t play with all those circuits and shrapnel, wouldn’t need to build a soul from parts. / Today, the bank’s a trap. Tick tick tick, Ben’s mechanical heartbeat thumps in a safe deposit box, jiggling double-locks. Down in the basement vault, a bomb squad palms loose cash into their Kevlar, then sweats it out as they attempt to disarm the complicated device. Needle-nose pliers. Tweezers. Angled dikes. Red wire. Black wire. Boom.

Cate McGowan‘s won the 2014 Moon City Short Fiction Award for her story collection, True Places Never Are, published in 2015. Her debut novel, These Lowly Objects, is on deck from Gold Wake Press.

Photo by Emma Frances Logan

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