Guidance Systems by Grant Farley

Pasadena, 1959

“Who will live and who will die?” His wife asked as they lay in bed.

“Is this one of those psychological puzzles? If seven people are on a desert island and one has to go…”

“No. You will choose who enters. Power of life and all that. Does your brother die?”

He sat up. “Eddie lives too far away. He’ll never make it.”

“So it’s a matter of geography.”

“No…well, in a way, yes.”

“Amy’s little friend next door?”

“Christ, I don’t…No.”

“Then innocence is not a factor.”

“She’s not family.”

“Not family.”

He stared at their moonlit comforter. “It may never happen.”

“Who do you suppose is at the other end of your bombs?”

“I design guidance systems, not bombs. You know that. Anyway, they’re our bombs. All our bombs.”

“…our bombs, then?”

“A military target.”

“Perhaps there’s another scientist over there being told the same thing.”

He moved his hand toward hers. “Why are you doing this?”

She moved hers away. “Why are you doing this?”

“By ‘this’ do you mean providing a good life for you and the girls? Defending our country? Or building our bomb shelter in the event…”

“They are the same.”

“What has gotten into you?”

“I will not go into your shelter.”

“Yes, you will.”

“No. Look at me. I will never go in.”

“Why does it have to be like this?”

“Are you still building it?”

He paused. “Yes.”


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Filed under Grant Farley

4 responses to “Guidance Systems by Grant Farley

  1. Wow, lots in this short piece.

  2. A moral question raised at the time, brought back to life here. Nicely done.

  3. Zoe

    Chilling piece!! Love this!

  4. Pingback: Week #51 – Unintended Consequences | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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