30 Stories in 30 Days #05 – “Hot Heads”


With a whimpered grunt, Jacob fell against a tree.  He immediately regretted the jolt that shook his broken rib.  A last minute gust of wind had caught his parachute and slammed him into a tree trunk.  From the pain, he figured he had broken at least one rib, but he wouldn’t be surprised if it was two or three.  He had also lost a bunch of skin along his right side and his upper arm.

Jacob had no idea how much time he lost from the various times he passed out from the pain or time spent trying to rip the parachute into bandages.  But he finally got moving.  He had to find the bomb.

Leaning against the tree, part of Jacob knew that he needed to rest, but the rest of him knew that if he gave into the cries of his legs to sit down, he might never get going again.

“I have to go,” he told himself.  He remained leaning against the tree.

Taking as deep a breath as he could – given his ribs – Jacob shouted, “I have to find the bomb.” With that, he took a staggered step forward.  He made it two or three trees before he needed to stop again.

He had only been there for a few seconds when he thought he heard something.  He tried to quiet his panting to listen.  At first he figured he had imagined it, then he distinctly heard the thump of a distant helicopter.

Was it just a helicopter on a regular mission, or had the authorities been notified?  Despite the drought, there were still plenty of leaves on the trees, so it was unlikely they would spot him.  Regardless, he needed to find that bomb.

The helicopter didn’t seem to be getting any closer, so Jacob forced himself to keep going.  He was soon rewarded when the wind changed and brought him the scent of gasoline.  Looking around and saw the bomb’s parachute tangled in the branches.

Even with his goal in sight, it still took him a few minutes to reach the bomb.  It was just a metal case hammered out in a basement.  It had broken open in the crash, and the hundred gallons of homemade napalm were spilled out onto the forest floor.

Jacob dropped to his knees next to the bomb.  Fortunately, it had landed with the detonator panel almost on top.  Jacob took out his multi-tool and opened the screw driver.  He unscrewed the screws from the panel and removed it.  One of the wires for the detonator had come loose.  Jacob couldn’t help but laugh.  All the weeks they had spent, ruined by a loose wire.

Their plan had been simple.  Sam had his own plane, so they built a bomb and dropped it in the dry forest hoping to start a massive forest fire.  But after they had pushed the bomb out, there had been no explosion.  After some debate, they flew back to the airport, picked up a parachute, and flew back to the site.  Since Jacob was the only one who had ever jumped from a plane – eight years earlier – he was volunteered to find out what had happened to the bomb.

The big biofuel companies planted vast forests only to pulp them to create biofuel.  They planted new forests and the cycle repeated.  The trees took the carbon out of the atmosphere, and the fuel put it back.  In theory, no new carbon was added to the atmosphere, and the carbon already there was just recycled.  It wouldn’t stop global warming, it was just slowing it down.

The fools.  God was going to destroy the world with fire, and there was no use fighting the inevitable.  Jacob took a deep breath and let it out.  He said a silent prayer, then reattached the wire.

One Response to “30 Stories in 30 Days #05 – “Hot Heads””

  1. One of the ideas behind my 30 Stories in 30 Days Challenge is to use up old ideas. Unfortunately, what usually happens is I end up just writing stories from fresh ideas. This year, for example, “Figures” and “Hmmm” were ideas I had about a week ago. And “You Didn’t Pray Hard Enough” and “Details” were ideas I had that day. But this story came from an old idea. About two years ago I jotted down in my writing notebook an idea about terrorists attacking some project combating global warming. It was an interesting idea, and every time I saw it when I flipped through my notebook I told myself, “I need to write a story for that.” Now I finally have.

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