It was satisfying to see him so flustered. The great man, this mountain of power, reduced to near silence. The explosion that tore apart his pet project, the first attempt to breach the heavens so long after America gave up their dreams, was as exhilarating as it was deafening. The Lunar Project was a bust, and I could not have been happier.
I watched Amery Chalmers, my father-in-law, stand in silence for once. Ten plus years I’ve had to be party to his overbearing stature in both the family and in the work place. This man, who was almost always breviloquent when talking down to all those around him, had been reduced to one single word: “Blimey!”
Amanda, his daughter, my wife, told me her father had only one emotion: pride. She told me, during our first date, that he had no soft side. Every project he took on, family included, revolved around his pride in his own worth. I hadn’t believed her then. I hadn’t seen this leader of men whose intelligence was so entrancing as anything less than brilliant and spectacular. I worked my way to get into the bosom of his division.
Falling in love with Amanda was the only bright spot to come. She was right: his pride went before him in all things, and if you got in his way you were the one who went for a fall. I saw outstanding people reduced to nattering simpletons as they were ushered out the door. I saw what he did to his family, what he tried to do to me. He broke his wife, and I feel that the only thing that saved Amanda was that she was out of his day to day leeching.
His campy marketing strategy worked, in that it fed off of the nostalgia of the space race. He used it to his advantage, playing up the good old days, how Britannia could “rule the waves” again. It was a tall tale he sold to the masses. He sold it well.
Funding came by the millions. Lunar Project was a go. As much time as he spent at work “for the country, God and King”, he spent almost an equal amount of time lashing out at his wife, and when he could at Amanda and I.
It was too much for Deborah, my mother-in-law. Never a strong woman to begin with, Amery’s obsession was too much for her. She took her life by pills. This destroyed Amanda. Her father did not seem to care. He came to the funeral, only to leave immediately after the service at the grave. I grew to hate him like I had never hated anything in my life before.
Being high up in his workforce, access was easy for me. A crossed wire here after a safety check. Small punctures in strategic places in the fuel line were not found. They were waiting for the pressure of the blast off. I had a few weeks before the flight, and that was enough time.
Amery’s ashen face was all I needed to see. He was trembling, and it took all I had to not laugh out loud. I left, got into the car, and drove home.
Amanda was waiting, packed and ready to go. This seemed like a good a time as any to go on a holiday.
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Hi. The above story was written for the WWWC. I had taken a previous challenge or two that were set up by the wonderful Catrina Taylor on her website The Writing Network. I had written Whatever Kills You Makes You Dead and Love’s First Kiss for
challenges/prompts from there. Three very different entries.
What we had to do: write a short story with a 600 word limit. We had to use TWELVE words within the story (the words in bold). No theme. That was it.
I hope you liked it. Please let me know, and also take a stop at the WWWC page itself and see how other writers handled the same prompts. Thanks.