Pushing Buttons, Pulling Pins — A Dream

Just don’t pull the pin.”

I could tell by the look in her eye, these were precisely the wrong words. I knew that look, had seen it before. She had worn it at least once a day throughout her handful of twelve years. And I — being older, arguably wiser, and having experienced her moods — should have known better.

For a moment, her grip on the grenade tightened, white-knuckling her small fist. I felt the vacuum of her scrutiny.

She pulled the pin.


“Now, you’ll have to keep your finger over the trigger to interrupt the count-down.”

When will I learn?

“Follow me.”

I must find some place she could release the grenade, hurl it as far from her — from us — as her skinny tween arm was able. Despite this — the fact that she’s willing to blow us both to pieces — I feel surprisingly calm.

Just ahead leans a great dilapidated structure. A ramshackle, run-down barn, walls and roof sagging, groaning toward center. Pushing open a door, I lead us inside. The barn reeks of abandonment; dusty shafts of light leak through cracks and seams. Piles of junk crouch in shadows — boards and beams split and broken, pricked with bright and rusted nails; broken chairs; moldering carpets, rolled in upon themselves; ancient, derelict equipment.

“Keep close.”

Past heaps and shifting stacks arranged in makeshift aisles, I lead a careful, winding route, locating, at last, a set of huge, sliding doors, limned in dim light. Hip and shoulder pressed to wood, hands gripping the door’s rough edge, I push, push against the door. Slowly, it scrapes open far enough to allow exit.

Outside, dusk has fallen. A great, green field rolls beyond the barn, spilling gently away to a flowered field. Daisies and bluebells.

“Okay,” I tell her, “now, throw it — as hard as you can.”

Turning to glance behind me — to encourage, exhort, cajole — I find myself alone. She didn’t follow.

I should have known.


“Boom.” — C.Birde, 5/16


6 thoughts on “Pushing Buttons, Pulling Pins — A Dream

  1. Are you turning into that singer who hides her face while dancing with her younger self? I had to look up the spelling. Sia. Except, it seems she no longer hides her face?

    So, you find your youth holding an instrument of destruction, claw your way through a hazardous barn/shed and expect the grenade not to blow before reaching a field of wild flowers which you have no problem destroying before realizing your youth has escaped you. Hmm.

    It sounds like you coming to terms with your own self-destructive tendencies. Perhaps, remaining calm and losing sight of the former you means you are no longer as dangerous to yourself or others yet in a reflective frame of mind ever so briefly, wondering what happened to that old you. Best I got right now.


  2. carrie, from the first line, which is a “grabber,” your narrative carries me along. the description of the barn is so detailed that i feel as if i have walked through it myself. and then lovely flowers everywhere. what an interesting dream!

    Liked by 1 person

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