Five Minutes

You know how they say your whole life flashes before your eyes when you die? Well, that’s bullshit. Maybe when you go suddenly that’s true. But when you’re like me, and you know you have less than five minutes to live, you start thinkin’ about all the things that coulda been – not what was.

I think that Bruce Willis movie had it right. You know the one? He goes to drill a hole on the moon or something and ends up sacrificing himself to save that Matt Damon kid. Well, right before the bomb goes off, he has flashes of his little girl growing up and then all the things he wouldn’t see like her wedding. That’s dead on, no pun intended. Except I ain’t got no Aerosmith music playin’.

I can barely hear the helicopters in the distance. By now, I’m sure everyone has fallen back outside the blast zone and that’s a good thing. If I do my job right, the only collateral damage will be some of this building and damage to the surrounding ones. And me, of course… can’t forget that. If I don’t, we’re talkin’ a city block. At least. Either way, this baby is blowing. He knew what he was doing.

Some jagoff gets fired and decides to rig a bomb to his boss’ computer. His wife tipped us off, but not soon enough. It didn’t take my team long to figure out what we were working with;  if we let it self-detonate, more damage – possibly beyond our control and if we cut the dummy wire it would trigger a smaller blast but not enough to ignite the other packages the bastard had placed throughout the building. This wasn’t fancy work, but it was smart and we didn’t have time for a better plan.

Speaking of which, about three minutes now.

As far as I was concerned, once we knew what had to be done, it was never an option to let anyone else stay. My boy is nineteen, a man really. The guys on my team all have children much younger than that – children that still need raisin’.

And what were the odds I’d go in a place like this? For years my ex had been nagging me to get a desk job. She was all about punchin’ a clock and being home in time for pot roast. A job like that would kill a man like me, I’d tell her. Sittin’ in some stuffy office with potted plants and my name on the desk? No thank you. Now, here I am, sitting in a corner office, behind a large oak desk with the guts of a computer spilled before me and looking at the framed photos of someone else’s family… well, all I can do is laugh.

Two minutes left.

There’s some comfort in knowing how your story ends. I am what I am and I was what I was. I am balding and I’ll never lose those last thirty pounds. Not the world’s greatest husband or father. Never enough time. But my boy is a good one and he’ll take care of his mom. He’ll have to finish working on the ’57 Chevy by himself, but he can do it.

One minute now.

Comfort doesn’t mean calm. I’m sittin’ here sweating like a pedophile at a Girls Scout meeting, wishin’ I had a cigar or something. Bruce Willis would have a cigar. He’d prop his feet up on this big oak desk and light a stoagie. All I got are these wire cutters and forty seconds. Guess I better get to cuttin’.

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Nina is a 35-year-old mother, wife and writer who spends her days blogging, studying, changing diapers and watching ridiculous amounts of TV. She currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, two children and four TiVos.

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