A Nuclear Missile is Coming! … Oh… Wait

Top 5 Things You Will Learn If You Read This Whole Thing

  1. It isn’t difficult to piss off a guy who runs a snake collecting operation.
  2. If you get punched by your boss after he fires you, he wasn’t technically your boss when he punched you.
  3. Some people — but not you — hate their wives
  4. 1997 Nissan Maximas do not accelerate fast.
  5. Even if something is “NOT A DRILL!” you’re sometimes still good to go.

When good old Q.F. was a younger pup, a 21-year-old rapscallion who had dropped out of college two years before and was making a living as snake-wrangler by day and nightclub singer at night, I pushed the wrong button.

I had just come back to the office after corralling a particularly cranky crotalus oreganus (more commonly known as the Western rattlesnake) (yes, I did snicker all the time because of the last four letters of its scientific name) (don’t lie, you did too) and, well, I was feeling a little amorous. I had met this beautiful dark-haired beauty named Flaca the weekend before. As my loyal readers know, this pretty young thing would go on to become Q.F.’s lifemate three years later and is the mother of my three children, Franz, Hans and Helga.

Anyway, new love is a beautiful thing, full of passion and exploration if you’re a free-thinking healthy-minded individual … and that we both were. So after locking up the rattler to be shipped off to the National Natural Toxins Research Center at Texas A&M (Go Aggies!), where it would be milked for its venom by someone with much more education but much less skill at dealing with those angry bastards, I sat down at the office computer and banged out a quick email to my new love, telling her I would soon be on my way to her apartment and detailing all the secret wild things I wanted to do with her when we were finally together again.

As I clicked “send,” I by chance happened to look up at the “To:” line. My young-and-able ticker about conked out. Instead of “Flaca,” I saw “Flava,” who was most definitely not my beautiful new girlfriend but was rather the co-owner of our little snake-getting operation. She was married to the other co-owner, Ralph, a 6-foot-5, 280 pound beast who, when he wasn’t pointing me in a new direction to go gather some kind of serpent, was bench-pressing old European vehicles.

That’s when I learned an important life lesson: Look before you click.

Apparently, I’m not the only one to have learned this lesson the hard way. For what happened to me was this: Ralph, not being the most reasonable or cerebral man, did not accept my explanation for the errant email but rather fired me and then punched me in the chest with the force of a cannonball, shattering two ribs. Since I’d been fired before he punched me, my workers compensation claim was denied, giving me the thought that Ralph had done this before. Still, I would rather that experience than be the guy who clicked a button that convinced much of an entire state that a nuclear missile was about to bring hellfire to Earth.

What Toenail Whiskey Leads To

So imagine this: You hate your wife. Of course, you don’t hate your wife. You might not even have a wife. You might not even be interested in ever having a wife. But say you’re a person who hates his wife. Hey, I don’t make the rules. Things like this happen. Anyway, we’re agreed that, for the sake of this example, you hate your wife.

Sure, at one point you loved her. But that point is a dot in time far away from last night, when she yelled at you for 20 minutes because your dirty sock was half out of the clothes hamper, and, when you joked that you’d rather see the sock as half in the hamper, it did nothing to change the expression of loathing on her face. Already mad at you for The Great Sock Incident of 2018, your formerly blushing bride sits there clipping her scraggly, fungus-covered toe nails while you sit as far away from her on the couch as possible, tenderly holding onto what by now is not your first glass of whiskey that evening when, what should happen but one of those scraggly fungus-covered toenail clippings flies right into your glass of Four Roses Small Batch Select. So you turn your head slowly to her and, after a good 10 seconds, during which she actually lifts her foot to her mouth to tear off a hangnail with her teeth, she sees your stare and casually says… “… What?”

Now it’s morning and you are tying your tie for the fifth time because you have to have it just… so … but the first and third times it was a quarter-inch too short and the second and fourth times it was a quarter-inch too long. You’re beginning to think, as you pull the damn long end through the damn hole that the damn tie could be used as a damn noose and the sweet relief of death will do what the whiskey cannot when, all of a sudden, that BEHHHHHHHH sound of the Emergency Management System bursts forth from the phone that sits across the room on the nightstand. BEHHHHHHH. BEHHHHHHH. BEHHHHHHHH. And, like everyone else in the world, you take those bleating sounds to mean what they always mean, which is absolutely nothing. Nothing’s going on because, though you live in what many consider paradise, nothing ever happens in the Hawaii of full-time residents like what happens to people who come from the mainland on vacation and so the most excitement you have in your week is talking with the fellas about $6-a-gallon gas prices.

Except this time something is happening, and though the thought of trying to hang yourself with a tie wasn’t that appealing — not really, anyway — the thought of being incinerated in an instant by a ballistic missile goes from “Holy shit!” to “Well now let’s think about this logically” real fast. You think, “Hmmm. Tensions with the North Koreans have been high lately, and our president is an absolute moron so perhaps, maybe just maybe, a nuclear warhead is being shoved along a course over the Pacific Ocean by technology originally invented by Nazi scientists whose war crimes were magically erased so that they could be brought to America to spill their brains — figuratively, of course — in the name of beating the Russians to the moon.”

That’s your first thought. Your second thought comes about 10 seconds later.

So you leave your tie half-tied (or is it half-untied?) and stride — not without a smile on your face, mind you — out of the bedroom, down the hallway, stepping over the plate with a half-eaten piece of pineapple-topped pizza that your teenage son for some reason deposited on the floor outside his bedroom and make a hard left into the kitchen. There, seated at the kitchen table with a smoldering cigarette in her right hand and a coffee cup that’s making a journey to her mouth in her left hand, is your wife. Her hair can best be described as “Einsteinish” and her disgusting pink robe that truly isn’t even really pink anymore but is some color you never found in any box of Crayolas you ever had as a child is hanging sloppily open such that her right breast, which long ago gave up the fight against gravity, is fully exposed, a sight that might have at one time turned you on but that time was as far away from the point you truly loved your wife as it is from The Great Sock Incident of 2018.

So you stand there, the words that had formed in your head as you made your journey from the bedroom, over the pizza, to the kitchen momentarily stuck in your mouth thanks to that one sagging breast, and the delay is long enough that your wife notices your presence, puts down the coffee cup, tilts her head and says… “….What?”

Which snaps you out of your stupor because you remember that glass of Four Roses Small Batch Select with a dash of toenail that you poured down the drain last night and you let loose with all the pent-up emotions for the past 15 years of hell and tell her everything that you have kept inside so that you didn’t have to take return fire when all you truly wanted is for her to just… shut… up… and, while you’re at it, you tell her you know that half the island knows she slept with the neighbor from two doors down and the only reason you haven’t said anything about it is that somewhere along the line you have given up on caring but that now that the world is about to end you are going to go out with a bang before you go out with a bang and are heading over to her friend Chrissy’s house because, unbeknownst to her, her friend Chrissy has made it very known to you that, should you ever get tired of seeing things like a droopy boob in danger of being burned by cigarette ash first thing in the morning she wouldn’t mind taking care of your ballistic missile, if you know what she means, and that maybe she should pick her friends more wisely but whatever the case, you don’t care because you’re getting in your shitty old 1997 Nissan Maxima and heading over there right now and plan to be having the time of your last 15 years when that missile hits.

Before she has a chance to respond you point out to her that her boob is hanging out and turn on your heels and grab your keys from the stupid little rooster key holder that her mother bought you two for a wedding present — and who the hell buys their daughter a rooster key holder as a wedding present anyway? — and in your rush you don’t get the keys all the way off the key ring but you’re so amped up from finally saying what is on your mind that the whole damn rooster keyring thing comes flying off the wall, and that sure does free your keys, so you walk out to the garage and start up the Maxima, and you don’t even care about the screeching fan belt or air conditioner belt or whatever the hell belt has been screeching the past eight months. No, you don’t care. You just slam the car into drive once you’ve backed up into the street and you floor that little bastard, which is truly of no consequence because 21-year-old 120 horsepower is 21-year-old 120 horsepower no matter how hard you push on the gas pedal, so without that cool peel-out sound and smoke from the tires you rationally calmly accelerate toward Chrissy’s house, which is only 5 minutes away and, based on the fact that it took you only 10 minutes to get out everything that needed to be gotten out to your wife, that still leaves you 15 minutes to explain to Chrissy that the world or at least the world as Hawaii knows it is about to end and so you want to take her up on her not-so-subtle offer and to actually take her up on her not-so-subtle offer, and you’re pretty sure you can get both those things accomplished in 15 minutes.

So you do. You turn hard into Chrissy’s short driveway, and this time there is the cool tire sound and tire smoke and then you do it again when you slam on the brakes and bring the Maxima to a stop one freaking inch from her garage door. You push open the door and it bounces right back and slams into your leg that you were moving to exit the vehicle, and you think, “That’s going to leave a bruise,” but of course nothing is going to bruise because people who are vaporized by intercontinental ballistic nuclear missiles don’t get bruises. You push that car door open again with an anger college football players have for their girlfriends, and this time it knows not to try that little slam-the-leg thing again, so you go to stand up and then remember you didn’t unbuckle your seat belt and why the hell were you even wearing a seat belt in the first place? A nuclear missile is coming! The phone told you so! And phones don’t lie.

So you unbuckle the seat belt and you make your way the front door and you don’t even knock. Hell no. You just open that door, which happens to be unlocked, which makes you wonder if Chrissy really takes her personal safety seriously, but you don’t wonder that for too long because standing there in the middle of the family room is Chrissy and Chrissy is wearing a black lace bra with black lace panties and black lace thigh-high stockings and black high heels and, unlike your wife, Chrissy is winning the War Against Gravity and, sure, she might be getting some surgical assistance in that war but not all troops are regular troops. Sometimes there are mercenaries and mercenaries can get away with what regular troops can’t, and why the hell are you even thinking about military strategy right now anyway?

eSo you close the door behind you and you lock eyes with Chrissy and without a word she reaches out her hand and you take it in yours and she trots, yes, trots ahead of you to the bedroom, which is pretty amazing considering those heels must not be easy ven to walk in, let alone trot. I mean, Chrissy looks good but Chrissy is also 40, like you are, but hey, if she can trot in those heels without turning an ankle, you sure as hell aren’t going to complain. Time is, after all, short.

The two of you reach the bedroom, and in a flurry of black lace and half-tied (or half-untied?) ties and dress shirts and sun-kissed skin, the two of you do what you and your wife haven’t done for years… years… and it’s good. Really good.

But you finish.

Which probably shouldn’t have happened because, surprisingly, though you certainly aren’t a clock, you think that might have taken longer than 15 minutes. Maybe even 20. (Way to go out with a bang, indeed!) Yet you, to the best of your knowledge, have not been vaporized.

So you try to roll gracefully out of bed to get your phone but your foot gets caught in the twisted sheets so instead of being graceful you actually fall out of the bed and land hard but at least you land near enough to your phone.

Which is when you learn about this guy:

‘NOT A DRILL,’ my ass

Now, at that moment, that moment where you’re lying on the floor with your right foot caught in a tangle of sheets still on the bed, you don’t know that this guy is this guy. But your phone makes you aware that, well… the ballistic missile that was going to end your existence so you didn’t have to attempt to hang yourself with a tie to get away from the woman you once loved? That missile isn’t coming.

But this guy is this guy.

Yes, the thing your phone had screamed at you was “NOT A DRILL!” No, it technically was not a drill. It was more of… an accident. Much like I accidentally sent that email to Flava instead of my Flaca, that shadow-blob man had pushed the wrong button and sent out a warning that, yes, had said it was “NOT A DRILL!” and that a ballistic missile was heading your way.

And this is really interesting information to you, as you lie there on the floor. Damn interesting. Because, while the North Koreans are the North Koreans and the moron president is the moron president, what once made 100 percent complete and logical sense starts to not make so much sense. I mean, no one’s ever going to really launch a nuclear missile in this day and age, are they? Of course not. Even the North Koreans have heard of mutually assured destruction. Hell, that pineapple-pizza-eating, moody, reminds-you-way-too-much-of-your-wife teenage son of yours knows about mutually assured destruction.

But there are thoughts you’re having now. These were not the thoughts of 25 minutes ago, back when the missile was coming to make everything OK.

And so you start to hate this guy, this shadow-blob guy, this guy who doesn’t know that you look before you click. That you Don’t. Just. Click.

Not ever. Never. You never just click.

So you reach up. You untangle your foot from the sheets. And you stand up. Naked. Vulnerable. And you sigh. And reach down. And pick up your underwear, aware that you just gave Chrissy a very intimate look at a place you really don’t want the person who is just seeing you naked for the first time to see. So without making eye contact, you slip on those underwear and you pull on those pants and you put on that shirt and you even slide the half-tied (half-untied?) tie over your head.

And then you turn to her. And she’s laying there. Looking at you. Her hair looks very Einsteinish. And peeking out from the covers is one exposed boob and, well, when you’re lying down, gravity wins against anybody, even the surgically enhanced. So you reach down. You grab your shoes. And she says… “What?”

And so you leave. You walk out that front door and get back in that car and you point it back from whence you came.

You don’t know what you’ll say. You don’t know what you’ll do. But you do know one thing: This will probably be worse than The Great Sock Incident of 2018.

Q.F. Conseco is the relative of website owner and Storyteller in Chief John Agliata. He is, in fact, John’s great-grandparent’s son’s son’s son. He lives outside Escandido, California, near the Hellhole Canyon Preserve with his wife, Flaca, and their three children, Franz, Hans and Helga. All three are homeschooled and extremely unsocial. Q.F. is a singer, songwriter and poet when he is not working as a trimmer for a large medical marijuana growing operation in Humboldt County, California. He has a birthmark shaped like the state of Louisiana on his right thigh.

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