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Flash Friday 14/07/2017: Having a Blast

July 14, 2017

During his early years, David wasn’t sure what he was destined to become. He knew he enjoyed dismantling electronics (such as the family radio) and that he was good at operating under stress (such as when his parents yelled at him while he put back the family radio). He wasn’t sure what kind of job would fit such specific skills. Then, one day, his dream career found him.

Some days, he wish it didn’t.

Today was one of those days. He had stripped the ticking bomb of its outer shell, negotiated past the hardware, and took care of every precaution he came across. Now he was down to the final choice; he could either snip the red wire or the blue one.

However, for the life of him, he couldn’t remember which one to cut.

It wasn’t to uncommon for this to happen. After studying a variety of different popular bomb makes, the wire combinations blur in your head like a colourful tornado. This was unfortunate, as the bomb was showing 2 minutes until detonation. Thankfully, this is exactly what squad mates are for.

“Gareth,” David called over his shoulder. “What’s the wire cut on a bomb like this?”

Gareth peered over David at the bomb. “What make?”

David parted the wires with the pliers, looking at the electronics it was feeding. “Looks like we got a…ED-75L model.”

“Alright, cut the red one.”

David nodded and put the wire cutter blades around the red wire.

“No, wait,” Gareth interjected. “It’s the blue one.”

David nodded again and changed to blue.

“Wait, hold on,” said a third voice. The third member of the team, Paul, had just joined. “You do red wires normally, right?”

“Usually,” Gareth said, “but they mixed it up for this model.”

“…I’m pretty sure that was a different model of bomb you’re on about.”

“Can you please decide?” David said. “We don’t have much time left.”

“Look,” Gareth said, pulling out a mobile phone. “I’ll call Sarah, she’ll know what to do.”

“Still think it’s red,” Paul scoffed, as everyone waited for Sarah to pick up.

Finally, Gareth spoke again. “Hello? Yeah, hi Sarah. What’s the correct wire to cut on a…?”

“ED-75L,” David reminded.

“Right, ED-75L. Yeah, I can wait.”

No we can’t,” David reminded again.

“Oh. Yeah, we can’t wait, sorry. Right. Yeah.” Gareth nodded. “Yep, gotcha. Alright, thanks Sarah. Alright, by–what? Yeah, sure. After this I can head on over. Yeah, loads of good movies out recently. We should go see–”

Gareth.

“Right, sorry. Okay, bye.” Gareth hung up.

“Well?” David probed.

“She said she’d ask Peter.”

David gave a frustrated sigh. There was only a minute left.

“Oh!” Paul said. “Remember we got mixed up with these models and made that little mnemonic during our exams?”

“That’s right!” Gareth chirped. “We did, didn’t we? How did that go again?”

“It went something like…’Snip the red, and you’ll be dead. Snip the blue, and death is due’. No, wait.”

David shot an annoyed glance over his shoulder.

“That’s not right,” Gareth said. “Trying to think how it went…”

The two of them pondered on this for a few seconds. Then, Paul snapped his fingers. “Right, that’s it! It was ‘Snip the red and you’re ahead’. I remember now, sorry about that.”

“So I should cut the red wire?”

“Yeah.”

“You’re sure?

“Yeah, cut the red one.”

David positioned the clippers around the red wire.

“No, wait,” Paul said to Gareth. “Was it ‘Snip the blue and you’ll pull through’?”

“Oh, for–” David said, retracting what he was about to say. They had only thirty seconds left and were back to square one.

Gareth’s phone began to ring. “Ah, that’ll be Peter,” he said, about to pick it up.

“Give the phone to me,” David demanded, holding out a hand.

The sudden anger in David’s voice caught Gareth off-guard, but he surrendered the phone regardless. Now in control of the situation, David picked up the phone.

“Hello?” came Peter’s voice on the other side. “You there, Gareth?”

“It’s David. I need a wire cut instruction. We have very little time.”

“Right, so you’ve got the bomb all dismantled, yeah?”

“Yes.”

“And you were sure to dodge all the little mechanisms and whatnot, yeah?”

“Yes, I’m on the wires, just tell me what wire to cut.

“Alright, alright. So, let’s see here…yep…yep…okay, so you have the wires in front of you, yeah?”

Yes!

“Alright.” Peter cleared his throat, and then; “Cut the green wire.”

David’s heart sank. “Peter, there’s no green wire.”

“What? What bomb are you handling?”

“An ED-75L.”

“Well Sarah said it was an ED-125.”

“Well she was wrong. Can I please have the instructions for this bomb?

“Right, right, let me just look in the back…”

Fifteen seconds were left on the bomb.

“Lessee here…yep, here’s the index…ED…seventy fiiiveee…L.”

Twelve seconds.

“And this bomb is ooon…let’s see…oh! It’s in book two. Right.”

Nine seconds.

“Let’s just grab that book…there we go.”

Seven seconds.

“So, page seventy three in book two…so, let’s see…page ten…page twenty…page thirty, almost there…”

David didn’t want to experience the last three seconds of his life listening to someone slowly go through a book. With a few seconds left, David reached out, put the clippers around the blue wire, and cut it.

Everyone froze in fear.

“…ah! Here we go,” Peter’s voice came down the phone, five seconds too late. “Yes, here we are. It says to cut the blue wire.”

“Does it?” David said, still shaking.

“Yep. Did you do that?”

David looked at the severed wire, wiping the sweat from his brow. “Yes, all done.”

“And it’s defused now, yeah?”

David waited for a small moment before replying, just to make sure. “Yeah, seems so.”

“Great. Glad I could be of help, buddy, well, see you!”

“Bye,” David said. He stood up, handed the phone back to Gareth, and walked out without another word.

“See?” Gareth said to Paul with a smug tone. “Told you it was blue.”


1000 words

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