Bomb Diggity


I can’t put my finger on it…but I can touch it with my big toe.

That will have to do.

Thank God I wore sandals today. I use the toes of my left foot to push the sandal from my right foot.

I try to roll my office chair over to my desk but the discarded sandal blocks one of the wheels. I glance at the timer counting down my last moments of life. It’s attached to a bomb beneath my desk.

One minute, one second.

One minute.

Fifty-nine seconds.

I feel sweat gather at my hairline. Rivulets of it run down my face, burning my eyes. Blinking hard, I move the chair back and kick the sandal aside. When I roll closer to my desk, the duct tape cuts into my skin. My arms are bound to the arms of my chair.

My ex-boss went nuts today. Aaron, my former supervisor, was fired last week for stealing company funds. It took the C-suite shitheads a long time to discover what the rest of us peons already knew. The guy’s unethical.

On top of that, he’s an all-around dick.

Apparently Aaron followed me into the building today. I’m the only employee here, working overtime on Saturday. Unpaid. As usual.

Anyway, he grabbed me and taped me before I had my first cup of brown sludge from the employee lounge.

Why didn’t I stay in bed this morning?

I lift my right foot, arching my toes over a green button on the bomb.

You press that, you’ll be okay, Aaron had told me before shutting himself in his old office. A loud noise had issued from that direction soon after, which I assumed to be that of a shotgun blast.


Bracing for a bigger noise, I tap the button with my big toe. Nothing happens.

Forty-nine seconds.


This time I mash the button hard with my big toe.



I start to scream for help, then remember that I’m the only one working this weekend.

As usual.

“Damn it!”

My bladder feels like it’s being squeezed between two giant hands. A little pee escapes me, dampening my panties. Insult to injury.



I slam my entire foot down on the device.



I grunt as I use every muscle I can muster to strain against the tape. Now I can feel urine trickle down my leg.

Suddenly inspired, I kick off my other sandal. Using both feet, I drag the bomb from beneath the desk. I rock the chair back to front.



Finally I slide out of the chair. Now my bottom is flat against the floor. My skirt bunches around my waist. The top of the chair presses into my neck, forcing my head down so far my chin touches my chest. My arms, still taped to the chair, are suspended behind and above me. They weren’t meant to bend like that and I scream in agony.


I scoot along the floor until my legs are on either side of the explosive device.


Screeching, crying, I lift my butt as high off the floor as I can get it, saying a silent prayer of thanks that I never skip my yoga classes.

I can’t see the timer now but I can imagine the seconds quickly ticking.



If this doesn’t work, I’ll have the world’s biggest asshole.



I let loose a stream of hot urine. I pee like I’ve never peed before.





I close my eyes.

One never comes.

I wait a full fifteen seconds before I allow my body to collapse. When I peer at the bomb, I see that the timer is blinking zero-zero-zero.

I’ve done it!

I short-circuited the son-of-a-bitch!

~ fin ~

Neva Bryan headshot

Neva Bryan is published in a variety of literary journals and online magazines, including Appalachian Heritage, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, The Distillery, Floyd County Moonshine, and Fried Chicken and Coffee. Some of her work might best be described as Appalachian Gothic.

She is the author of three novels and one collection of short stories and poems. She is a contributor to the anthology We All Live Downstream: Writings about mountaintop removal. Neva and her husband live in the coalfields of Virginia, amid the Appalachian Mountains. Learn more at