Sunday, August 29, 2010
The Wannabe Journal for August 2010
Don P: has completed entering his father’s letters which total over 240. The sheer volume of text has created a book that is over 175 pages of reading material. What a wonderful start on a memoir.
His latest short story was read to the group. The piece is entitled Deborah 2. We have included a short portion of the story in this journal:
She loved her job. It was easy, had a low level of supervision, and left her time to work on other things she enjoyed. These included writing fiction, playing bridge on the computer, or talking on the phone. She had been working on this job for four years now without any problems that required her to take action.
Her full name was Mary Deborah Alsinki, although she much preferred her middle name and ask everyone to call her Deborah or Debbie. She came from a long line of Government employees, all proud of the job they did, did it well, and happily retired to spend their time on their many hobbies.
She was currently working on her family genealogy in which she had found and documented several ancestors who had been royalty in the middle ages, including two Kings. She planned to publish this as a book and sell it to her relatives. Her job, meanwhile, was monitoring and managing the launch computers for two hundred ICBM missiles, each with a nuclear warhead that could destroy an entire town, including any of the largest cities in the world.
It had been a time of peace for the last ten years so the ICBMs and their warheads had only required the mandatory full operational checkup every three months. Part of the checkup procedure was to fully realign the launch coordinates on each and every one. This was a simple procedure which involved running the individual launch system on each missile through a series of coordinates and returning it back to its original setup. Each of the check coordinates was a large city in the USA. On the list were New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, Dallas/Fort Worth, Minneapolis, New Orleans, and on down to many medium size cities.
Deborah had assisted her superiors in running through this procedure sixteen times over her four years working there. She knew the process down to the last comma and period. She didn't even need a review, she understood it that well.
As the senior officials entered the room, Deborah greeted each one by name and asked about their well-being and their families. Each one responded briefly and moved to their positions preparing to start the check run. At a signal from the Colonel in charge, they looked towards Deborah and nodded for her to start the procedure.
Deborah reached down and pushed the blue button, watching to make sure everything started correctly. Once rolling all she had to do was sit back and keep an eye on things. After all the times she had been involved in this she stayed very relaxed throughout the test, letting her mind wander over other things that she had to get done after work.
All of a sudden there was a loud crashing noise and Deborah jumped, reached out and pushed herself up with her hands. As she looked around she saw that the sound had come from one of the Lieutenants accidentally knocking his chair over.
“That really scared me. I had no idea what had happened” Deborah remarked. She then looked back at her monitor. Her eyes grew large, her face flushed. The screen was flashing “Launch, launch, launch”. This had never happened before. The Colonel came running over, looked at the monitor, then at the console. “Oh my God. You hit the red button when you jumped up. That initiates full launch of all 200 missiles. We have to stop it.”
“We can’t” said a Captain standing beside him. “It is now fully automatic.”
“My God” said the Colonel, “what coordinates were in place when you hit the button?”
“I think it was Los Angeles. No, it was past that. Let me check and see. Ah ha, it was two steps past Los Angeles, so that would be Dallas.
Within hours all of the news media had screaming large headlines saying “Debbie Dooms Dallas”.