This story was written in answer to Fandango’s One Word Challenge. The word I had to use was ‘Facetious’
Facetious means: treating serious issues with deliberately inappropriate humour; flippant.
Here’s what I came up with …
Bomb at the Beach
“Right, here we go again,” said Sergeant Benny Wilkes. With two duties in Iraq under his belt, he was a very skilled army explosives expert. Now, stationed in the UK; he was one of the best on the Bomb Squad.
“At least we’re at the beach today.” Corporal Damien Chambers replied as they disembarked from their explosives proof van. He to was a war veteran with duties in Afghanistan and Syria. “Let’s have an icecream before we blow the beach to smithereens shall we.”
“If only, come on!” Benny pulled open the back doors and started pulling on his heavy green bomb-proof suit over his green army fatigues. “I wish it wasn’t thirty-eight degrees centigrade out here.”
“Yeah, we’ll be sweating our arses off in these things,” Damien said.
“Speak for yourself. I have a nice lean arse already.” Benny chuckled and beckoned a waiting police official to join them. There were more than a dozen police vehicles stretched along the promenade; along with ambulances and two fire trucks. A sea of flashing blue lights on the seafront. “What have we got?”
“I’m Constable Henry Fairway. Thanks for coming, boys. A lady walking her dog along the breakwater down there.” The officer indicated a wall of grey granite rocks extending from the promenade out into the white surf on the grey-blue sea. “Discovered what we think is a World War Two bomb. We’ve made a five-hundred-yard cordon for you.”
“Much obliged, Constable. We’ll go and take a gander and then we’ll see what’s to be done from there.” Benny shook his hand. “Stay here and have an ambulance set up at the top of the steps – just in case. We’ll return and speak to you before we do anything more.”
“I appreciate it, thank you.” The officer saluted as Benny and Damien pulled on their enormous helmets, did a comms check and headed down onto the beach. This one had dark yellow sand with a fair amount of rock in it.
“Lovely place to relax – well minus a bomb anyway,” Damien said.
“Yeah, not bad.” Benny eyed a greater black-backed seagull with disdain. “At least the bomb won’t shit on you from a great height.”
“No, but if a bomb farts the whole city knows about it!” Damian roared with laughter as they reached the breakwater.
Benny chuckled. His vision dropped upon the tail fins of a classic cylindrical bomb. It’s hundred-and-sixty-four-centimetre-long body and tail were rusted with age and heavily concreted with barnacles. “No doubt about it. This thing definitely goes boom!”
Damian clambered over the closest rocks to look at the nose. “She’s a bloody mess too. I’d be surprised if she’s viable.”
“Me too. We’ll have to defuse or detonate it as if it is viable though; to be sure.” Benny took some photos. “Get the kit, I’ll brief the police.”
“Roger that.” Damien jumped down and set off with Benny behind him.
The sergeant was sweating buckets when he made it back to the promenade. He was glad to take his helmet off his reddened head.
“Hot as hell isn’t it?” said Constable Fairway.
“Too hot! Anyway, we’ve got a German-made World War Two SC-250 Bomb. They were most commonly dropped by the Junker or Stuka aircraft and were mostly used in attacks like the Blitz in London between 1940 and 1941.” Benny wiped the sweat from his eyes and looked back toward the bomb.
“Will it go bang in this heat?” Fairway asked.
“It’s a two-hundred-and-fifty-pound bomb loaded with either TNT or a mix of ammonium nitrate and other chemicals. It definitely can go bang; although this one is heavily corroded and might be inviable.”
“But it might still blow your fillings out,” said Damian coming back with a stainless-steel tool kit in his gloved hand.
“Ouch! I’m staying here then.” the Constable laughed although his face betrayed fear at being near a real bomb.
“Indeed. Your cordon is big enough. We’re going to try and disarm it first. If we can’t we’ll wait until high tide, float it out and blow it up at sea.” Benny pulled on his helmet again and immediately felt the heat rising.
“Carry on, boys.” I’ll let everyone know.” Fairway walked around the ambulance to make a report on the radio.
“Let’s go! Benny started down the steps again. Back at the bomb, he climbed up on to the rocks and began searching for the access hatch. If they could find and open that beneath the barnacles and rust; they could remove the detonators and lower the risk of explosion.
“Any luck?” Damian knelt and began scratching off some barnacle with a scraper.
“Not yet – just be bloody careful, will you! You’re rocking the whole bomb!” Benny had defused hundreds of bombs; It never stopped his heart racing with adrenaline. The knowledge that he could be blown to bits in seconds was thrilling and terrifying at once.
“Well don’t worry. If I blow your balls off – your sex life will be the least of your worries.” Damian roared with laughter as he went to work on another section of the bomb casing.
“Do you always have to be so facetious?” Benny took out an extendible mirror and used it to peer beneath the bomb.
“Yup, it keeps me sane,” Damian replied no doubt grinning behind his visor.
“Haha! Nobody standing this close to bloody great bomb is sane.” Benny saw the edge of a hatch and groaned. “No use – the hatch is underneath as usual.”
Two hours later the bomb was still on the rocks but half in the waves. Benny and Damien inflated cushions around it and watched it rise on the tide.
“You’re clear, Captain,” Benny said over the radio. A chain tightened and the local lifeboat began heading straight out from the beach. They towed the bomb three hundred yards offshore. There they disconnected from the bomb and motored away to a safe distance.
“Captain Levison to Sergeant Wilkes. You’re free to light the fireworks.”
“Roger that.” Benny raised a hand showing four fingers. “Detonating!” As each digit dropped, the tension on the seafront grew.
At zero, a white flash and a large plume of water erupted into the air which was torn asunder by the loudest crack and thump felt in the chests of those watching.
“And pop goes the tuna fish!” Damien reported lowering his binoculars.
“And there’s me hoping for sushi! Damien and Benny four-hundred-and-thirty – bombs nil. Let’s go have a beer!”
Thanks for reading my friends. As always there are more stories to be enjoyed (I hope) in the Short Stories tab.
Have a great day!