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I Trust You (Really) by Russ Bickerstaff

I just want you to know that I completely trust you with that small arsenal of thermonuclear warheads. I know that glowing red button that’s only a few precious centimeters from your hand could be pushed at any moment. And I’m sure that pushing that button would do exactly what I’m thinking it would do. There’s no question that  you know what you’re doing here. How could you not? This whole set-up was lovingly crafted by the same hands that could press that button at any moment. It’s really quite impressive.

I’m looking up at that big glowing screen and I can’t help but be...impressed. What is that...500 or 600 megatons you’ve got there? You figure most of those ICBMs carry about 25 megatons each so let’s see...that’s...well that’s a lot to count. Probably have to make an estimate. Kind of reminds me of guessing the number of jellybeans in the jar. But what do I know? I guess it’s kind of hard to tell. You know what, though? I don’t care if it’s a thousand megatons. I don’t care if it’s a hundred thousand. It doesn’t matter how much it is because I trust you with it completely. I totally trust you with every last one of those things.

You know why I trust you? You’ve got a real attention to detail. Anyone could get together a collection of warheads like that and just hold onto them with a weird grin on their faces. You’re a lot more ambitious than that. You’ve done a lot more than just that. You’ve got one of those warheads pointed to the capital city of every single nation in the northern hemisphere. (Even the really, really small ones.) What I love about that is that it’s not just being detail-oriented: you care enough to be egalitarian. Everybody gets treated the same. Everybody gets 25 megatons of thermonuclear love pointed at their nation’s capital whether it’s a major industrialized superpower or a tiny, little nation most people don’t even know about. Everyone is equal with you. I really respect that. (I do.)

I know. I know. No one thought you could do it. They all laughed at you. And yes, I WAS one of those people who was laughing at you. I feel as though I need to clarify that, though. I can understand how it must have looked. I can say in all honesty, though, that I was NOT laughing at you because I didn’t think you could do it. I was laughing at you because I couldn’t possibly imagine why anyone would want to do it. In my own limited understanding of the world I had no idea why anyone would want to collect all these...engines of utter destruction and point them all over the place like you’ve done here. That’s what I love about you, though. You’re a real visionary. Where I see a crazy amount of responsibility, you see...whatever it is you see.

And I’m not saying that you’re crazy or anything for seeing what you’re seeing in having what you have. I’m just saying the my own personal scope and understanding of things does not include having any simple comprehension of why on earth someone would be willing to get set-up to unleash several hundred megatons of nuclear explosives all over the top of the earth. That’s all I’m saying.

The other thing that I think is what you’re doing here is the fact that you haven’t even bothered to tell anyone about what you’ve done here. You’ve just quietly assembled your arsenal and set it up to do what you’ve set it up to do. How humble is that? A lot of people would want some kind of recognition for what they’ve accomplished in having assembled something like this, but not you. You just go about doing what you’re doing. Maybe it’s for the love of doing it. Maybe it’s for the rush. Maybe it’s for the sense of self-accomplishment. And it’s not like it’s any of my business or anything. I’m not trying to judge you or anything like that. I’m sure that there would be people who would want to do that to someone in your position. You assemble the kind of technology that could wipe out all human life on earth and you have your reasons for doing so. It’s just...fascinating. That’s all.

It’s also fascinating that it’s so close to you. You have a complete and total command of some of the most massively...impressive technology every amassed by a single person and you could press that button and unleash it all at any moment...or not. It’s up to you. You don’t even have to sit there where you’re sitting.

You know, that’s probably the coolest thing about being where you are. At any moment, you could just stand-up and walk away from that button and it will be there for you just waiting to press it. You have the control and command and confidence that you don’t even have to sit where you’re sitting. You can get up and walk around. Sure, go ahead and get up and...okay look around. Just look around at the rest of this room and know that at any moment you could  just climb down off that cool-looking throne you’ve built for yourself and just walk around he room real casually.

And then maybe you could just walk away like you’re doing right now and know that at any moment you could casually walk right back to your throne and press that button at any time. The people who are rushing into the room now aren’t here to try to keep you from doing that. They just want to make sure that your wrists are safely secured behind your back. I know. I know there’s the desire to shout and get angry and things, but you don’t need to do so. I mean, look at what you’ve accomplished. You should pat yourself on the back. Here, let me help you with that…

Russ Bickerstaff is a professional theatre critic and aspiring author living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with his wife and two daughters. His short fictions have appeared in Hypertext Magazine, Pulp Metal Magazine, Sein und Werden, and Beyond Imagination, among other places. His Internarrational Where Port can be found at: