Fathom 2000



Inside Cover



Vicki Combden (2)
Maud Alexandra Arthur (2)
Jennifer Lyn Durkee
David Lee
Ritu Malhotra
Kent Fraser
Cameron Thorne-Humphrey (2)
Gina M. Granter


Shawna Ferris
Jane Affleck
Phil Neville


Phil Neville



Her Final Wish

     The Equalizer rocket was the most expensive, and, supposedly, the most spectacular firework that could be purchased by reasonable means. It weighed little more than twenty kilograms, sported a neon coloured frame and was supported by four bright fins that begun at the midpoint and traveled down to the bottom. The rocket cap was red, a classic red that seemed to contrast drastically with the body’s bolder exterior.
     James kept the rocket between his knees and covered the cap with his hands to prevent the occa­sional splash of water from dousing it. He was sitting at the bow of the boat but with his back to the front and so only able to view the receding coast. And as he bounced up and down with the surf he felt, for some reason, that this is what it must feel like to go back in time. He smiled at the silly notion and again he thought of Michelle. He thought of her on their wedding day, so nervous and happy, and of her mother fainting in the church after she had cried until she was dry, and her father’s tight-lipped face when he passed her wrist to his. He had hated James so much and had told Michelle how he’d leave her and was unreliable and untrustworthy. Who would have thought the old bastard was right?
     “How much further, Mr. Nelson?”
     The voice ripped James from the past and into the present alarmingly:.
     “I said, ‘How much further do you want me to go?’ I mean it’s getting pretty late and you said only a little ways up the harbour.” The voice was attached to a young man of about seventeen dressed in shorts and a ripped t-shirt. He had atop his head an enormous peaked hat, puffy on the top and centered with a “Harbour Taxi” patch.
     James stayed silent for a moment and then answered, “Just a little further, I don’t want this thing to turn too many heads.” He patted the Equalizer lightly.
     “Goddamn that thing is huge. Where’s it going Mars or Venus?” He said this with half a grin that annoyed the hell out of James.
     “All I know is that it’s going up.” He turned his head now and felt the wind against his face. It brought tears to his eyes. Watching McNab’s Island approach from the gloom his thoughts shifted again to Michelle.
     “Crazy old thing,” he muttered, smiling.
     Soon this whole ridiculous thing would be over and he could get home to Erin. They were both crazy as far as he was concerned. Michelle for wanting to be disposed of in this way and Erin for making him hold up to his promise. He had told Erin earlier that day, “Honey, I was just humouring her. You know how she is with me. I divorce her ten years ago and she still calls me for everything. My God, this is insane. You want to know something? I was glad when she died. I thought for once and for all we could be totally free of all this and just live in peace and quiet but this bitch still haunts me. From beyond the god­damn grave she does!”
     Erin had just simply replied in her tone that was known to be absolute. “James, you did give her your word.” She just didn’t get it, as far as he was concerned.
     McNab’s Island was behind the small wooden boat now and the harbour was opening up into the Atlantic. Pushing the rocket away from the wet Side. of the boat, James rose and attempted to light a cigarette. After a few tries he succeeded and inhaled the warm, full flavour. He made his way past the cabin to where the young captain was steering.
     “I think that this will just about do,” he said casually.
     “Good. My Dad would kill me if he knew I, went out this far.”
     “Hey, relax. It’s the easiest hundred bucks you’ll ever make.”
     “Man, there tucked up down there.”
     “Anything to be different, eh?”
     “So you’re blowing up your ex-wife?” The young man couldn’t help saying it with a smile on his face.
     “Yeah ... I should have done it forty years ago and saved us all the trouble. I don’t even know why it has to be me. Her brother, the strangest guy I ever did meet, delivered it to me this evening. Actually, I can’t blame her for picking me over him. I wouldn’t trust that guy with a pack of matches let alone an explosive. “
     Just then James’s cell phone went off. He turned his back towards the captain and spoke for a few moments. Tucking the phone back into his pocket he said, “Well, let’s get this over with. I gotta make my dinner reservations.”
     “New prospect already?” The captain was sup­pressing a childish smile.
     “Actually a new wife. Well, not so new, a couple years.”
     “And you’re not taking her out for the show?” James, only slightly annoyed with questioning, sucked in the remains of his cigarette and then flicked it overboard. “No she’d be uncomfortable as hell. She’s the reason I left Michelle. Do you want some advice, kid? If you ever want to get a divorce, don’t be up front, don’t even try to be reasonable. Fake your death or something.”
     “It was that bad, eh?”
     “Worse. I swear it was that that killed her and not the cancer. God, she was bitter.”
     Shuffling from foot to foot, James could see that the captain was getting uncomfortable. He stopped for a moment and stared into the gloomy sky. He then walked the length of the boat, gathered the Equalizer and its launch pad, and then climbed the ladder to the top of the cabin. While setting up he heard the captain yell, “Let her rip!” He was at the bow of the boat, ensuring a great view.
     James produced his Zippo lighter, a gift from the wedding over fifteen years ago. Raising his fist to heaven he screamed “Michelle, honey, I think we both know this is going to be the closest you’ll ever get up there, so enjoy it you crazy bitch!”
     He sparked the flame and the wick lit immedi­ately. He took a step back, folded his arms and whispered in a voice barely audible, “Bye, bye, baby.”
     From the coast you could see the firework explode, with a deafening boom while covering the ocean with an intense blanket of white, yellow, blue, green, and red light. The Equalizer, planned by Michelle after she had been divorced and diagnosed, went off perfectly. Of course, it never left the boat.


last updated August 17, 2007 | © 2007 Fathom Publishing
poetry, prose, and artwork © individual authours | website created by Alana Paul