Poor Mojo's Almanac(k) Classics (2000-2011)
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Fiction #21
(published Late in the Year, 2000)
Whispering into the Sky
by Morgan Johnson

The morning after the tornado struck, children and adults alike wandered the litter-strewn fields of Oaksville. Livestock and house pets lay slaughtered by cigarettes, broken bottles, and playing cards. Houses had been stripped and scattered across the plains as if swatted by the hand of an angry child. The townspeople staggered, awestruck and shell-shocked, in aimless paths. Only one boy, Michael Nevvers, seemed fully rational. He gazed up at the empty blue sky and whispered "I'll get you for this one God."

At his grandmother's house in Skokie, Illinois, Mikey became interested in model rocketry. His parents thought it was just an innocent, albeit introverted, hobby for a ten-year old boy. But Michael Nevvers was trying to shoot God.

He mowed lawns and shoveled snow, saving up to buy the biggest rocket he could. After nine months of hard work, Mikey bought the Omega-500. It was the most powerful rocket listed in all his hobby magazines.

When model rockets are built, it is common, even considered de rigeur to include a detachable nose-cone with a parachute. Amateur and professional model rocketrists take great pains to shape, paint, and decorate their cones. The key is to create a noticeable cone that is neither too flashy nor bulky. The cone must be noticeable because it detaches and falls to earth at the zenith of its flight, and the necessities of an aerodynamic rocket preclude the use of a bulky nose-cone. Many an amateur model rocketrist has had his too-heavy rocket come barreling back down upon him.

That Saturday night, Mikey's rocket had no chute in it. The nose-cone also was not designed to detach at the zenith of its flight. Mikey Nevvers' nose-cone was filled with powdered stump-remover that his grandmother kept in a can hidden behind snow tires and a broken lawnmower in her garage. Also, Mikey's rocket was not brightly painted. It also wasn't covered in the familiar slogans or slurs applied by the professional model rocketrists to scare off their competitors. Michael Nevvers' rocket was black, with a single yellow stripe running from tip to tail. He had watched a documentary about the stealth bomber and wanted his rocket to slip under God's radar.

So, on that Saturday night before Easter Sunday, Michael Nevvers fired his stealth Omega-500 model rocket, filled with high-grade stump-remover into the heavens above.

Mikey's eyes followed the glow from the rocket's tail upwards. After the glow faded, and Mikey was sure he could no longer see it, he whispered into the sky, "I'm sorry, God, but you deserve this."

The next morning, Michael Nevvers' parents told him that church was canceled. Checking the TV, Mikey learned that not just in Skokie, Illinois, but all across the world, church had been canceled. No one came forward to explain why, and Mikey decided to keep his mouth shut.

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