Birthday Gift

The pop star was in her bedroom eating baby spinach and strips of black Indonesian chicken when her manager came in.

“Darling,” he said. “Do you remember what you asked for for your 24th birthday?”

“Of course, you idiot,” she said. She sat on a pile of pillows made of nanobot-carved memory foam, Mulberry silk and Egyptian cotton. They were lined with 24 karat gold.

She stuffed greens and meat into her mouth.

“I said I want a bunch of my fans to fucking die. They’re so annoying. And there’s so many of them! They’re so common! Worthless. Peasants! Plebians! Proles!”

“Good,” he said. “Well, although I assumed you were joking when you said that, sweet young thing that you are, I have an announcement to make.”

“Get on with it.”

The pop star was dressed only in a Bundchen bra and panties encrusted with rubies and diamonds. She refused to wear anything else in her bedroom. “I’m expecting a star football player any minute now. He’s going to take me to see Hamilton for the twelfth time.”

“Well, it turns out the U.S. government and British governments are observing that the general populations of their countries are getting headstrong and complacent, and they need another event to inspire fear and discord, so the people are more easily manipulated. ”


“What I’m saying is, they need a terrorist attack. Preferably by a Muslim, though they haven’t decided yet.”

“I see where you’re going with this,” the pop star said. Her eyes twinkled as she leaned on her pillows. Her body was perfectly sexy, distractingly so. (I only mention that because I’m a male narrator.)

“Well, I’m good friends with a fellow at the Pentagon and we got to talking and, well, long story short, they want to use one of your concerts as the location. They’ll have a misguided youth of some foreign nationality blow himself up in an atrium or some such thing. Casualties will be massive. It’ll be on the news for weeks. Candlelit vigils, insurance hikes, the whole kaboodle.”

The pop star was elated.

“This is what I’ve always wanted,” she yelled, jumping up and forgetting all about her snack. She dashed to and fro about the room. “I want to see those stupid little open-mouthed commoner fucks blackened and blown to pieces! Little wannabes! How disgusting they are! And how better the world will be with a few less of them!”

“We will be sure to get video and photos of the aftermath, dear,” said her manager. He smiled at her. He was so proud he’d created such a profitable individual.

“When, though, when will it happen!?”

“I’m afraid I can’t tell you — only to say that it will be on your tour this summer.”

The pop star was so happy she did a little dance. She was quite the dancer.

“I’ll even pay for their stupid funeral costs,” she said when she was done.

“We’ve already arranged for that. The money is in the budget, being set aside as we speak.”

“Oh, Romero,” said the pop star, going back to her cushions and her exotic afternoon snack. “You’re the best manager ever.”

She pulled up her phone, already moving on from the announcement.

“I should mention, my sweet,” cautioned Romero. “That you will have to do much publicity after this. You know, the usual sad act, talk about the preciousness of life and the sanctity of life and all that. Do a benefit show, perhaps.”

“I don’t mind at all,” said the pop star. “The thought of their stupid pedestrian nothing souls being obliterated in a second’s time will be more than enough reward for me. Now get out of here, I want to masturbate before Terrell arrives.”


The following is a transcript of an interview with Ernest J. Wells, a resident of Waterford, MI, 78 years old. Mills is the person who stopped a potentially devastating suicide bombing at the Palace of Auburn Hills this past Sunday evening.

Interviewer: How are you, Mr. Wells?

Wells: Doing as well as a person can in this situation. Thanks.

Interviewer: Why don’t you tell us about yourself.

Wells:…Uh, well, I don’t talk much about myself. Don’t know where to begin to be honest.

Interviewer: Well, where do you work?

Wells: Work as a greeter at Walmart. Don’t like it, but it gives me a little extra grocery money. Gotta do something… Most people don’t notice me, so I’m good at watching people, that’s something that I got good at. Been doing it for about three years now. Retired about 10 years ago from Ford Motor Company, was a lineman there. I had a pension but it’s gone now. Shareholders took it after 08. Since the Recession I’ve lived on the Social Security and Medicare and in the job helps pay for the extra things, most everything anyway.

Interviewer: Why don’t you tell us about your granddaughter, who was the reason you were at the concert on Sunday.

Wells: Well, uh, I never got married but I did have one son from a girlfriend when I was in my 30s and that’s where my granddaughter come from. My son got the tickets to this show, wanted us to bond, got a ticket for this concert. I don’t go out much but the Palace is nice. And I do like seeing my granddaughter, although I don’t know if she likes seeing me that much.

Interviewer: What did you think of the show?

Wells: (pauses) I’ll be honest — it was very, very sexual. Very noisy and just gibberish. I don’t understand the appeal or a lot of the lyrics but the granddaughter was having a good time so that made me happy. But anyway we didn’t talk too much and and we took a couple of her other friends and I was in the lobby after the show waiting — waiting on them to get back from the bathroom. They was taking their sweet time, me just standing there watching people like I do and I noticed this one Middle Eastern looking fella coming in and I just happen to notice like this, cord dangling out of his hoodie pocket and he was kinda gripping it and as he walked up past me I got a good look at his face and I could tell something was really wrong with him. He was bugging out, for sure.

Interviewer: You’re referencing Hassan Alibana, the man who’s now in custody.

Wells: Yeah, him. He walked past me and I remembered this saying we had in Korea — we used to have this thing called “The Eye” and the saying goes, “If someone got the eye, someone gonna die” And this guy had the eye, 100 percent, so — and so I kinda watch him and I see he’s got the front of his hoodie unzipped and there’s this vest-thing underneath it and he’s sweating something fierce and I can hear him muttering under his breath. And I know he’s up to no good, but I wouldn’t have thought he had a bomb or anything, but I get behind him and I ask him what he’s doing and he freaks out on me. So I grab him in a headlock with one arm before he knows what’s going on, I’m still pretty strong, and I grab his hand that is going for the cord with my other hand and he’s screaming all this gibberish, foreign shit, kept saying a lot but I kept a good hold on his throat and I choked him out enough. I was just hanging onto him because I knew that if he pulled on that cord not only was me and him going to be dead but pretty much everybody else around us would be dead. But by then the other people are noticing and a bunch of the other dads came over and we all kept out of his hands away from that cord and in the scuffle someone kind of tore his hoodie and they were like, “He’s got a bomb, he’s got a bomb!” and by then security was over and somebody ended up putting a real chokehold on the guy and got him nice and agreeable and by then I was able to kinda scramble away. Got a little hard for a second there, but the cops got called and they talked to me and was like, “You know I’d hate to think what would happen if he had been able to pull that cord,” and, and so you know cops came and took him away and I want to the hospital and find out about my granddaughter, where she was at during all this, and that was pretty much it.

Interviewer: That’s an extraordinary story.

Wells: Yeah, haven’t had anything that exciting happen in years.

Interviewer: Was your granddaughter safe?

Wells: Oh, yeah, she was fine. On her phone the whole ride home, just like normal.

Interviewer: Well, I’m sure you’ve got a lot of other people that want to speak with you, so I’ll wrap this up. I want to thank you for your role in preventing this tragedy. Like the cops said, if you hadn’t noticed Alibana walking it’s likely he would’ve been able to detonate his suicide vest.

Wells: Don’t need to tell me. Yeah, it was mostly little girls and teenage girls and their moms in there — would’ve been horrible.

Interviewer: Well, thank God you were there. Do you have anything else to add, Mr. Wells?

Wells: … I’ll say this. I voted for Donald Trump, but I didn’t do it because I wanted him to win so much as I wanted Hillary to lose. And I think it’s time for people my age to to admit that we failed the whole passing of the torch thing. You know, we had the easiest pass off in history and it was so easy we forgot we was going to have to do it ourselves. And I don’t know that we can fix it now.

Interviewer: Well, as long as people like you are around, I think all have a chance. Thank you, Mr. Wells.

Wells: Thank you.