My Grandfather's Implosion

Contributor: William Panara

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It was sunny the day they imploded my grandfather. He was 93 years old, wrinkled like a walnut shell, and had gotten the letter saying it was time. My whole family went to see it happen. We had our cameras so we could record the event. I still watch the video every now and then, in slow motion, dragging out those few seconds like a singer holding a note.

The day before, the doctors had gone in and fitted him. Liquid explosives were placed around his pelvis, up the bridge of his spine. He showed us the stitches and said he couldn’t feel the nitroglycerin inside him, the same way a person can’t feel their kidneys or pancreas. My dad was proud and hugged him. Most people get their letter in their 80s, and he’d been able to last until 93. He’d gotten useless later than the others, retained some semblance of value in spite of his age. But like everyone else, he eventually became a burden, outdated and in the way.

My little sister played with flowers and danced in the grass. The sun shined off my grandfather’s bald head, and he went into the field where they told him to go, arms stiff at his sides. A crowd had come to see, pointing their cameras, aimed in anticipation. There was a countdown and then someone hit the button. We heard a loud bang and Grandpa’s body immediately crumbled inward, legs buckling and torso coming loose. The detonation, as if his organs had exploded, his anatomical construction in the puberty of demolition. Smoke came out of his body like he was a cannon that had been fired. He was still smiling when his head popped off and fell straight down between his feet.

I looked at my father, saw the lines in his skin. He was clapping, just like everyone else, so I clapped too.

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William Panara owns six shirts and wears them in a steady rotation. His fiction has appeared in several places, including Pulp Metal Magazine and The Prose Poem Project. He lives in Beijing, China, and writes the humor blog Topiclessbar.
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