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18 Trinitite

Kindred sleeps with eyes taped open. Flickering blue Joy Motel sign tickling hardglazed eyeballs. Sizzling retinal memory. Mushroom cloud.

The watcher hovering, his breath moist on Kindred's forehead. Refrigerator, blast-propelled, killed a cow. Kitchen table landed in Mexico.

Knife 'n fork, gone atomic, orbital, floating in spectral ellipses, space junk, spinning universal, out past Mars, on a mission to meet God.

Force of the blast dissipating youthful vapor in Kindred the Kid's nine year old skull. Instant wide-eyed grown up, awake in the shelter.

His father, a small cracked grin of satisfaction, the boom registered and official for all time. Celebration went all day and into the next.

Oh yes it was a lovely explosion chirped a six foot blond with big white horse teeth and a saturnine smile. Your daddy is a genius, really.

Trinity in the books. First nuclear explosion ever. 1945. New Mexico, Alamogordo Test Range, Jornada del Muerto desert. Hot squeaky sand.

Jornada del Muerto means Journey of Death, perfect. Kindred the Kid full of life, thought he was about to see a fireworks display. Dad lied.

No nuclear explosion ever popped off before. Must be monitored with fanatical devotion to ensure it met theoretical predictions. Fanatical.

Trinity. Three. Threesome. Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the Destroyer. July 16 1945, 5:29:45 A.M. (Mountain War Time).

Yield 20-22 Kilotons. Brigadier General Thomas F. Farrell described his impressions at S-10,000, a bunker 10,000 yards south of Trinity:

"In that brief instant in the remote New Mexico desert the tremendous effort of the brains and brawn of all these people came suddenly...

...and startlingly to the fullest fruition. Dr. Kindred, on whom has rested a very heavy burden, grew tense as the last seconds ticked off.

Dr. Kindred scarcely breathed. He held on to a post to steady himself. For the last few seconds, he stared directly ahead and then...

...when the announcer shouted "Now!" and there came a tremendous burst of light followed shortly thereafter by the deep growling roar...

...of the explosion, his face relaxed into an expression of tremendous relief. Several of the observers standing back of the shelter... watch the lighting effects were knocked flat by the blast. All seemed to feel that they had been present at the birth of a new age...

...The Age of Atomic Energy -- and felt their profound responsibility to guide into the right channels the tremendous forces unlocked...

...for the first time in history." Guide. Right channels. Tremendous forces. 12 committed individuals. Watchers. Fanatics. Disciples.

A blackened area of fused soil centered at ground zero. Heat baked into a glassy crust. Called Trinitite. As if invented by cynical admen.

Your smile will be white as right is right when you brush your teeth with Trinitite. That`s Trinitite! Look for tube with the nuclear glow.

Kindred the Kid waited in the motel room while his father, the eminent Dr. Kindred, had an all night meeting behind the locked door of 226.

The Kid listening to the radio reports, twiddling the brown plastic knob. Sinatra. Jack Benny. He didn`t sleep, he couldn`t close his eyes.

He found some tape in a drawer and taped his eyelids shut. But the glow of the blast lit up the inside of his retinas, unearthly gleaming.

They got into the car the next day. Set off for sunny LA, where Kindred the Doc was to be interviewed by the newspapers. G-Men in pursuit.

Now, 1968, Kindred peeling off the tape that holds his eyelids open, grinding the TV remote under his heel and staring into the mirror.

Image reflected alternating between Kindred the Kid and Kindred now. Between docdad and Dr. Kindred, between psychdaddy and the watcher.


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