Brian swiped his badge and pulled open the steel door. The handle was cold on his hand. The hallway turned to the left and again to the right a few paces down. His footfalls were loud, and the floor was clean and shiny with wax. He swiped his badge again and passed through another door.
“Oh, hey there Brian,” Bob said. Brian waved and passed by the man sitting at a small desk. The desk was shoved in the corner of the room and lined with wide-screen monitors. Bob crawled out from behind the screens and hurried down the hall. “Wait up,” he called out.
Brian slowed his pace but didn’t stop. “How we doin’ today?”
“Oh, ’bout the same,” Bob said. “We just keep plugging away, ya know?” His sneakers were quiet, and the key chain clipped to his belt jingled as he jogged. He caught Brian at the next security door and followed him in.
“Good,” Brian said. “We may be getting another contract next month, so stay on top of it.” Brian stopped in front of a large pane of glass. On the other side, bombs lined rack after rack after rack. Little bombs painted green with yellow tips, big bombs painted silver with red tips, black bombs that looked bloated and ready to burst.
“Who for?” asked Bob.
“Who do you think?” Brian said, not turning to look. He leaned forward and pressed his head against the glass. “Ah, my little angels,” he said. “All tucked in and sleeping and waiting for their time to fall from the sky.”
Bob gave him a crossed look. “I can’t believe they keep putting in orders for more.”
Brian turned his head. His hair left a smudge of grease on the spotless glass. “Why?”
Bob shrugged. “How many damn bombs does a country need? We barely even go to war anymore.”
Brian smiled. “War doesn’t stop, Bob. It doesn’t go away. It just waits awhile. Sometimes it waits a good while before it comes around again, but it always does. It’s like a mangy dog waitin’ for some cute little bitch to fuck.”
Bob only shrugged again and looked at the grease smudge.
“Don’t worry,” Brian said. “It may feel like things have changed, but they haven’t. Mankind hasn’t changed. Politicians shake hands and smile and make promises to one another. Then they go home and build more bombs, more bullets and more airplanes. They upgrade their tanks and train another batch of elite fighters. Then they go on TV and tell the world that everything is fine and we’re all safe and cozy. It’s enough to keep the people calm, but nothing’s changed. Know how to tell if the world’s changed?”
“How’s that?” Bob asked.
Brian turned and looked through the glass again. “You’ll know the world has changed when they stop telling us to make more bombs.”