The Atomic Age

by EN Heim

Barrett looked up from the newspaper. He glanced at Gwynne. She was putting a spoonful of oatmeal and yogurt into her mouth. A Mantovani record played on the vintage turntable in the living room.

“You might say Gwynne; life isn’t the way it was.”

“At our age, what else is there? You know we’re just one step closer to the final curtain.”

Glancing out the kitchen window, Barrett noticed a sparrow poop on the windowsill. “When I was young, the whole world was at my finger tips.”

“And you let it slip through the holes.”

“Big ones,” cringed Barrett as he turned back to reading the newspaper. After finishing the article about cyber crimes, he said, “Looking back, I would say everything was simple then…no fuss; no hassle…life was easy and predictable.”

“Like bread and butter, milk and cheese…the basics.”

“Now, it’s Wonder Bread and margarine, soy-milk and Velveeta…industries’ marvel.”

Mussing, his eyes glance at the carton of pasteurized and homogenized milk. “You know it cost one buck to buy a quart of milk these days.”

“Remember it cost five cents?”

“You’re dating yourself Barrett.”

“Yeah and it wasn’t homogenized either, just pasteurized.”

“Remember the cream came to the top and we used to use it for coffee and cereal in the morning?”

“And you used it to keep your face smooth and pretty like.”

“Those were the days…simple and easy…nothing to clog-up day-to-day activity.”

“Until the threat of the atomic age.”

“Atomic annihilation.”

“The way things are going Gwynne, it pretty much took us over.”

“Those atoms sure do their thing, don’t they?” Reluctant to do the dishes, Gwynne gazed at the pile of empty bowls on the table. “Bit by bit.”

“I think I’ll just go to the john and empty a few out, and watch ’em flush down the drain.”

“Better drink your prune juice before you go, Barrett.”


EN Heim is retired and living in Germany. He came there out of Los Angeles, California’s diverse congestion. He finds Germany more uniform and congenial. He says there is diversity here, but you have to look for it—lots of chickens, cows, pigs and trees.


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