On the front steps of the church, Slade, Sarah, Gunther, and Ophelia Hutchins stood, staring in awe at what was in front of them.
“Is this thing going to kill me?” Gunther asked. The ex-deputy was looking more dapper than usual. His hair was pulled back in a pony tail and he sported a suit that looked like it had seen better days, but was an improvement just the same.
“Perhaps we shouldn’t talk, Mr. Beauregard,” Ophelia said. Busybody that she was, the overweight housewife had snookered her way in as Sarah’s Maid of Honor earlier in the day.
“No,” Gunther said. “I really want to know. Is this thing going to kill me? If that thing is going to explode and shoot flames at me I have a right to know.”
Mr. O’Brien pulled his head out from the heavy black curtain attached to his camera and addressed Gunther.
“It’s perfectly safe,” O’Brien said.
“Impossible,” Gunther said. “I read in the paper one of those things blew up at a hoedown in Kentucky and set a hundred people on fire.”
“It was only a dozen people,” O’Brien said. “And besides, that was a decade ago. The technology has improved greatly since then.”
“Do we not know what we all look like?” Gunther said as he stared at the flash standing on a pole next to O’Brien. “Do we really have to risk being burnt to a crisp just to commemorate what we already know?”
“Mr. Beauregard,” O’Brien said. “Photography is quickly becoming a part of life. Why, the top experts in the field have theorized that one day cameras will become so simple and compact that ordinary laymen will be able to carry these miraculous devices with them and document everything they see.”
“Why in the hell would anyone want to do that?” Gunther asked.
“I don’t know,” O’Brien said. “People might like to share their experiences with one another. If you see something interesting you could take a picture of it and show your friends.”
“I could just tell people what it looked like,” Gunther said. “And don’t people know what everything looks like already? If I see a tree, can’t I just tell you I saw a tree? Do you need to see a picture of the tree?”
“People could take pictures of each other,” O’Brien said.
“What kind of narcissistic jackasses would want to sit around taking pictures of each other all day?” Gunther asked. “And then what would they do? Show the pictures of themselves to each other? Sounds boring as all get out.”
“One day people might even be able to take pictures of themselves,” O’Brien said.
“Well now you’re just talking crazy,” Gunther said.
O’Brien returned under his curtain. “Now everyone please stay perfectly still for the next minute. Starting…now.”
“A whole minute?” Gunther asked.
“Let’s try it again,” O’Brien said. “Starting now.”
The wedding party remained solemn faced and perfectly still for sixty whole seconds. Sparks flew out of the flash. Gunther drew his sidearm and pointed it at the pole then seeing no danger, holstered his weapon.
“Sorry,” Gunther said. “Reflex.”
O’Brien popped out from under the blanket. “Yes,” the photographer said. “I do believe that will be lovely folks. I’ll have it ready in a month.”
“This world’s going to hell,” Gunther said.