Candice didn’t mind rowing with Judy. It was her use of thermonuclear weapons that she didn’t like. “Why is it that every petty little argument we have ends up with ten to fifteen million innocent people being vaporized?” Candice would ask. Calmed from her storm and mute with remorse, Judy would look down at the ground, drawing circles in the carpet with her shoe. “Dunno. Just me, isn’t it? I’m a twat, I guess”. The rows had a pattern. Candice would point out a slight: Judy’s tardiness, her untidiness, her habit of throwing shellac gramophone records at hens. Judy would retaliate that Candice was moody or picky. Candice would hit back, pointing out Judy’s control issues and then before the two of them knew it, Judy would run over to the missile control panel in the bedroom, initiate the launch sequence and hit the red button. She would stand, arms crossed and look at Candice as if to say: “See? Now look what you made me do.”

The evening news would carry stories of nuclear holocaust in cities all over the world. Mega-deaths counted in tens of millions. Infrastructure reduced to ash, humanity extinguished in the blink of an eye. “This has got to stop!” exclaimed Candice after they watched another bulletin showing grim reportage of carbonized bodies, contorted in agony. Judy nodded. “I know, I know”. After a few teary nights of remorse, Judy eventually agreed to have counseling. She’s six months in and things have improved no end, although they’re by no means perfect. Compromises have been reached: Judy no longer launches thermonuclear missiles at innocent people. Now, when she and Candice row, Judy grabs a Kalishnikov and fires it into a bus queue or groups of children at school gates. At worst, perhaps thirty to fifty people die. As Candice tells her: “I never dreamed we’d get to such a lovely place in our relationship. I’m so very proud of you”.