Love Bomb
An SJ author brings a terrorist to a Haddonfield wedding
By Lisa Zeidner

Zeidner, Lisa (c) Ken Yanoviak



Rutgers-Camden professor Lisa Zeidner’s latest book takes a humorous look at the dark side of the suburbs. A native of Haddonfield, Zeidner uses her hometown as the setting for her unsettling mix of domestic terrorism, marriage, stalkers and the indignities of parenthood. She has chosen this excerpt for SJ readers.




The bride did not wear white. But the terrorist did.

The bride wore a fitted dark blue cocktail dress, shimmering and shiny, the color of a duck caught in an oil spill. The terrorist, however, wore the most conventional gown of white satin and lace, complete with veil.

The guests had already crowded into the great room to await the bride. Until this moment, the biggest anticipated setback had been the threat of bad weather that had forced the ceremony indoors. The bride and groom, who had been discouraged from an outdoor summer wedding for this very reason, seemed not only stoical about the approaching storm but jauntily pleased; and when, just as suddenly, the thunder skittered away and the sun broke through, guests who believed in a higher power could note that said Being had just offered a wink and a nod, or blessed the proceedings.

Those who needed to sit had sat. Instead of the familiar strains of Pachelbel’s Canon, the assembled guests heard a series of whirs outside the door from what sounded like a power drill. While they turned to face the noise, the terrorist, not Tess, made an entrance from the opposite side of the room, from the French doors that led to the backyard. She did one runway strut down what passed for an aisle. Then she just spun around to face the crowd and allowed everyone, including the wedding photographer, to get a long look.

With her wedding dress, the terrorist wore what looked like an old World War II gas mask, bulky as a scuba diver’s. You couldn’t see her eyes through the plastic portholes, because over the gas mask she wore wraparound mirrored sunglasses. Her veil was far too heavy for bridal purposes—more like a burqa. Threaded from the gas mask to her arm was some kind of small black box, attached with what many of the guests immediately recognized as an iPod armband. On the box, a small button flashed.

Since her gown was strapless and her arms bare, you could see the box quite well. The arm wearing it was clearly a woman’s arm. A very fit woman’s arm. This woman had put in some serious time on the Nautilus machines, or with free weights, the younger men would later agree, when her arms became a central question: How could anyone who knew her fail to recognize those arms, those hands? Granted, it was possible she had been fat before, in training for this, her big day of mayhem, grunting through chin-ups deep into the night. Still. Shouldn’t the person in question—the person she wanted to hurt, the person responsible for endangering the lives of sixty-odd innocent bystanders—recognize the tone of her skin, her elbows?

The black box was practically the only dark item on her body and thus meant to be seen, as were the boots. The wedding dress had been intentionally hemmed too short, so it wasn’t just the toes of her shoes that protruded but the entire clunky things. The terrorist wore steel-reinforced-toe work boots identical to those of any road construction crew or cable installation dude, except that the boots had been spray-painted white over stencils, so they actually looked like white-and-cream lace. The shoelaces had been spray-painted white, too

It would have been easy enough—easier, in fact—to buy white shoelaces. The caked paint on the laces was disconcerting, and gave the shoes the look of something that would be in a museum, in a big Plexiglas case, posturing as art.

The veil was so long that it hid part of her waist, so only as she walked, at certain angles, could you see that she wore a belt that appeared to be made entirely from rounds of ammo, on the side of which was somehow balanced or clipped—as if it were a cell phone—a sawed-off shotgun? Not a Soldier of Fortune crowd, but it appeared to be a sawed-off shotgun.

March 2013
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