Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dig your own hole.

Dig Your Own Hole. 

“Dig your own hole,” says the masked man as he tosses a shovel in my direction. Through my loosely tied restraints I’m able to bend down for the shovel. What he can’t see is the knife I’ve got hidden in my boot that’s coming back up with me. The how’s and why’s I’m digging my own grave are a long story. Seeing how there’s a chance I’m gonna die in about twenty minutes, well then there’s not much time to waste with the formalities of the whole story. Since I’ve got several feet of dirt to get through, I’ll explain.

Funny thing about life is that there are a few chances to do the right thing and then there’s plenty of ways to do it wrong. The last place on earth I thought I end up right or wrong, dead or alive was on the doorstep of Hell’s Peak.

Spent nearly ten years digging graves for a living and oddly enough I find myself, possibly digging the last hole I’ll ever dig. Working as a grave digger, you’ll see some unusual things. Most of the time from the living. Dead, pretty much keep to themselves. Nothing I’d seen prepared me for the last few hours of my life.

Every now and then you’ll get a person who wants an extra few minutes with the deceased before they are laid to eternal rest. Most people wait until the holy folk are gone before making this request. Not this one. Not yesterday. Never laid eyes on anything like it. Wore a mask to the services. The kind you see on cyclists or liquor store robbers. Two oversized half dollars for eyes and swollen lips protruding outward. Should never trust a man if you can’t see his entire face. Slipped me $500 if I’d look the other way after the services. Of course I obliged him. I took as little as a handshake from the right person. For most folks it was another chance to say goodbye. Some sat next to the grave. Some talked. Some sang. Some danced. Others climbed on down in the hole with the box. To talk. To lie there. To listen. One time a lady begged me to start shoving in dirt. I didn’t. I couldn’t. I helped her get back out. Then there are a select few that are different. Occasionally we have to open the casket to make sure they aren’t still in there.

For this one, I knew he was different. And $500 wasn’t nearly enough to cover it.

Nothing could prepare me for that initial shock of horror. Strewn from here to thereafter among the stone markers, were the bodily remains of Mrs. Georgia Saintwater. Legs severed at the knee. Thighs, Hips and Torso quartered for quick removal of valuables.

Georgia Saintwater made her money from investing in the miracles of modern medicine. Rumor was that she had a trick knee made out of  gold. Apparently all the rumors were true. Now, stealing from the dead is one thing. Dismembering a woman for her stained glass hip is another.

Across the rows of stone markers out on the cemetery green is the masked man holding the arm from the deceased. As he was moving around I can visibly see three fingers plucked from the hand poked through the opening for his mouth. With a quick twist he snaps the fingers off, only keeping the rings. Rubies, emeralds, and diamonds. Silk undergarments with sewn in mother of pearl are scattered in shreds. Ears torn clean from the head. Diamond earrings that would garner a pretty dollar are seized. Her severed head minus the ears then gets kicked aside. Rapidly the masked man continued tearing away at the remaining pieces of dead flesh.

After my lack of reaction, all I could manage was a yell. “STOP!” A single unified attempt to keep the madman in his place. At the time it was enough. Dead standstill.

As I approached him there was no movement. No single breath. No hair of out place. Still like deliverance would be coming. Mine. But I didn’t see it.

Too many thoughts as I edge nearer.

Should’ve asked if he was a relative? They usually are.

Should’ve stuck around to watch? The money usually implies a sense of privacy.

Clear as daylight, calm as night the masked man jumped into the grave.

Should’ve brought my shovel with me? Never seen nothing like it. Wouldn’t stop me from dragging him out.

Should’ve done without the money this time. No one pays that much. Something was up from the start.

Slowly walking to the edge of the embankment I can see into the oversized hole. Nothing. Slower and slower I near the exact edge. Nothing.

Shaking my head, I reach up to wipe the sweat from my brow and look around. Nothing.

“Well, I’ll b-e…”

Down around my ankle, two skeleton hands wrapped tight. Pulling forward and dragging me into the hole. Head hits the side of a casket door with a hard bump. Not quite got my senses about me, yet I turn to face the sky only to come face to face with an unmasked dead man. Maggot covered flesh eaten away from bones, soon followed by the business end of my shovel. Damn.

Bringing me back to this good ol moment of ‘digging my own hole’ at the base of Hell’s Peak. Been digging graves long enough to know I’m reaching the 5 ½ foot mark. Masked dead man is standing over the pit, watching as I scoop and heft out rocks and dirt. No telling what the dead man wants with diamonds and gold. Last thing for me to be worrying about in this position. Crouching down he takes a closer look at the bottom. It would take a dead man to know how deep the hole ought to be. One hand locked tight around the handle while I loosely use the other to open my knife. Killing a dead man is an improbability. But that won’t stop me from trying. There’s only one way I’m going to die in a hole… and this bastard won’t be the reason or the last one standing over it.

We sometimes dig our own holes... don't we? Haha. Alright. Trying to keep this light. The delay upon delays have been produced by my preoccupation with a lack of space on my hard drive, which then in turn led the mind to work on all the ways I couldn’t accomplish the writing and then focus on things that should have been left… exactly where I left them. Isn’t it funny how we use something that works successfully in one area of our life and not apply to other areas? If it works in one instance then why not apply it all around? Digressed. So far pencil, pen and paper has worked best for writing over the last week. Well, I found the most remarkable book yesterday and then the same sentiment I’d discovered by reading was completely reaffirmed through a complete coincidence this morning. I love that! Anyhow, this tale was started last night among two others. One will be a fun coincidence and up in a couple days. I’ve been laughing about it, since this morning. For now… I'm heading back into it. Have a great night. Enjoy! m.

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