The NERVOUS STOMACH Series: Ego-Strategy 24 — SINK HOLE

Posted: August 18, 2013 in The NERVOUS STOMACH Series
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Saturday, April 26, 2008

The NERVOUS STOMACH Series: Ego-Strategy 24 — SINK HOLE 

Current mood: Loving that Cooper!

Category: Loving that Cooper! Life

 

 

I’m fifty-three and gardening.  We’ve hit a record high today (eighty-six degrees) so, even though it’s April, I’m wearing shorts.  My knees dig into the warm earth and it feels fine to be alive.  My tough-acting, tender-hearted husky, Cooper, sniffs around the early season tulips nearby. 

 

I just have a small city garden — nothing like the big patch out behind the barn I had as a kid.  But I still like planting my own tomatoes and zucchini and, if I can keep the squirrels out, strawberries. 

 

I’m just turning the soil with my trowel when a sound like what I imagine an avalanche must sound like engulfs me.  I vaguely hear furious barking as I, my trowel, my six-inch Beefsteaks, and Cooper get sucked into the ground.  Not just falling — there’s actually a sucking sound to the swirl of dirt around us.  Too late, I realize we have fallen prey to my city’s most recent scourge: subterranean sink holes.  They’ve been cropping up all over in the wake of this unnaturally warm spring.

 

We juggled back and forth violently for a few seconds, going down and down, and it’s dark, and now colder, and I’m coughing.  Then we kind of mush-more-than-hit into what must be the bottom of a sink hole — in this case, a mucky mixture of dirt, groundwater, and last year’s tomato vines.

 

As one might imagine might happen in a sink hole, I begin to sink. 

 

“Cooper!” I shout, as my knees slowly disappear into the muck. There’s enough light coming down from the sunny, eighty-six-degree day above that I can make out shapes and, as the dirt-dust settles, bones.  Dead people’s bones.  I see pelvises, skulls, and several arms and legs.  They are not white and polished like you’d see on TV — they are spotted and creepy.  The ground is choked with them as far as I can see.

 

“Cooper!” I am screaming now. 

 

My black-and-white husky pops into view across what I’ve decided must be some underground burial cavern.  I see that the ground is mucky under him, too, but with his four short legs, he’s having better luck doing a half-scramble, half-doggie paddle.  Somehow, he’s staying on top of the sludge.

 

My knees are completely gone, and the ground is now threatening to engulf more sensitive areas.  Areas that men prefer not to have threatened.

 

I try to throw my body sideways (I read somewhere that you have a better chance in quicksand if you are horizontal) but I’m only partly successful.  Now my right hip and elbow are disappearing. 

 

Cooper reaches my side, assesses the situation, and barks in rapid, spit-fire fashion.  If we were in the house, I’d think he wanted a snackie.  But here, at the bottom of a creepy graveyard/sink hole, I’m having trouble reading him.   

 

He gives up on me and makes his way to the nearest pile of bones — somebody’s rib cage.  Clamping it in his jaws, he drag-swims it to my side. I grab at the mass of bone and cinch my arms around them. 

 

My sinking slows.  Now I get what Cooper’s trying to tell me.

 

“The bones aren’t sinking!  Fetch, Boy, get the bones, get me more bones!” 

 

I sense Cooper’s desire to roll his eyes at my command — to let me know that he’s way ahead of me.  He continues the difficult work of negotiating the cavern bottom, dragging bone after bone to my side.  The pile grows exponentially as I help out — tearing my shirt into strips and using them to lash the bones together, forming a makeshift lattice. Together, after much excruciating work on both our parts, Cooper and I are able to make a tall enough bone pile to scramble up to freedom.

 

Later, after we lay gasping in the warm sunlight for a good long time, but before I take a shower and call the city’s sink hole hotline, I mix some of Cooper’s most favorite snacks in his food bowl and invite him to partake. 

 

He barks appreciatively.      

 

    For FUN, I put my stuff at www.GregoryGerard.net

For SERIOUS, I put my stuff at www.JupitersShadow.com

I invite you to visit my stuff.

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