Burst – How We Decon


How We Decon


“Oy hey, stop the drill,” he said (his name is Jules).  “Hey, mean it, stop the drill!”

In the field of environmental investigation and remediation, it is common to undertake analysis of dirt.  This means you drill holes into the ground and pull up what you find, analyze, and occasionally send it to the lab to understand what nasty buggers might be lurking about.  Jules had encountered something as he operated the drill rig in the middle of a farm field.

“What is it?” called Knicker (this is a nickname).

“Draw up, draw up!”

The auger comes out, and stuck against the end of it is a piece of red metal; in fact, it’s a piece of the roof of a car.

“That’s not really normal,” says Knicker.  “Got a shovel?”

Digging in a remote farmer’s field on a sunny Friday afternoon with low humidity and lots of sunshine allows you to feel like you are really working after about an hour of digging.  The excavation is successful; there is a taillight, a rear windshield, the trunk, and below that the spot where a license plate should be.  A little water from the decontamination barrel clears away the dirt on the back.

“It’s this year’s Opal Skysuck,” says Knicker.  “That’s impossible.”

“Call it in,” returns Jules.  Knicker goes over to the phone and explains to head office that there’s a car made this year under two feet of soil in a farmer’s field, about 12000 km from the place where a car like this is supposed to be made.  Jules isn’t listening.  He has a crowbar; long and green, all beaten up, it gets the trunk open in a hurry.  “Oh boy,” he says to himself.  “Oh boy, oh boy.  Knicker!  Hang up!”

Knicker takes a breath when he comes over.  “Is that…  How can that be possible?  Jules, seriously, that’s…”

“Yah,” says Jules.  “It’s a pizza.”  The box is wet with grease, the cheese is still warm enough that it’s runny.

“But there’s no Pie Plus Wings in town!” cries Knicker.  “How could it get this far?”

“I dunno.  You hungry?”

“Not that hungry!”

Jules scratches his head.  “I know what to do.  You can’t call this in, though.  This is like a salvage.  A car like this, it’s worth a half-year’s salary.  The rig should be able to pull it out if we dig a bit more and get the chains out to the front.”

By quitting time, they’re sweating and have dug most of it out.  When the sun vanishes, they’ve got the chains attached and are revving up the drill rig.  The car slides out easily, and after a bit of water spray, it’s looks shiny and new except for the patch of metal that’s been pulled out of the roof.  Fortunately, it’s a convertible.

Jules and Knicker always solve their problems with rock-paper-scissors.  Jules wins and gets in the car.

“That is one nice looking Skysuck,” remarks Knicker, standing outside.  The gas tank’s full; the radio comes on full blast when Jules hot-wires it, plays dubstep.  “Pull down the roof,” drools Knicker.  It slides open, so Knicker hands him some shades and wishes him well.

Jules backs out of the field and puts on the shades.  The pizza box is next to him, on the passenger side seat.  He takes a slice as he pulls onto the main road, then revs it up.  In 4 seconds, he’s over the speed-limit.  The wind is in his hair (he doesn’t have hair); he’s learning to love mushrooms again (he doesn’t put mushrooms on his pizza); and when he blows through the stop sign, he cranks up the speed and finally puts on the headlights.  He’s in the middle of the country, out in no where, but the beam lights reflect in the eyes of the animals in the bush that are watching him go.  They’re all wondering who he is, where he got that nice ride, where he’s going in such a hurry.  Jules waves, turns up the music.  After that, he’s gone.

Dream hard, rage hard.

12 thoughts on “Burst – How We Decon

  1. Wow, I love this. In all honesty, I generally skim-read blog posts, but this had me word for word. How you conjure up such an atmosphere with a very sparse style amazes me. Really great work.

  2. Sparse certianly is sugar. I find in my short stories I do to many fillers trying to describe everything, and I find reading stories with a bunch of fillers to be tedious and annoying to endure.

    1. If you have to think about writing it, don’t. Writing is an exercise in eschewing restraint; editing is a matter of imposing it. The two things converge when you don’t second guess the ability of a reader to fill in the blanks.

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