It’s a drizzly grey afternoon. I’m standing in a five foot deep by five foot wide hole in the ground. A man is standing above me holding a pickaxe and smoking a cigarette.
“Dig you bastard,” he says menacingly. “Dig.”
“I think I’ve dug enough,” I whine.
“We dig until we can bury two people in this hole.”
Sounds bad, I know, but have no fear. A hit man hired by a consortium of angry restaurant owners isn’t about to kill me and dump my remains in an earthen grave I’ve been forced me to dig for myself. I’m helping my brother with a landscaping project in his back yard.
“Its starting to rain and my back hurts,” I protest. “You dig for a while.”
My brother has to erect a fence in his backyard so his 80 pound German Shorthaired Pointer, Pearl, will have a safe place to romp around in. Before the fence can be installed the ground in the yard has to be leveled. Last week my brother and I broke up the decrepit remains of a stone garden wall built by the previous owner. Since paying for chunks of busted granite to be hauled away is prohibitively expensive, my brother came up with an interesting plan — dig a big hole, bury the rocks, and use the excavated dirt to level the yard.
“You know,” my brother says, looking at the immense heap of dirt piled next to the hole, “This isn’t gonna be enough dirt.”
“I could’ve told you that,” I say, prying another spadeful of earth from the ground. “You’re gonna have to buy some kind of fill or something.”
“It isn’t buying the dirt that pisses me off,” my brother replies. “Its the delivery charges.”
“Listen,” I say, dropping my voice to a whisper. “Have your wife steal some human remains from the hospital.”
“Why?” my brother asks carefully.
“Throw a couple of femurs and a skull into the hole and tell the police we found them while digging.”
“Now why would we want to do that?”
“The cops will bring in earthmoving equipment to look for more bodies,” I reply. “They’ll level the yard for you. Get the FBI to do your landscaping.”
“You know,” my brother says thoughtfully. “That’s not a bad idea.:
“Now get the missus on her cell phone. Tell her I’ve got some duffle bags in my car.”
My brothers neighbor, a policeman, steps out on his deck and looks at the hole in the ground.
“How’s it going guys?” he calls out.
“It’s going,” I reply, exhausted.
“Hard work burying dead hookers,” my brother says, smiling.
The neighbor lets out a laugh and walks back inside his house. He’s off duty.
“You know,” I say, watching the cop walk back into the house, “Now hell never suspect a thing. Advertise to serial killers on the internet and tell em they can bury their dead hookers in your yard for $5000 a pop.”
“I could use the money,” my brother replies. “And think how nice the flowers will look in the garden.”
“Excuse me sir,” I say, imitating the warbling pitch of spinsterish garden society doyennes voice.” But how do you get your roses to grow so big?”
“Decomposing prostitutes madam,” my brother replies. “Decomposing prostitutes.”
“Sure beats the hell out of Miracle Gro.”
“We could call it Serial Killer Gro.”
“I’m partial to John Wayne Gacy Gro myself.”
“We could put a clown face on the box.”
“And do a marketing tie-in with Ted Bundy Potting Soil.”
“Man,” my brother says, “We are sick individuals.”
“I prefer to think of it as unappreciated genius.”
The rain starts coming down faster. My brother pulls me out of the hole. We toss in the rocks and cover them with earth.
“Not bad,” my brother says, packing the soil. I step back a few paces and appraise our handiwork.
“This hole looks like it was dug by a Gravedigger School dropout,” I say.
“Yeah,” my brother replies. “But still not bad for two guys who haven’t played in the dirt since they were five and eight.”
The sky opens. Rain drops impact the freshly turned earth like muddy meteor strikes. Time to call it quits.
“But when we were little,” I say, “Mom wouldn’t give us beers when we finished digging our hole to China.”
“The benefit of getting older,” my brother says.
“Yes,” I reply. “Access to alcohol.”
Aching and tired, the unappreciated geniuses run back inside the house. We track mud all over the kitchen floor and relax with a few cold ones until dinner time. What a pair we make.
And to some of my readers — I’m kidding about putting your dead hookers in my brothers yard. Its a joke. Seriously…….