Thursday, November 29, 2007

Chapter 11: An Earthly Gong

When Dave heard about the bathtub incident he was more skeptical than I'd hoped. Even after the viewing the footage, he insisted that the ladybugs weren't moving enough to convince him that they hadn't been placed there. He had similar qualms with the cel phone footage, grilling me about the jitteriness of the footage. I would've been more defensive had I not already weathered the barrage of doubting (and often downright accusatory) emails in response to my video post. So by the time his insinuations struck I was placid and resigned. I was starting to doubt it myself, really.
His interrogation was even a little humorous to me, because he was making these grand efforts to circumvent directly insulting me by suggesting that someone (with a supplementary glance towards the road outside) may be pulling a prank. But we both knew I was the only one living in the house, and the only other people in the vicinity were making a poorly-scripted ninja movie in his backyard at the time. We both knew he didn't believe me.

A series of uneventful days passed, no word from the bugs. Lincoln warmed up, despite the approaching winter.
Lu and I spent Thanksgiving in the woods behind our house eating Turkey sandwiches from the Subway down the road. We played in the leaves and watched a large Portuguese family celebrate at a campsite nearby. When they began tossing a beachball around Lu became blinded by his own dogdom, and we walked back to the house.

Things seemed to be normalizing. I grew a beard.

And then the unthinkable happened...

I shaved it off.

And then, a few days after that, something even realer happened:
I came home from the bank to find Dave scooping dirt away from the shed with his beloved Bobcat. I'd assumed that the trail had officially "gone cold" after the "find" incident, and when I jogged over to him he offered no explanation for his renewed vigor, "Hey Shmavvy, think i got something here..."
He dumped a last load of earth onto a new pile adjacent to The Mound, and hopped out of the cab.
"I think I hit a fuckin' wall!" he proclaimed, walking over to the nose of his trench (which had sloped a foot or two deeper from where we'd left it weeks ago), which was now cutting behind the shed by a foot or so. He got down on his knees and scraped away some of the dirt, revealing a little patch of greenish cement just left of where the pipe punched through. He slapped it with his hand in joyful confirmation, and to both of our surprise, there was what appeared to be a deep resonance.

"Did you hear that shit?!" he shouts, but before I can answer, he kicks it. Sure enough, we hear a very low-pitched hollow ring that lasts for several seconds.
"Whoa," says my mouth, "are you sure that's cement?"
"Fuckya, just a thin freakin' wall!"
I am momentarily distracted by his random substitution of "freakin'" for "fuckin'" - as if somewhere in his head, subconsciously, he knew that two "fucks" in one sentence just wasn't as romantic.

I jump in and wiped away more of the dirt, revealing more and more of the wall. Dave gets two shovels from the shed, and we both work in opposite directions, he trenching towards the woods and I towards the house, dinging the wall periodically to hear its satisfying report. Two feet down the line I hit a corner! The wall makes a ninety degree turn towards the river, parallel to the back of the shed. Dave rushes over to help, and in twenty minutes we've worked our way to another corner, turning the wall back along the river.

By then it is obvious what shape we are unearthing. At ground level, a half foot in or so from our trench is a rickety fence, sectioning off an area about fifteen feet by thirty feet. At one time a garden, it now barely cages rampant weeds and abandoned children's toys. And now we know that there is a thin wall of cement forming a rectangle of similar dimensions directly underneath it.

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