We worked until dusk, when Lori arrived with food: two bowls of cheese tortellini (almost crunchy, as is Dave's wont), celery sticks with raisins mashed in their buttcracks, and pretzels with salt stripped off. A few bites in, when Dave thrusts his open hand at her and said "drinky" I think, "That's kind of abusive." But when she produces a canteen of water with a sippy straw in it, I kind of tear up: this is what love looks like. Abusive love maybe, but humoring love too. Jungleboy has finished his own customized dinner, and is surveying our excavation in his evening gala - 30% Ironman, 70% Crocodile Dundee. He's loudly enthusiastic about our progress, but in a placatory fashion, which suggests that he's more interested in the delaying of bedtimes than the unearthing of worlds.
And what a world we've discovered! Just two hours after Dave first laid eyes on the buried wall, we'd managed to remove a square foot of dirt all the way around it, and down about seven feet (where it curves inward to form a cement basin). We discovered that the walls do not, in fact, extend up to the surface of the yard. They stop short by a foot or so where they meet a lip of 2 inch thick cedar, jutting out at slightly varying widths. Minutes after that was complete, we carved away towards the center of the basin, down a foot or so to where the cedar lay. The sun was setting, but there was enough light to see that this wasn't just a single sheet of cedar we were exposing - twas a series of 12 inch-wide planks snuggled together and fastened with large iron fixings and hinges on the wings. At the center rested two massive brass rings, several inches thick. As confounding as it was, we could not deny what lay across the top of this secret structure: two massive doors.
Dave is positively giddy. To say that he is a Middle Ages enthusiast would be putting it lightly. His home is all but ensconced in Medieval regalia: just beyond his kitchen he's mounted a broad sword with a bullwhip snaking around it, both of which he nods to when e're he passes. He has a light shirt of chain-male that he wears to very special parties. He obsesses over video games like Oblivion and Knights of Honor.
All the terse military speak he's been peppering throughout this process is instantly exchanged for the regal terminology of the 1400's. Words like "behold" and "betwixt" get used and overused. I try not to catch the fever but it is too much, "M'lord, how do you propose we illuminate this crypt?"
"What the fuck are you talkin' bout Shmavvy?"
"How um... I can't see anything. How are we going to open it?"
"Fetch us a torch!" he shouts at Lori who is well within whispering distance. He violently extends his arm towards the house but she doesn't move.
"Oh, ya right," she scoffs, smoldering and turning to leave.
"NEVER SNEB ME IN THE PRESENCE OF MY MEN, WENCH! BRING FORTH THE TORCH!" he volleys.
"Whatever," she shoots over her shoulder as she stomps up the driveway with Jungleboy in tow. Dave and I stand in that sour moment for a while, blushing in the dark, holding our forks, bowls, canteen and what appears to be the ashes of their romance period.