So It Goes, Part 28: Roothenge

October 3rd, 2009

When I got home I had to run the gauntlet. There was my sister, in the driveway, leaning against a Dodge Dart, talking to a guy. She greeted me and said, “Kurt, this is my brother, the one who writes the column in the paper. Greg, I’d like you to meet…” I hurriedly shook his hand and went inside, driven, thinking only of escaping this world and going underground.

“Can you help me open this?” mom said, rushing up to me with a can of Ragu spaghetti sauce. My brother was sitting in the chair, unmoved. I twisted the top and it opened with a satisfying “pop.”

“Thank you,” she said. “These hands of mine…”

“Uh-huh,” I said.

Then at the kitchen was my father. “I’m going out to Zayre’s. Want to take a drive?”

“Not right now,” I said. I hear the same response now from my children and I am disappointed. At that time I had no thought about my parents whatsoever except as a source of supplies.

“Could I borrow the shovel?” I asked him.

He told me where it was. “What are you going to do with…?” I heard mom say.

I got the device and went back to the site. I had not noticed this before but the orange construction vehicles were arranged in a circle, a suburban version of Stonehenge: the truck, the small bulldozer, the hole digger, and two other vehicles I did not recognize. The site had a mystical feel, an atmosphere of change, of movement. The thick gray clouds seemed to descend and the air was filled with mist. You could practically hear a chorus of druids singing in the background.

I climbed down in the hole. I started to dig. This must be against the law, I thought. Practically everything out of the ordinary was against the law. I began to hit thick obstacles: tree roots, that were woven together in a protective barrier against intruders like me trying to invade the Land Beneath.

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