I’m too lazy to find them and link to them so it will have to suffice that I’ve written past posts on my backyarcheological discoveries. Glass vessels mainly that intrigue me not simply for any historical significance they lend to the backyard, but because they’re there… and have been for years.
Well, one of my latest discoveries in the rear/right corner of the yard is this tetanus-shot-waiting-to-happen sheet of rusted tin siding that, for whatever reason, had been buried and left to disintegrate for who knows how long. And today became the day to dig it out… and perhaps see what it might be hiding beneath it (cue the ominous organ music).
So with shovel in hand I started clearing out the soil above and below the tin, and wouldn’t you know in the course of my excavating past countless pieces of broken glass, clay sewer pipe and other bits and pieces of whatever, I found two small bottles, a jar with its rusted lid still attached, a chip of what must have been a pretty piece of blue-and-white tableware, a small section of tile, a couple rusty nails and a devious looking piece of twisted iron:
The gloves are in the frame just to show you I’m not a total idiot when working around giant slabs of rusted metal (and also to point out that the dark patches on them are where I’ve sweated through the cowhide… this was tough work!)
Oh, and I shouldn’t forget the sarcaphagus cover (cue more ominous music). Not really, it was probably just some stylized paver, but with my runaway imagination of course it became a crypt cover… or a tombstone:
There were several other large fragments, but I wasn’t in the mood to piece them together. I was in the mood to let my imagination go play and it gladly locked onto a dog plantively barking somewhere nearby and who just so happened to start up as I started digging. I began to believe that the dog was actually a fifth-generation guard animal whose sole reason for existence was to sound the alarm if anyone began to start poking around where he had no business poking around. Like me.
I kept digging through the incessant yapping, which was loud enough to easily mask the approach some descendant of the original landowner come to disuade me from my explorations. I jumped at the sound of his voice.
“You ought not to be doing that.”
I turned and raised the shovel defensively as if to ward off an impending blow and found an older man standing a few feet down slope from me.
“Where the fuckâ€”! Who the hell are you?”
The geezer gave me a half smile. “Let’s just say I’m someone with a keen interest in stopping you from doing what you’re doing.”
“Just put the shovel down and quit putting your nose where it ain’t allowed.”
I just stared, mouth wide open at the nerve of this guy. That’s when I saw the knife in his hand. No, not a knife… a machete. Well used. In a flash he had covered the distance between us and kicked the shovel out of my hand. Raising the long blade, the sun glinted off it and I lunged forward grabbing him by the wrist. But something felt strange. He was too strong for someone so old and his wrist felt like nothing but skin and bone â€” literally.
And the smell! I couldn’t pinpoint it until I looked him square in the eyes and saw them all opaque and… dead. That was it! He smelled like a corpse!
With all my strength I pushed against him and he tumbled to the ground, but before I could run he was up and coming at me again with the blade high, and my last thought as the blade came down and met my neck was how fast he moved for a dead guy.
See… I told you my imagination can go on a rampage. And wouldn’t you know at a point when I stopped to wipe the sweat from my brow, there came the crunch of something moving through the groundcover and I turned with the shovel raised to find… Pumpkin the cat just looking for a place in the sun to lay down.
“Jeez Pumpkin, you gave me a scare.”
And then the dog stopped barking at the same time Pumpkin looked up at me and said, “You ought not to be doing that.”
And I came inside quickly to get out of the sun.
The end result was that by digging a big cove into the berm against the back wall I was finally able to release the big piece of tin from its underground mooring and dispose of it properly.
And with some relief discovered there was no tomb beneath. Just a bunch of more dirt. Oddly though, that dog didn’t stop barking until I quit digging.