Don’t Be Me

It was cold and dark and, although I lay on smooth, satin padding, I had less than a foot to move in any direction. I knew exactly where I was- the guys had locked me in a coffin and buried me and I can’t say I was entirely surprised. We’d done it to other guys.

I knew sooner or later my crew would turn on me. There was always someone thinking they could take my place. They couldn’t, actually, but they didn’t know that. They’d just be getting stoned one night and plotting their mutiny. Thinking up all sorts of instances where they’d imagined I’d slighted them. Sure, I know those guys. Every crew is the same. You treat them well but they never know how good they have it. Now look at this.

From what I could feel, they’d dressed me in the traditional suit with the flower on the lapel. They’d thrown in my camera, a nice touch perhaps, since I’d always taken pictures of our sedated victims. I assumed no one had taken a picture of me- unless they had before they’d thrown the camera in.

I fumbled around with the camera- they’d hung it around my neck- and took a photo of the blackness. It was my impulse to document everything.

When we first started doing this I had a few of those nights where I’d hear a thump downstairs and my eyes would pop open- I’d think what if the guy dug his way out and came after me. But we worked out how impossible it would be even with some of the bigger guys. There’s all the weight of the dirt pressing down on the lid, the lack of oxygen, etc. I mean, by now we’d all become experts on the subject.

So I laughed for a little while. I got a kick out of thinking that maybe they could somehow hear me.

Then I rolled over onto my stomach and punched a hole in the floor of the coffin. You can channel all your energy in order to punch that hard from a few inches away, if you know martial arts.

I widened the hole and dug down, packing the dirt down into the end of the coffin as I gradually burrowed down into the earth. My path went down and then sideways and then upward. I breathed as little as I could and kept burrowing and burrowing.

Just as I got to the surface though, my eyes popped open in the blackness and what do ya know, there I was still locked in my little satin box. My dream sure felt real. But there were flaws if I’d really been paying attention. First of all, I don’t know martial arts.

I lay completely still, eyes wide open but seeing nothing.

I heard what sounded like a trumpet. You gotta be kidding me. The angel of death blowing his horn, right? They do this when everyone dies? The trumpeting went on, becoming more and more deafening. I covered my ears.

Then there was a knocking. It came from underneath, I could feel the vibrations on the wood. There was a prying noise as the bottom of the coffin was pried downwards. I slid to one side, face-to-face with some beady little eyes. A clammy hand grabbed my hair and dragged me through the opening and downwards.

As I was being pulled downward through the dirt and it was getting warmer and warmer I got a little worried. Then I remembered the camera and as I began to see the flickering red light and scenes of demonic torture I clicked away, gleefully documenting my descent. When I ran out of film I unhooked the camera from my neck and left it in the dirt tunnel for someone to find some day, to be warned. “Hey kids! Don’t be me!”

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