Half asleep, I thought it was one of the neighborhood girls screaming to high heaven. By the time I got to the little piney wood at the end of the lane, the Williper Street Boys had my nephew Smitty buried up to his sputtering lips. The red clay of South Alabama was making mud around his wet nostrils and tear-streaked rosy cheeks, and his blue eyes were closing with fear.
“He picked being buried alive, mister!” said Job Hackerby. “We gave him the choice of gettin’ buried or the Death Ray of Death. And he picked buried.”
My jaws got even more tart. I hate being called ‘Mister.’
“Lord of the Flies! Lord of the Flies!” Timmy Infinger said as he jumped around in a crazy jig and shook his carved oak staff. I noticed he was accompanied by the smell of french vanilla ice cream.
“No we’re not!” said Job as he bit into a nougat-filled candy bar, his round face exploding with an unusual amount of color. “We’re Apocalypse Now!”
“Pooka lips now! Pooka lips now!” said Job’s baby brother Attaway as he reached up for the candy but was slapped away.
“Come on, Smitty,” I said. “Let’s get you out of that hole.”
“You’re a jackass!” the oldest of the boys, Micky Masterson, said to me. “You can’t just come in here and mess up the Game like that! God! We planned this for three whole weeks!”
“I can just come in here too,” I replied. “Do you know who you’re talking to in that tone, son?”
I had gone to high school with Micky’s father John. The man never had any time for his kids. Micky got the brunt of it all, and it made him an out-an-out bully.
He glared at me. I took the shovel away from Job and started digging.
“Alright, then, boys. Death Ray of Death,” Micky said in the most menacing whisper I have ever heard. And before I knew what was happening, the gang had their guns pointing at me--six-shooters, snub-noses, machine guns, rifles, and space opera contraptions looking more like rocket ships than weapons. Then, with one collective ‘Rooooooooooooooo!’ from the young criminals, I buckled to the ground, the electrocuting pain from their death-rays collapsing my legs like two brittle twigs.
When I came back to consciousness, I was buried to my chin in red Southern Alabama clay--and it was only my quick-witted promise to cut each boy a slice of my wife’s famous pumpkin pie that saved the lives of me and my nephew.
Skadi meic Beorh
Editor, Barking Rain Press
Acquisitions Editor, 27th Dimension Publishing
Skadi meic Beorh is the author of the novella The Highwayman’s Tale (27th Dimension Publishing), the poetry study Golgotha (Punkin House Press), and the story collection A Crazy Child Called Pinprick (27th Dimension) as well as a number of out-of-print books. Having made abode in many places and seen many wondrous things, he presently lives in an Edwardian neighborhood on the Atlantic Coast with his exceedingly imaginative wife Ember.