The Dirt by John Wentworth Chapin

The coffin-sized pit in his basement wasn’t freshly dug. “If I was burying Cub Scouts, I wouldn’t have let you down here,” he joked, his voice thin.

It was pretty logical, but I was too creeped out for logic. Six months together! I said, “The truth.”

“The truth? You shouldn’t have come down here, you shouldn’t put me on the spot like this.”

I backed away toward the stairs, gripping the railing behind me, waiting for him to grab an axe; instead, I saw self-righteousness melt into tears.

“You think I’d hurt you? I’m the same person,” he blubbered. “You loved me five minutes ago.”

I didn’t answer.

“I dug it four years ago, the day I found out I was positive.” He waited for me to speak, like this was some answer. “I laid down in it. Pretended I was dead. It… it was good.”

“You’re not going to die,” I reminded him. “Not now.”

“Duh,” he said. “You said you’d love me no matter what.”

I let go of the railing. “It’s spooky! You could have told me.”

“Tell you I think I should break up with you, just to spare you eventual doom?” He gasped for air and pulled away when I touched his neck.

I climbed into the pit and beckoned, arms open. He wiped his eyes and breathed deeply, then climbed down. I put my arm around him and imagined our future as I held him in the dirt.


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Filed under John Wentworth Chapin

11 responses to “The Dirt by John Wentworth Chapin

  1. Oh my god this just totally slayed me. Tears.
    for real.

  2. Oddly sweet through the initial revulsion and fear. Beautifully worked, John.

  3. len kuntz

    wow, this was really powerful. great piece.

  4. John Riley

    Creepy opening paragraph but I couldn’t help but chuckle at “It was pretty logical, but I was too creeped out for logic.” What a great reaction! Logic is letting him down. And later all he can say is “It’s spooky!” That’s great! Enjoyed this a lot.

  5. guy

    Very tense. I think i didn’t exhale until i got to the end. There is a sense that something bad is going to happen which pulls me through the piece. Toward the end we find that the trauma is in the past. There it is staring the reader in the face. It’s much the same for the narrator. Clever.

  6. I was quite creeped out. I was thinking mass-murder … which in a way, it is.

  7. Kelly

    someone to hold you in the dirt…yes. that was beautiful. All the more so because of the latent comic potential with which you start off. Your people are living, breathing creations, and I love them. thanks for introducing me to so many of them over the past year.

  8. Michelle

    Damn, JWC, you really know how to end. The ending of this piece is great, and I am sad to see the last of your stories here… (can you hear the sigh?). But I am glad for this.

  9. That ending is an absolute killer. It’s a love story for real.

  10. randalhoule

    the characters sort of got buried in the plot… hehehe

  11. Pingback: Week #52 – Threesome | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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