A man dug a ditch

Editor’s note: “A man dug a ditch” is a short story by Joe Imwalle. It is the first reader-submitted piece of writing to be published on Hoppinworld.com, and hopefully not the last. Send your submissions to John@Hoppinworld.com.  Big thanks to Joe.  Enjoy.

A man dug a ditch.
The ditch ran the length of a building.
Beads of sweat fell from his brow as he dug.
He hit a rock with his shovel.
The rock was not a rock.
It was the shell of an old turtle.
He dug it up.
Inside the shell was a small universe.
It was stuck to the shell.
He pushed his finger in it.
It felt like moist cake.
He scooped some out.
Stars fell from the caked bits.
They were wet and oily.
Star oil trailed down his wrist.
He dug his whole hand into the shell.
He pulled it back out.
He squeezed the little known universe in his hand.
Planets and more stars oozed out.
They oozed out between his fingers.
He opened his hand.
He leaned in closer.
Inside, he saw the remains of a densely populated area.
They had built up so much in the name of progress.  He could tell just by looking.  At some point it had become obvious to everyone that the progress had progressed too far and was now wreaking havoc on their lives and spreading strife and misery to all corners of their world and beyond into their cosmos.
Their suffering was over.
The man told himself their suffering was now finally over.
He dropped his shovel and flung the universe back in the ditch.  He decided now was a good time for a nice long lunch break.  His boss was gone for the day scoping a new construction site.  They’d only just broken ground two days ago.
Yes, a real nice long lunch break and no one to bother him.

Joe Imwalle, 2015

Cliff nine, At the opera

People say, “I was so happy, I was on cloud nine.”

Meanwhile, I’m on cliff nine.

When I lived in New York city, I had season tickets for the opera.  To take girls.  It was expensive to get those tickets, but it was a great date.

I’d buy a couple glasses of champagne and we’d drink it on the balcony overlooking the fountains.

I sat way up on top where you could see the gold leaf peeling off of the ceiling.  It was what I could afford.

I asked my date, “Baby, have you ever been to the opera?”

She said, “Yes I have.  But I never sat so far away.”