Aphelion Issue 277, Volume 26
October 2022
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
Submission Guidelines
Contact Us
Flash Writing Challenge
Dan's Promo Page

The Mysterious Hole

by Richard Stevenson

1. Interior Monologue

Your family has just moved to Takoma.
It’s moving day; the family St. Bernard
has scoped out a hole in the back yard
and is snufflin’, slobberin’, hooverin’,
and pawin’ away at his patch of lawn.

You decide maybe you’ve got a mole.
Begin to poke and probe with a long
hose, but don’t hit bottom at fifty feet!
That’s a lot of moles marchin’ single file!
You widen the hole, when your shovel hits brick.

You uncover what looks like a well.
Go on the Internet for the usual info:
former owners, property developments,
geographic and historical data,
text, photos… caveats and complaints…
Turns out former owners all battled the hole.

Some say it’s a former community well;
some say it’s part of a tunnel system
used to smuggle refugees into Canada –
or booze back in during Prohibition.
A group of amateur spelunkers offer to explore.

What the hey – it’s swallowed all
the rubber tires you bought from
the junkyard in lieu of gravel.
It’s sucked the lot outta sight!
Did that for others before you too!

Even spat back a lot of marble –
as if to say it gave it indigestion,
give it to Leonardo. You know the old
story of pebbles, gravel, and sand…
When is the water glass full?

One former owner freaked and fled the place.
No one’s found buried treasure, though
evidence suggests an underground stream
might still be trickling into a river …
Imagine that! Caverns! Maybe a lake!

It’s still waitin’: underground real estate!
Hell, you could put up a string of lights…
Dig left. Dig right. Put blue spot lights
on all the columns, stalag- and stalactites.
Build an amphitheatre. Bring in a pipe organ!

Get some poor acid burn dude
to play the Phantom. Sell action toys.
Hell, you could give Donald Trump
a run for his money! Go viral
on You-Tube. Become the next It Boy!

Yer cute enough; still have a full head
of hair. Maybe you could form a Goth
synth zombie band, play death metal
for the elderly. Hell, they’re half way
down the hole already. Sell blood and tonics.

Give pimple-faced geeks a sandbox
to play in. Have ‘em wire up the place
as a big screen pleasure palace.
Rake in the dough as they mince through
the crowds as alien gray fashionistas.

It could be like Jurassic park –
an animatronic high-tech cryptid critter –
No! — E.T. underground base! You could
have all these fake aliens trickin’ out
their saucers. Babes in leotards floggin’ drinks.

You got the place for a song. You could
put a bigger lid on the dip –
build over the hole until you can
scare up a little cash through Crowd Sourcing.
Lots of shovels and toys in the shed…

2. The Realtor’s Monologue

Go ahead, big guy, make a decision.
Could be the trip of a lifetime. Step lively!
Step up to the plate! You gotta live somewhere —
Hey, at the very least, you get a funky
bomb shelter or tricked-out man cave.

Yeah. The Mysterious Hole, featuring –
tonight only, Question Mark and the Mysterions
(“Ninety Six Tears”) Get yer sixties gear on.
Slap on a wig, mama! Time to cut
an antediluvian rug. Get funky in our bones!

Yeah! Get down, Piltdown! Got scary
wobbly arms and leprosy legs. Woah!
Parts of me are droppin’ off. Turn down
those klieg lights, will ya? I’m drippin’ away
like wax off a candle, babe. Adipose maggot food…

Hey! It’s O.K. It’s not like I couldn’t
use to lose a little blubber off this caboose.
If I trickle away as molecules between
grains of sand, as hydrogen bumpin’ booty
with a buddy and the lovely Lady Oxygene, O.K.

Bin doin’ the Hustle long enough to earn
these dewlaps and loose flaps. Boo yeah!
A guy could do worse than become
a visionary entrepreneur — even after I’m droolin’
too much to manage these caroming syllables …

2018 Richard Stevenson

Richard Stevenson has recently retired from a thirty-year teaching gig at Lethbridge College and published thirty books in that time, most recently, two collections of haikai poetry: Fruit Wedge Moon (Hidden Brook Press, 2015) and The Heiligen Effect (Ekstasis Editions, 2015). Since retirement, Rock, Scissors, Paper: The Clifford Olson Murders, a long poem sequence, has been released from Dreaming Big Publications in the US, and A Gaggle of Geese, haikai poems and sequences, has been released from Alba Publications in the UK.

Find more by Richard Stevenson in the Author Index.