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The Sack

It was well into the night, and humid and cold enough for the black leather jackets they both wore as they dragged the sack into the garage of the abandoned house on the edge of town. Under the circumstances it seemed as good a place as any to leave it, since they would not be coming that way again soon. Each knew without saying a word to the other that neither of them would ever return once they went their separate ways. But it would be painful to leave family and friends forever behind and face such an uncertain future alone.

They had not exchanged words for a long while, but once the sack lay covered with several layers of old newspapers they found bundled together nearby in the back corner of the dilapidated structure, the tallest spoke:

"Since it’s my car I guess I'll have to drop you off wherever you want to go. I know we've got to get pretty far away from here and fast, so you tell me where."

"Let's just drive. I don't have any place in particular in mind. Besides its getting late and we'll probably have to park somewhere out of sight before morning and sleep through the day in the car."

"I guess we could head for Barabbas. It's a couple hundred of miles but nobody would think to look for us there. Besides, nobody even knows yet—at least I don’t expect so."

"I guess you're right. But what then?"

"I'll probably head north, maybe to western Canada. The winters suck but there are still plenty of places to get lost in permanently."

"I couldn't take the cold. I may leave the country. It really doesn't matter. I don't suppose much of anything matters now."

"We could always take it with us, you know."

"You mean one of us would keep it?!"

"Not exactly keep it. We could bury it somewhere later where nobody would ever think to look."

"I don't feel comfortable with that. There are always people poking about places they don't belong. I'm not sure we'll ever get them off our back entirely."

"Just the same, if we kept it—"

"You mean, if you kept it, don't you?"

"It wouldn't have to be me. I mean, we both could keep part of it."

"I hadn't thought of that. But doesn't that increase the likelihood that someone will find out? If it stayed in one piece and out of sight, that's one thing, but given the possibility that it might turn up in two places just increases the odds of discovery. I'm not saying either of us would slip up, but there's always a chance."

"Sooner or later somebody will find it here anyway. Some kid or some bum will wander in and start rummaging through all this stuff. They'll eventually figure out it was us and they'll come looking. We have time on our side, but truth is, somebody could find it tomorrow."

"You're right. I doubt it, but you're right. If we took it, we'd probably buy ourselves a little more time. I'm for taking it with us tonight. If we want, we can each take a piece later."

"On the other hand, it does tie us down. I mean, we'd have to keep it in the trunk."

"With our luck, somebody would rear-end us and there it would be all over the road for the world to see."

"Just the same, you might have a point. Really, we don't exactly have to get rid of it. You may think I'm sick, but actually I think I'd miss it."

"So would I, but we have to think about the consequences of getting caught with it, or even with a piece of it. I could never deal with that. I don't know what to do."

"Well, we've got to do something. Talking about it isn't going to buy us any time, and time is about all we have left now. Let's just—"

"I'm for splitting it up right here, putting it in the trunk, and deciding later if we leave it or take it."

"But there's only one sack. Whose part stays in the sack?"

"Damn! Nothing is easy. Look, I'll wrap part of it up in my jacket. I've got a sweater in the back seat. That will just have to do."

"That's downright generous of you, considering the whole thing was your idea in the first place."

"I'm not so sure it was all my idea. What are you doing, rehearsing what you're going to tell the jurors?"

"Right. Anyhow, how do we cut it apart? It's not like we were splitting an orange, you know."

"Good point. I suppose we could just pull it in opposite directions until it gave somewhere in the middle."

"Yeah, right along the dotted line, I suppose."

"Well, look. Maybe there's something around here we could use—an old saw or something. This place looks like it had a workshop once. Lift up that pile of rags over there. Are they stuck? What the—!"

"I don't believe it! This is impossible. It looks just like the one we—"

"Shut up! I think we're both just out of our minds. There's no way it could be the same. Just no way."

"You can see it for yourself, can't you? It's identical, right down to the size, the material, even the color. Identical! Damned identical!"

"But how? How in hell? We've got to open it up and see. I can't believe anyone else would ever have thought about doing the same thing. It's just impossible. We're the only ones who knew."

"From the looks of it, it couldn't have been here all that long—a few hours or days at the most. Well, go ahead and open the goddamned thing."

"There's no way I'm going to open it. No, I don't want to know. If you're that desperate to find out, you open it."

"Me? It's always me, isn't it?"

"Don't give me that crap. Just open it, or not. I want to get the hell out of here. Let's just leave them both here and get the hell out of here."

"Shut up! Let me think. Maybe we can take them both in the trunk and figure it out later. Here, help me with this."

"I can't believe this is happening. Now we have two of them! Two!"

"You don't know that. It just looks like the other one. There might be something else inside. Here, help me lift it."

"God, it sure feels the same, and it sure moves around inside like ours. This is freaking incredible!"

"Just help me get it to the car, then we'll come back for the other one and head north—south—anywhere out of this place."

"I'm with you. Let's get the hell away."

The two walked out of the rear door of the garage towards where they had parked the car. The car was gone. And when they looked behind them, so was the garage, the road, the trees, and the sky. Even the cold moist night air was nothing but an impalpable memory. And when the tallest of the two turned to the other, there was only an empty place where the edges of darkness seemed to have been drawn tightly together, and the sound of agitated voices continuously bickering in muffled, familiar tones.

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Last updated September 23, 2001
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© Copyright 2001 by Joseph Dillon Ford