Midnight Post, April 8, 2015

After supper he took the coffee pot from the burner and poured himself another half cup and sat down again at the kitchen table, now cleared of dishes.  He tipped the cup over his saucer and dripped the coffee into the saucer and then leaned forward and blew softly across the saucer as the steam rose from the black liquor.  He looked through the open window and saw that the sky had cleared and that he would have plenty of daylight to get down to the river and back.  He knew that Number Seven would be loading underneath the tipple at Sharples right now.  He slurped the cooled coffee from the saucer and put the empties into the white soapy water that filled one well of the sink.

From the wall of the back shed he took a bushel basket and dropped into it a few things his cousin had slipped out of the mines in his dinner bucket.  He pulled a rolled up, ten-foot seine from a rafter and unrolled it and folded it over and over atop the stolen goods in the basket.  He closed the door of the shed and went out the back gate into the alleyway, two tire ruts separated by a swath of late-summer weeds.  He walked the alleyway through the camp, past the company houses and then, once through the camp, cut off to the creek and followed it down to where the trestle crossed the river.

It had rained that afternoon and the riverbank was wet and slippery and the little stream already ran high for late summer and was red as rust.  He pushed the basket under a stand of polk weed and rolled a cigarette and leaned against an oak and listened for the train.  When he heard the steamer starting to rev he took a stick of dynamite from the basket and a carbide filament fuse and fixed the fuse to the stick and took a roll of electric tape from his pocket and found a flat rock the size of the sole of his shoe and wrapped the dynamite and fuse to the rock and hid beneath the trestle.  When he saw the train approaching the trestle, so loud that a man could not think, he struck a kitchen match against the rock and lit the carbide filament and chucked the sizzling bomb into the deep river hole before him.

Before the train had completely passed he had gathered the dead fish, fifteen of them, with the long seine and dropped them into the basket, like so many apples. He carried the now heavy basket on his shoulder, like grapes from a vineyard, back into the camp.  He knocked on the screen door of the first house he came to.

“Julie,” he called to her.  “Tell Eugene that Russell is out here and I just had a good day fishin'”

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2 Responses to Midnight Post, April 8, 2015

  1. labeak52 says:

    I was thinking of that contest at Shepherd College.

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