If you're going to write books, you should read books. If you are going to write plays, you should go to the theatre. If you're going to teach students how to write - you should be writing. In this series, I am going to share some short stories and excerpts from plays I've written. I want to encourage you to write. Whenever possible, let your students see you writing and reading. The more we model these actions, the more passionate our students will become about reading and writing.
Here is a little story called, "Dig Two."
a short story
by Darren Butler
The old Chevy slowed to a stop, the dust billowing in its wake. Bruce relaxed his grip on the steering wheel and surveyed the clearing. With a drawn out breath, he forced himself to make eye contact with the dog perched in the passenger seat. Rascal met his stare and then looked away.
Bruce clambered out of the cab and paused beside the truck. After some deliberation, he reached into the nearly empty bed and removed two items — a shovel and a small, black plastic bag.
Bruce proceeded around the truck and approached the clearing. Somewhat barren, only sprigs of dry, dead grass remained. Gently, Bruce placed the plastic bag on the ground, prepared the shovel, and began to dig.
After a while, twilight consumed him. Bruce reached into his back pocket, removed a handkerchief and wiped the sweat from his brow. He walked over to a log and sat down. As he mopped his face, Bruce wanted to bury his eyes in the cloth and allow the dam to break, but he resisted. The hole was dug. The lifeless plastic bag waited. And Rascal looked on curiously through the windshield.
The snap of a twig caused Bruce to stuff the handkerchief into his pocket and clear the lump from his throat.
“Thought I’d find you up here,” Alba said.
Bruce didn’t answer her.
Alba pulled on a sweatshirt. “There’s a chill startin’. Won’t be long now. Pretty soon the whole mountain will be covered in russets and burnt orange.”
Bruce stared at the ground.
His wife stepped closer and took a seat beside him. Her chestnut hair fell on his shoulder, as she wrapped her arms around him. “You okay?” she whispered.
Bruce felt his lower jaw tremble.
“That’s a pretty big hole you dug. Too big for a cat. What are you plannin’?”
“Not sure.” The words choked him, and he cleared his throat once again.
“An eye for an eye?”
“Somethin’ like that.”
Alba pulled away. “Look at me, Bruce.”
He looked in her direction, but couldn’t make himself look her in the eye.
“The dog did what dogs do. He’d had enough, Bruce. He finally just snapped.”
Their eyes met. “He could have walked away. He didn’t have to kill it.”
Alba stood and marched to the grave. “If you’re gonna do it, you might as well go ahead and dig two.”
Curiously, he looked up.
“But one day you’re gonna have to explain to your children why you killed their dog over a cat I’ve heard you cuss more than once.”
“This is about you and the promotion at work. There will be another opportunity. You can’t control —”
Bruce jumped up and grabbed the shovel. He started digging another hole, but stopped abruptly. Throwing the shovel to the ground, he collapsed to his knees. The dam burst.
Approaching, Alba bent down and wrapped her arms around him.
“I’m sorry,” he said.
Silence fell between them, and then —