After months of digging, the prisoner has tunneled under the electrified fence and is finally about to breathe the sweet air of freedom. He pushes his pilfered digging tool through the leaf covered ground inside the edge of the nearby woods and breaks through. As luck would have it, instead of poking up into the open air, he pokes into the behind of an eleven-year-old girl who is resting under a tree.
Girl: Eeeeeek! Jeezey Cripes!
Prisoner: Crap! Hey, listen, don't scream. Crap.
Girl: I know who you are! You're a criminal trying to escape!
The girl picks up a heavy branch nearby and shoves it as hard as she can into the small opening in the ground.
Prisoner: Ow! Oh shit!
The prisoner falls with a heavy thud back down to the bottom of the tunnel.
Girl: Um … Are you okay?
Prisoner: Why did you do that!? You broke my glasses!
Girl: Well, you were trying to escape.
Prisoner: Yeah, because prison sucks.
Girl: Criminals are supposed to be in prison. They have to pay their debt to society for all of the terrible things that they've done.
Prisoner: What's your name?
Girl: None of your business.
Prisoner: Fine. Nice to meet you “None”. My name is Jack. And, by the way, I'm not a criminal, I'm a prisoner.
Girl: They locked you up for committing a crime. And now you're committing another one by attempting to escape. I've still got the tree branch, so don't try anything.
Jack: Yes, I'm sure you do. Will you watch it with that thing?
Girl: You watch it. What kind of crime did you commit, anyway?
Jack: I was a businessman.
Girl: And you were sent to prison for being an innocent businessman? Right.
Jack: I was laundering money for a criminal. Look, you wouldn't understand.
Girl: I'm not stupid, Jack! I know what money laundering is.
Jack: I can't take another five years in that place. I just can't. Will you please let me come out of here?
Girl: No, you'll attack me.
Jack: Oh, for God's sake, why would I do that? Shit, I think you broke my nose.
Girl: I'm sorry about that, but you poked me.
Jack: I didn't know you were there. Okay, look, I'm an evil person, okay? I've done some terrible things and I don't deserve to be free. But you know what, “None”?
Girl: My name is Jess.
Jack: Fine. You know what? I still want to be free. It's terrible in there. I miss my wife.
Jess: I'm sorry, Jack, but you should go back.
Jack: Screw that, I'm not going back.
Jess: Well, I'm not letting you out … I'm calling my Dad.
Jack: Don't do that! Please! Why don't we just discuss the situation?
Jess: There's nothing to discuss.
Jess takes a cell phone out of her backpack.
Jack: He'll call the police!
Jess: Duh, Jack, I certainly hope so.
Jack: Why don't you just ask him to come down here so I can talk to him? Looks like I'm not going anywhere, and he can always call the police later.
Jess: What would you want to talk to him about?
Jack: Maybe we could make a deal. What does your father do for a living?
Jess: He's a farmer. He used to be a college professor, but now he's trying to run a farm. Why do you care?
Jack: I know how hard farming can be. Very tough to pay the bills at the end of the month. I was raised on a farm. Look, when you call him, tell him the police never found all that money I was laundering. Not by a long shot.
Jess: You think you can bribe him?
Jack: No! Can't you at least tell him that? And tell him I didn't hurt anyone to get it. In fact, I stole it from the real bad guys, and it wasn't even there's to begin with.
Jess calls her father.
Jess: Hello, Daddy......no, I'm okay, but it is kind of an emergency......you don't have to do that......over in the woods across from the prison......you're not going to believe this......there's this prisoner who was trying to escape, and I've got him trapped down in this tunnel......hold on, Dad......he says if you don't call the police right away......Dad......he says he's got a lot of money he's stolen from some criminals......I don't know......maybe we could save the farm......I've got a tree branch. Right now the hole is only about three inches wide......okay, bye.
Jack: Is he coming?
Jess: Yes. Just don't try anything stupid, Jack.
Jack: Of course not. I'll just sit down here in my hole like a good little Hobbit.
Jess: And don't try and con him. My Dad hates liars.
A few minutes later a pickup truck drives up, and Jess's father walks into the woods.
Jess: Hi Dad.
Dad: Jess. Where's this criminal you've got trapped?
Jess: He's a prisoner. Right over here.
Jess's Dad looks down the hole.
Dad: You've done quite a lot of digging. I'm impressed.
Jack: I was motivated. If you let me out of this hole, maybe we can talk.
Dad: No, I think for the time being you can stay right there. What is your name, son?
He begins to pace back and forth.
Jack: Jack Taylor, sir. I've got a lot of money hidden away...
Dad: How much is “a lot?”
Jack: Almost thirteen million.
Dad: That's a lot.
Jack: If you let me out of this hole and help me get to it...
Dad: This is money you stole?
Jack: No...well, sort of...it's hard to explain.
Dad: Try me.
Jack: I was given the money by a man who stole it from a drug cartel. I never gave it back. Then I got arrested.
Dad: How did that happen?
Jack: I convinced him I could launder the money. He didn't know I'd never done it before. So I looked up how to do it on the internet.
Dad: And that's when you found out the police were monitoring the site?
Jack: Yep...would you stop walking on top of the tunnel? It's not very deep, and pieces are starting to fall in...oh shit!!
Like a row of dominoes, the tunnel begins collapsing in on itself. Jack frantically claws at the opening, but he is buried in seconds, leaving only his arms and half his face visible.
Jack: Oh sweet Jesus, I can't breathe! Help me! Please...mister, please!
Jess's father starts scooping the dirt away from Jack's face.
Dad: Jess! Go run to the truck and bring the shovel. Hurry up now.
Jess: Is he dying?
Dad: Of course not, now go!
Jack: I can't breathe! Oh my God!
Dad: It's the weight of all this dirt. You need to calm down or you'll pass out. Control your breathing, in and out slowly, and we'll get you out of there before you know it.
Jess returns with the shovel, and gives it to her father. He begins to remove the soil from around Jack, but suddenly stops just below his chest.
Jack: What are you doing? Keep digging!
Dad: Are you breathing easier?
Jack: A lot easier. You're not going to leave me like this, are you?
Dad: Jess, I want you to go on home. I want to talk to Jack here.
Jess: Aren't you going to dig him out?
Dad: I will, later on. He's fine like this, and it's safer for me.
Jess: Dad, you promise you'll dig him out?
Dad: Of course. Now go home. I'll be there in a while.
Jess: Okay, Daddy.
Jess walks off down the road towards her house.
Dad: Okay Jack, let's talk about this money.
Jack: Well hell, there's plenty of it. You can have half. It's safe.
Dad: You say if I dig you out, you'll take me to it. As long as I don't turn you in?
Jack: That's right, except I don't know where it is, exactly.
Dad: What do you mean by that?
Jack: Ha! I was smart. I gave it to my mother, and she locked it away somewhere. I don't know where it is. Then, I took the key and hid it. No one knows where that is. Not my mother, not anybody.
Dad: Where did you hide it? I'll go get it, then I'll come back here and you can call her for the location of the money.
Jack: Like hell I will! Nothing happens until you dig me out of here.
Dad: I don't see that happening, Jack. You see, I don't trust you. If I dig you out, I see no reason why you won't try to get rid of me, and take all the money for yourself. Maybe even kill me. No, it will have to be my way.
Jack: Then we have a problem. You need me, or you won't ever see your half.
Dad: And you need me to dig you out of that hole. You know what, Jack? I think you'll come around to my plan...eventually. I'm going back home. You have a good night, Jack. I'll see you in the morning.
Jack: What!? You can't leave me like this! Hey, you've got to get me out of here! Hey!!
Jess's father walks back to his truck and drives away. When he returns to the farm, he tells his daughter the police came and took Jack back to prison.
All that evening he thinks about the money. When he falls asleep, he dreams about it. In the morning, he returns to Jack in the woods.
Dad: Good morning, Jack Taylor.
Dad: I need to ask you a question. When was the last time you spoke to your mother?
Jack: About six months ago, just before I was captured. Why?
Dad: Well, Jack, I'm afraid I have some bad news for you. I looked you up on the internet, and I found out where your mother lives.
Jack: You leave her alone! She's no good to you! She doesn't know where the key is.
Dad: I know that, Jack. What I need to tell you is your mother died four months ago.
Jack: My mother is dead!? No! Wha...what happened?
Dad: I have no idea. I drove out to her place. I thought maybe she had locked up the money somewhere on her property. Jack, her house has been demolished.
Jack: What!? Oh God!
Dad: I'm sorry. There's nothing left. That's where you hid the key, isn't it? Right there in the house?
Jack: Oh my God...yes...yes! Under a loose floorboard in the bathroom. God damn it!!
Dad: I'm sorry, Jack. I'm sure you realize I'll have to turn you in now. I can't help you escape. There's no reason to.
Jack: That's just fucking great!
Jess's Dad takes out his cell phone and places an anonymous call to the police.
Dad: They'll be here any minute. I have to go. I'm sorry for your loss.
He drives back to his farm.
Dad: Jess? Jess, honey? Where are you?
Jess: Over here, Dad. Just doing my chores.
Dad: Want to go for a ride?
Jess: Sure. Where to?
Dad: Well, there's a lady at a farm house about an hour away that I need to talk to.
Jess: Okay, Dad.
© Copyright 2016 brucek. All rights reserved.
Poem / Poetry
Poem / Poetry
Poem / Poetry
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