Mole Boy

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
If you’re in a hole, keep digging. You’ll dig your way out eventually.

Submitted: December 02, 2018

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Submitted: December 02, 2018

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I’ve known Eddie Tasker since we were little kids.  He was my next door neighbor, at the end of County Road 127.  I was pretty much his only friend.  Not by choice, my mother made me hang out with him.  She and Eddie’s mom were Bridge Club partners. 

He was the least popular, most picked on kid in school.  It started with his unibrow and bent over posture.  But it was his odd hobby that led to the name.  Mole Boy liked to dig tunnels.  The Tasker home sat on twenty acres, in a valley overlooked by Kentucky’s Cumberland mountains.  From Eddie’s relentless digging, the property was dotted with mounds of excavated dirt.

At his 15th birthday party, I let Eddie talk me into going on a tour of his tunnels.  Aside from him and his parents, I was the only attendee.  He handed me a hard hat with a carbide light attached to the front.  We spend hours navigating the underground labyrinth.  The walls and ceilings were braced up with timbers and metal posts he and his dad salvaged from their demolition business.  Eddie was quite the engineer.

When we emerged, back into daylight, I asked him “Why do you do this?”  He shrugged his shoulders.  “Nobody fucks with me when I’m digging.”

Funny how things end up.  No one would have predicted success for Mole Boy.  Mr. Tasker scraped by, tearing down old buildings and barns.  Eddie planned to follow in his footsteps.  Ordinary people spend their lives doing normal things.  Mole Boy did his own thing, which one day became spectacular.

That was not apparent when I named him Mole Boy.

The nickname had been in my head for years.  But I’d never said it in public until just after I turned 16.  I’d received the birthday gift I’d been begging for.  A motorcycle.

The Honda CB250 was jam packed with coolness.  Being one of the few teenagers with a motorcycle lifted me to elite status.  Mom dropped a downer on me when she said, “I’ll only let you take it to school if you give Eddie a ride”.  The thought of pulling up in the parking lot sharing the seat with him put a damper on the mood.

I expected he would cause me trouble and it happened the first day.  I was sitting on the bike after school, waiting on Eddie. I heard a commotion in front of the gym.  Sure enough, he was there.  Bullies had him surrounded.  I wanted to take off but I could visualize my mother grounding me if I abandoned him.  

I jumped on the kick-starter, revved up the engine, and headed to the gymnasium.  

Hitting the brakes and making the vehicle slide to a stop kicked up a cloud of dirt.  The bullies stepped back into clearer air.  Eddie just stood there.  That’s when I said it. “Hurry up Mole Boy, get on the bike!”  He did and we took off.

After that, everyone called him Mole Boy.  Shit happens.

Somehow, we managed to survive childhood.  After high school, I enlisted in the Army.  I wanted to see the world.  As expected, Eddie worked at the family business.

Dodging bullets and IEDs in Iraq and Afghanistan made Mole Boy a distant memory.  Every now and then, Mom would mention him in one of her letters.  He still spent his spare time digging tunnels.  

After two combat tours and six years of service, I returned to the States.  In exchange for risking my life overseas, Uncle Sam was willing to send me to college.  I enrolled in the University of Kentucky.  

It was Thanksgiving when things began to happen.  I drove home for the holiday.  As usual, Mom invited the Taskers over for the big meal.  When we’d finished stuffing ourselves, Eddie said, “This morning I found something interesting in my new tunnel.  It’s in the bed of my truck.  Want to see?”

I agreed with Mole Boy’s assessment.  It was a dinosaur fossil.  We’d just covered skeletal structures in my biology class.  The shape reminded me of the bones in the human foot.  But it was huge.  Eddie’s truck sagged from the weight.  I had an idea.

“The archeology department is in the same building as one of my classes.  How about I take some photos and get an expert opinion?”  Eddie held a yardstick next to the fossil while I clicked.

Professor Johansen didn’t say anything for a long time, as he scrolled through the pictures.  I told him, “Eddie says there are more like this in the tunnel.”

His voice was quivering when he finally spoke.  “Oh my.  Oh my.  If this is what I think it is, it changes everything!”  He looked up.  “Argentinosaurus is considered the largest dinosaur to have ever walked the face of the earth.  So far, no examples have been found outside of South America.  All we have are a handful of fossils, nothing close to a complete skeleton.  How far away is Eddie’s property?”

“About two hundred miles.”

“Can you be ready to go in an hour?  I’ll drive.”

“I’ve got a history test in the morning.”

“You’re a part of history, and it’s happening right now.  Give your class schedule to my secretary, she’ll make arrangements.”

The professor’s voice quivered again, while we stood in the tunnel, staring at the other fossils Eddie had exposed.  “This is unbelievable.  The kind of thing people like me spend our lives dreaming about.  I never expected to participate in a discovery like this.”  

He spoke to Eddie.  “This site really needs an archeological excavation.  Which means digging from the surface down, by hand, fractions of an inch at a time.  How far below ground are we?”

“About 30 feet.”

“Do you think your family would consider letting us do that?  Since you live here, it would be somewhat intrusive.  But you’ll become royalty in the archeology world.  This will be known as the Tasker Site.”

“It sounds okay to me.  I’ll have to talk it over with my parents.”

I returned to school.  The Taskers agreed to let the University do the excavation.  The site was ringed with RVs and trailers.  Strings tied to wooden stakes crisscrossed everywhere, marking off the digging zones.

Eddie set up a blog to post photographs and document the progress.  I was surprised that he called it MoleBoy.com.  He’d become quite popular among the archeology crew.  For the first time in his life, he was around people who thought his digging hobby was cool.  One of them gave him a cartoon drawing that was half Eddie, half mole.  He had tee shirts made with the drawing and sold them on the website.  

The dig progressed slowly.  A small army of professors, students, and volunteers used hand trowels to gently loosen the soil.  Everything got sifted.  A number of smaller fossils were found before they got to the first Argentinosaurus.  Before they finished, they’d uncovered three complete skeletons, and parts of a fourth.  Archeology Magazine called the find the biggest story in archeology in the past century.  Dinosaur fossils weren’t the biggest story in Eddie’s life, though.  

Emily Radstrom grew up in a family of cave explorers.  The limestone geology beneath the surface meant no one was ever far from a cave in Kentucky.  Emily inherited her father’s passion for caving, and took it to the next level.  By the time she started college, she’d explored every significant cave in the state.  

She was in Professor Johansen’s Archeology 101 class.  He mentioned the extra credit students could earn by volunteering to work at the Tasker site.  Emily was fascinated as she surfed through MoleBoy.com.  She signed up for a weekend of digging.

Eddie had become an unofficial host.  He gave tours of the site and his tunnels whenever new workers showed up.  When the group tour finished, Emily asked Eddie for a private tour.  They’ve been together ever since.  Mole Boy found his Mole Girl.  I was best man at their wedding.

The story doesn’t end there, but Eddie’s currently taking a break from tunnel digging.  He’s busy helping Emily with Mole Baby 1 and Mole Baby 2, otherwise known as Ethan and Elena.  Must be something about the letter E.  Excavation?  Earth?  Who knows.


© Copyright 2019 Serge Wlodarski. All rights reserved.

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