Peter woke early each morning and went into the backyard of 44 Cherry Street to improve his secret survivalist bunker. The landlord had approved his plans for a yurt, and he had found a beautiful antique yurt from Turkmenistan on Ebay. He was working on clearing a space for the yurt in the center of the yard. He was awaiting the arrival of the big package, but needed to prepare a flat spot to set it on. He would also have to construct a wood floor because he didn’t think he’d be comfortable sleeping on raw earth.
The yard was already quite full. Around the perimeter he had planted raspberry canes. They would provide fresh berries for him, and would also keep out unwanted intruders, who would struggle to break through the thorns. He had brought in large barrels in which he planted tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers. It was easier for him to fill the barrels with healthy, amended earth than to try to break up the hard-packed clay that was typical of Black Mountain. He planted a row of peach and apple and service berry trees on the south side of the yard where there was the most sun, and he had also planted a walnut and a pecan tree. He placed two large barrels in the corners of the yard under the eaves so he could collect rain water when the landlord gave the okay. That left a space about ten feet in circumference in the back of the yard, closest to the parking lot behind the Dripolator. He needed a space where there were no flammable trees or low-hanging branches above him, because the center of the yurt was open to allow the fires he would build in the yurt to vent.
Peter had pulled a stained fleece jacket over his pajamas, placed a fresh aluminum foil cone on his head, and stepped into some rubber galoshes he had found in the basement of the building. Grabbing one of his collection of long-handled shovels and a pick-axe in hand, he went out into the yard and scoped out the very best spot for the yurt. Using his heel in the ground, he etched out the borders of the foundation. Black Mt. has had a rainy summer, especially recently, so the ground, usually rock-hard red clay, yielded easily to his ministrations.
He enjoyed working with his hands, and digging in the earth was centering and peaceful. As the sun rose in the sky and the temperature went up, he was annoyed by sweat dripping out from under his foil hat. “One more row,” he thought, “And then I’ll quit for the day.”
Peter raised the axe over his head and dug deep into the ground at the northern corner of his foundation. He felt the ground give way beneath the axe, but then felt a strange sensation. He peered down into the hole and saw, to his dismay, that the axe had severed a thick metal cord. “OOPS!” he muttered.
He looked over his shoulder and then back towards the house. He hadn’t been observed. There was no one around to question what this random cord was doing in the yard. And as he looked towards the house, he could perceive that nothing had changed, as far as he could tell.
“Time to quit for the day. I’ve done enough damage!”
He would soon find out what damage he had done, though.