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concrete graveyard
by carrie deahl

It smelled of flesh. They were everywhere! Some still soft, others rock hard, and the survivors--barely moving...

I walked over to the side of the house, grabbed the hose, and screwed the yellow spray nozzle onto the end. Once secure, I cranked the water on and could feel the pressure building up in my hand. I walked back over to the patio where millions of earthworms lay upon a concrete graveyard.

I pulled the trigger and began spraying. Slowly their bodies were being torn apart from the water pressure, sliding off the patio and into the grassy yard. This shouldn't take too long and should be pretty easy. But there were still several remnants of the worm shindig from a few rainy days before were selfishly caked onto the patio. I needed a back up plan and fast. I was hoping to finish and be long gone before my mom got home from work. She has this fear of anything that crawls--worms, lizards, geckos, snakes--the woman leaps and screams in hysterics when she sees them. In the past, when the creepy crawlies have made their way inside, she's been known to jump up onto our kitchen counter! So, I hoped to surprise her by having cleaned up the fleshy mess that she was dreading to clean herself.

The search for something to scrape the remaining corpses off the concrete continued while the fleshy smell lingered under the patio, sweeping into my nostrils from time to time. The shed! There must be a scraper in the shed! Quickly I walked over to the shed, slid the door open and voila! scraper paradise. I slid my finger along the blade to check its sharpness, which proved to be just right.

I made my way back over to the patio, kneeled down, and started scraping the earthworm bodies (or what was left of them) one-by-one. Kneel, crawl, scrape. Kneel, crawl, scrape. Kneel, crawl, scrape. I followed this rhythm several hundred times while breathing only through my mouth to prevent the stench from making me gag. Think about something else--the sunny blue sky, teaching, Polly watching you from the grass, your new Radiohead cd--anything!

After an eternity of body removal, I grabbed the hose once again. This time I pretended I was a soldier shooting at the enemy. Die earthworms, die! Shwoosh, spray. Shwoosh spray. Shwoosh, spray.

With a feeling of pure satisfaction, the deluge transferred the remaining bodies from patio to yard--their rightful resting place. At least there, they could fertilize the grass!


Writer. Reader. Teacher. Consultant. Activist. Takes life and herself a little too seriously. Relishes moments of humility. Believes peace is possible through education. Believes writing is the way to freedom. Unleashes the written word daily.

more about carrie deahl


by carrie deahl
topic: writing
published: 1.9.09

by carrie deahl
topic: writing
published: 11.16.08


sandra thompson
11.18.08 @ 6:37a

I'm reminded of that scene in "Seven Years in Tibet" where the Tibetan construction workers very carefully remove the earthworms from the excavacations for the Dhalai Lama's movie theatre and put them where they'd be safe. I'd be very interested in knowing why the earthworms committed suicide.

carrie deahl
12.2.08 @ 9:43p


Thanks for the connection to such a fascinating film. The earthworms simply committed suicide because I live in Phoenix and they arrived after a monsoon storm. The next day it was warm and sunny. So, there you go. I'll try and work this detail in. Thanks for the feedback.


stephen green
12.3.08 @ 12:58p

What a neat little story. I can't help but think of it as a metaphor to the current housing market. Once the environment seemed perfect (monsoon season), people (the worms) thought to extend their reach to buy whatever they could (crawling over concrete). Then when conditions changed for the worse in the market (monsoons dried up), the people were left to suffer (worm bake on the concrete). They were left to be rescued and put back in the place they should never have left (sprayed back into the yard).
Maybe something parallel to that could be happening to the mom. Just a thought.
Keep writing.

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