Mrs. Jones paid me to dig the foundation for her new built in swimming pool. Her yard was surrounded by a fence, so there was no way for me to bring in any heavy excavating equipment like a backhoe. Pool ownership comes with many crucial responsibilities, like having a fence as well as sign to stay in compliance with insurance, liability and other safety measures. Mrs. Jones had purchased an in-ground pool kit and I read over all of the instructions.
Mrs. Jones thought about getting permission from her neighbor Mr. Smith to remove the fence from his side of the property and then use his driveway to go back and forth with the loads of dirt. He has a flower bed between this shared fence and his driveway, but they are no longer on speaking terms since he made a snide comment about her weight at last year’s Fourth of July party. This was going to be a shit load of work for me, but I get paid by the hour, so it really does not matter how long it takes me to get done. I checked with the local Utility companies first, as I didn’t want to get electrocuted, blown up, or poisoned by any raw sewage and I marked off the area. I made a plan where I was going to put all the dirt and rocks that came out of the hole and I was actually able to sell it as clean fill. I even acquired a blasting permit, just in case I ran into a rock ledge underneath the property.
Now for the fun part and I figured that I could probably dig 2 cubic yards a day. Mrs. Jones’ rectangular pool was to be 25 ft long, 10 ft wide, 6 ft deep at one end and 4 ft deep at the shallow end. From reading the instructions I knew that the area needed to be dug out 5’ longer and 5’ wider to allow for spacing to accommodate the bracing, so I would have to dig out an area of 30 ft long by 15 ft wide. I worked out all the math knowing that volume equals length times width times depth and that one yard is made up of three feet. The depth would be tapered from the deep end to the shallow end, so I could use 5 ft of depth as an average in my calculation. I changed all of the dimensions that were in feet into dimensions in yards. The pool was to be 10 yards by 5 yards by 1.66 yards, so I multiplied 10 by 5 by 1.66 and this worked out to be 83 cubic yards of dirt that needed to be excavated.
This was going to take me 42 days to do all of this digging and it was summer already, so I would be sweating like a pig out in the heat of central Florida, but I would also be in great shape when it was done. I designed and installed a conveyor belt system that removed the dirt from the pool into a wheelbarrow located on the other side of the fence. My brother was home from college and jobless, so I decided to enlist his help with this project, as he needed cash and I would buy him beer every day after we finished working.
The top of this pool wall would stick up about 6” above the surrounding ground, to prevent excess rain water from over flowing into the pool. Mrs. Jones’s daughter Anna enjoyed watching my brother and I as we dug out this pool and she also brought us drinks and towels to wipe our sweat off. We were 15 days into the digging when my shovel struck something hard and I called my brother over to take a look. My brother struck his shovel into the hard rock and he said, ‘I guess we will have to blast through this.’ I told him that we would have to drill a hole into the rock, so we could plant the blasting material.
Anna called up a few of her friends to come over and watch the excitement, but I made them all watch from inside the house where they would be safe. After the blast was over, I called out ‘All clear’ and the girls came running out of the house. When they looked into the excavation area, it was filled with red colored rocks and one of them said, ‘You have blasted your way into hell and I think the devil may be inside of that hole.’ They all ran away and my brother and I just laughed.
Written for Jina S. Bazzar – Authors Inspirations August 19, 2017
The treasure that lies beneath (Writing prompt short story)
Writing prompt: A man is digging in his backyard when his shovel strikes something hard. What is it?