A carpet and a rug are two rather different things, though I still use the terms interchangeably when I feel it’s time to rhyme. And that’s what I did. I rhymed. In my recap of the exploration on floor one of my little chateau (or crappy apartment or crack house or whatever you want to imagine it to be), I rhymed like a stupid little Dr. Seuss.
But stupidity or silliness or proclivities for flights of fancy don’t change the fact that my rhyme was true. Truth in most part. 50% or greater truth.
Truth at its core.
Because I did dig. I digged and I dugged.
Underneath the rug.
Or, to be more accurate (as accuracy is the name of the game when you want people to believe you and I want you to believe me even if I don’t believe myself), I dug beneath the carpet.
Frayed and stained and tattered and tan, the carpet that had pulled up from the corner continued to pull up … with a bit of coaxing by yours truly. The little nails or staples or whatever you call those poky things you catch your toes on when you step too close to the edges strained a bit under the pressure of my forceful tearing, but eventually they gave and the carpet came up.
But beneath it, not what I expected. But maybe what I should have expected. Because what I found beneath the carpet was what should have been beneath the carpet and it in no way should have been surprising, but it did surprise me because all I discovered was a musty old pad of cushion.
So, I tore that up as well. Searching for that door.
The hardwood flooring hidden beneath the pad beneath the carpet with the little trap door into the hidden basement where I could find my secret door of light and try my magic codes to find the pathway to nowhere and everywhere.
Turned out the house was built on a concrete slab.
But again, that was not enough to bother me. Not enough to stop me. No nonsense of cement could get in the way of exploration. Truth needs discovering otherwise it cannot be true. And to discover truth sometimes you have to dig. Or break things.
A sledgehammer breaks things. It takes a lot of work. But it breaks things. And it broke my floor. Just like it broke the skin on my fingers as I swung away and blisters formed and popped and pus and wetness and eventually blood streamed between them onto the oak handle that I heaved and hoed through the foundation of my home.
In time, I broke through. But breaking through wasn’t a breakthrough so much as a breakdown. Because when that big old hunk of metal on a stick busted through the final inch of concrete that formed the basis upon which my house stood … as the dust clouds settled and I coughed and hacked over my blood and sweat, the only thing I found was another layer.
Like an onion. Like Shrek. Layers of onions. Smelly and a little slimy and sure to give you gas. Or at the very least a stomachache.
That’s what my new layer gave me. A horrible pain in my stomach as I discovered that my discovery held nothing but dirt and gravel. A base upon which the foundation had been built. A foundation upon which my house had been build. A house upon which my dreams had been built.
Dreams about a place beneath the house in a basement where numbers like 515 and 4 and 6 and 9 and 3465 live and tell dirty secrets about you. Or is it me? I suppose it’s me since I’m the one they speak about. Or so I assume. Perhaps they are secrets about you. About others. If others even exist.
Again, I know I exist. Because I am here. In this house with the torn-up carpet and the big mess of a hole busted through the concrete down to dirt and gravel that has been here for decades, undisturbed.
Did the builder leave a secret here, beneath my house?
If I built a house, I’d bury skeletons beneath it.
Maybe not real ones. I don’t know where you can buy a real skeleton. I suppose you could at a medical supply store, but I assume they’d be rather expensive, and I honestly don’t have that much money to spare. So, if I had to bury a skeleton beneath a house I’d just go to the party store and get a plastic Halloween one. Probably would take longer to decompose than a real one anyway, knowing what kinds of chemicals all are mixed in to make those toxic party favors.
Then, when someone came up with the idea to dig up their floor in search of a passageway to a basement with a secret door of light that sends you to a place where gumballs grow on trees and cats whisper lullabies while you sleep on clouds of fog, they’ll find a skeleton.
And oh boy that skeleton will scare them. Spook them. Send them running for the hills.
While, little do they know, I’ll have been hiding in the walls, listening for them to begin their inevitable excavation.
They’ll run. Scatter.
And I’ll break through the walls, hungry as an alley cat because of all the years I’ve spent waiting.
But I won’t eat. I’ll dig.
Just like I dug here.
And I’ll find my passage to the secret place.
The phone rings.
Incoming call from 515-469-3465.
My hands are too bloody to answer.