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fiction 3: opening of THE DIRT OF OTHER DOGS


His last words were:  somebody turn off the beans.

They sucked him down, his arms held up, a futile, beseeching but indifferent gesture to all of us peering from the bulkflow tripper over the lip of the #11 tank, till nothing but his tangled red hair showed and his fingertips clenched and unclenched in the dusty haze above the soybeans and hulls swirling in the slow vortex twisting where he fell.

By the time somebody threw the switch, and the two plainclothesmen who had come to the elevator in a halftrack troop carrier with the superintendent and the foreman and a woman not employed at the Family Soybean Crushing Mill, by the time we found a couple of scoop shovels and got down the ladder into the silo, the Professor was smothered dead.

Because my trial is coming up, I’ve been told by the lawyer not to talk about the events leading to the accident.  But the three-day blizzard, when the Professor and I were forced to stay on duty alone the whole time without food or sleep, figured into the unfortunate chain of circumstance.  

As for the Professor’s side of the story, who is left to tell it?


This incident report respectfully submitted by Whiskey Jill, ex-prep operator, second shift.  There goes the crop of a partridge.


Sedgwick County Jail

Wichita, Kansas


© philip kimball 2009