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Long Night

'Shut up, Dan'

By JBazPublished 4 months ago 11 min read
Long Night
Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

My freezer broke down, and that really upset me. Not because of the cost of a new one, no because of the content inside. Singular not plural, one item only. A particularly important item.

There was little choice on what to do next. Nervously, I wait till 3 a.m. to carefully remove the blue plastic bag and gently carry it outside. Which isn't easy to do, the damn thing wasn't exactly light. An odor of rot wafts out causing me to swallow a wee bit of vomit. What made it worse was when I slipped on something laying on the floor and almost dropped it. Glancing for the offending item, I saw it, the unopened manila folder lay on the floor by the recycle bin. It arrived yesterday morning by drone. The words 'SECOND NOTICE' in bold lettering stood out. I hate drone mail. Nothing ever good comes from those lifeless mail carriers. I remember tossing it aside, after all it didn't say 'Final Notice'.

Poking my head out of the garage door, I see nothing but stars peering through the night fog and an empty yard. It was dark, the moon cloaked by drifting clouds . Every now and then an illumination of light would cast shadows on the world below, like ghostly specters of lost souls wandering about looking for a place to rest. Or it could have been my imagination, under the circumstances that seems more logical.

I wasn't thinking clearly, other wise I would have prepared the hole first. Gently setting the bag down next to the cedars, I commence to digging. So committed to the job at hand and lost in thought, I never knew I was being watched until a voice broke through the protection of night.

"Hey, Neighbour, what you up to?"

The intrusion startles me so bad my back does a quick spasm and I drop the shovel. Looking over my shoulder I see peering eyes cresting the fence.

"Jesus Dan, You scared the shit outta me."

"Oh, sorry about that little buddy, I just heard noises and thought I better investigate.” His neck elongates like a giraffe, as his head stretches above the fence. “You digging a hole?"

Choosing to go on the offense I quickly countered. "Dammit Dan, what are you doing up so late?"

His horse like cranium bobbed up and down like one of those dashboard bobble heads. "Well, it appears the same as you. What with the sanitation strike going on for ....what is it, five weeks?"

I stare at this sad man. "What?"

"The strike, hell you aren't the only one burying your garbage.” Tapping his index finger on his nose. “Don't worry this is our little secret."

A few weeks back the city sent out a notice to all citizens, yes by drone, informing us that until the strike was resolved, everyone was responsible for bringing their waste to the city dump. It was a fifty-fifty chance that people were doing this, most chose to bury their crap in their yards or worse, in the parks. We were all warned that anyone caught burying trash would be severely fined. They even offered a reward if you turned in anyone you spotted doing this heinous crime. As far as I was concerned, Dan gave me a very convenient cover.

I was about to reply when we heard a hum, a high-pitched whine. We couldn't pinpoint it, but I swore it came from above. Dan's head disappeared and his body hit the ground hard. I heard a muffled, "Get down you fool."

I threw myself into the partially dug pit. Laying there in the cool damp soil, I begin to question my choices in life. I was unsure how long I lay there, but I thought it was a perfect opportunity to roll the bag into the hole and cover it quickly. I never got that far. With both hands on the bag, and my ass end pointing to the stars, I was ready for the big push. When that annoying nasally sound floated on the night air ramming straight into my eardrums.

"You should throw some lime powder in there before you bury it."

"Jesus Dan, stop doing that."

"Doing what?"

" talking, it's weird."

"Sorry, I am just trying to help."

"Good night, Dan." (Take the hint). I was at a loss, what to do now?

He continues, "It covers the stench of decay."

The clouds break for a moment, and I see a sad man staring back at me. Ever since his wife, Irene, left him, Dan became an insecure leech. He ended up clinging to me and my wife like a parasite, forming a weird symbiotic relationship, and we were his hosts. Carla felt sorry for him, plus they had a lot in common. Both were yoga loving vegetarians, they spent time together doing downward dog and eating kale. She finally had someone that she could relate too. It caused friction, which led to many an argument. Three nights ago, was the worst, I lost it.

"I have a bag in the shed, let me grab it." And with that he was gone.

I was going to call it a night, maybe try tomorrow. I could even get a new freezer by then. No, that is just delaying the inevitable. Then I heard it again. The hum grew louder, the whine more pronounced. Before I could locate where the noise came from, an object flew in the air and landed at my feet. A dusty cloud billowed forth from the bag of lime, causing me to choke and cough.

By the time I regained my breath I saw from the corner of my eye Dan climbing my fence, one leg already over.


He froze.

"Don't come over here Dan."

"I was just going to help."

I yell as loud as I dare. "I don't need help, just get back on your side of the fence."

Poor guy slinks back, like a child being banished to sit in a corner, left to contemplate the error of his ways. I could hear deep breaths and shuffling of his feet. Mumbled words crept through the cracks in the boards. "Carla... just ...I wanted..."

My ears perk up upon hearing my wife's name. "What did you say?"


" Bullshit Dan, I heard you say Carla....Why?"


"You heard me."

"I was just saying that Carla wouldn't like that you yelled at me. I was just trying to help."

"Never mind what Carla ...."

"Where is Carla?" Dan cuts me off. "I haven't seen her the last few days."

"She hasn't been feeling well."

" I'll come over and bring a Moroccan Fennel leek soup."

"No, its fine. She is going to her mothers for a ..."

"It has Chermoula in it,"

"Dan no, I'm sure... wait, what the hell is ch...chermoola?"

"Chermoula, it is a North African spice, good for fighting colds."

"Does it work?"

"Well. I don't have any actual fact-based information on it, but I personally believe it does."

Before I could respond, the hum once more invaded our atmosphere. Hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Once again Dan dives, this time into his bushes. "Hide, they're watching us."

"Who's watching us?"

He whispers one word. "Government."

Shaking my head and thinking, what does my wife see in this loser.

I wasn't about to belly flop into the hole again.

Picking up the shovel, I walk across the damp grass, approach the fence, and call out to Dan. "Dan, What are you really up too?"


"Are you spying on me and Carla?" I accuse. My knuckles crack, as I tighten my grip on the handle.

His weasel like form, wiggles out of the bushes, on all fours he crawls over to me. "No, no I'm not ... I was just doing something and heard a noise, like I told you."

I was about to lambaste him again when I spotted something strange.

"Dan, are you pouring cement?"

Dan starts to rise, while his head remains low. "Yeah."

"Why are you pouring cement at night."

Dan suddenly gets very animated, "Why do you think? " Pointing a finger at me he rants on. "I don't have a permit and I ain't paying no fee to the city, they just pocket the money."

"But at night, Dan?"

In a conspiracy type voice, he whispers. "They have those drones doing fly overs, They've been spying on me, I can only do this at night."

“Say again?”

”They been watching me, following me wherever I go. They use those machines.”

I had an idea where this was going, but instead of walking away I heard myself ask. ”Why?”

”Because man, I didn’t get the vaccine, like all you blind sheep. This is the only away they know my where abouts. That’s how they track you, with nano technology, in the vaccine.”

”Blind sheep?” I counter.

”Yeah, no offence.”

”None taken.”

Our eyes lock.

A lightbulb goes off in my brain. Now I know why Irene left him, mystery solved, case closed. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, my client is bat shit crazy. Lock him up.

I stare at him. "Okay."

Slowly backing away, this evenings fiasco is over. I watch as the morning Sun begins to creep its light upon the dew-covered grass. Night was ending, daylight would soon uncover my secret. I silently curse Dan.

From the distance horizon I hear a familiar whining sound drawing closer, an irritating buzz getting louder. My vision blurs and my eyes water as I try to focus on a tiny silhouette emerging in front of the rising sun. Growing larger as it approaches. Blinking and shielding my eyes from the bright glare, I watch this object fly ever closer to me.

My heart beats faster as the drone now hovers directly above me, then circles the blue bag and partially dug hole. Rising once more the inanimate object appears alive. Staring me down, accusing me. Tiny lights begin to flicker on its plastic body, then it drops a package from its belly. A large brown manila folder floats, gently swaying side to side. until it lands at my feet.

No words are spoken.

With trembling hands, I reach out, a fine mist creeps along the soil, falling inward, folding into the pit. Bold letters stamped across the cover. 'THIRD AND FINAL NOTICE'. Feeling a slight dampness on the envelope, I pull the tab and peel back. Peering inside, I pull out a white sheet. The words blur for only a moment, as a wave of nausea consumes my body. I begin to read.

Realization hits me, as I comprehend what has just occurred.

I was caught.

"Son of bitch. I just got a ticket for seventeen hundred and fifty dollars for the illegal disposing of garbage."

A crazy laughter fills the air as Dan guffaws his way to a convulsion. "Whew, boy, I thought it was something else." He laughs so loud I was about to tell him to shut up before he wakes someone. Just then our porchlight turns on and the back door slams open.

"Gary, what in the hell are you doing out here?"

A voice from the fence calls out. "Hi, Carla."

""Dan, is that you?"

"Yeah, I'll pop over with some soup later today."

"Soup? Gary what's going on?"

The only thing I manage to say is, "Hi babe."

She stares at me, covered in dirt and white powder, standing by a hole, holding an envelope. Then her eyes spot the blue bag at my feet. "What's in the bag Gary?"

I stared at the ground, trying to hide my guilt.

"Yeah, Gary what is in the bag?" Dan echoes.

"Shut up Dan." We both yell, it feels good that for once Carla and I are in sync.

Realization comes over her face immediately. "Is there meat in that bag, Gary?"

Horse head decides to join in with a question of his own. "Meat? Is that why you didn't want my help?"

Flabbergasted, I look at this person whose interruption was a direct cause of my failure tonight, and who was now about to cause another fight with my wife. I exaggerate my tone, "Of course, that is the reason you moron. You would have told her everything."

With a baffled expression and quizzical look the moron speaks. "Certainly, I would have. Meat isn't good for you Gary."

Carla steps forward, visibly seething. "Gary, I told you before, no meat allowed in the house...." Before she can say another word, I had enough. "Dammit Carla, Yes it's meat. Glorious meat. I am not a rabbit."

I rip open the bag, and inside lay a beautiful assortment of spoiling meat. "While you are at your mothers, I was going to have a BBQ every night. Every night a new meat dish." Turning to Dan, I continue my rant. " And I was going to throw every scrap and bone in your yard."

With that I stormed into the house. Bracing for an epic argument.

It was a long night.

Bottom line, I love Carla and she loves me. We patched things up and she finally conceded to allow meat into our home, and I promised no more secrets. I even practice yoga now.

As far as the friendship with Dan, that soon ended. A week later the police raided his home and they found Irene’s body buried under the newly formed patio. She was covered in lime.

He was right, we never smelled a thing.

I would like to thank you for reading my tale, it is greatly appreciated. If you enjoyed it please click on the heart and subscribe.


Sunrise Photo by Vladimir Kondratyev on Unsplash


About the Creator


I have enjoyed writing for most of my life, never professionally.

I wish to now share my stories with others, lets see where it goes.

Born and raised on the Canadian Prairies, I currently reside on the West Coast. I call both places home.

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Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  • Babs Iverson4 months ago

    Splendid storytelling!!! You really keep my interest. Loved the story and the ending!!!💕😊💖💕

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