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  • [This is a short story with multiple episodes. The seed of this one is That Thudding Sound .]

    Just as DEA agents start combing through the grounds of the stunned community for suspected drugs, my daughter comes and tells me that she knows there are drugs here.

    "You say you saw some drugs?" I asked her casually. Iris nodded. We were about 25 feet away from one of the government agents and I felt really uncomfortable discussing this. "Come," I said, let's talk in our trailer."

    We started walking toward the trailer. Suddenly, a DEA agent came around its corner of a house, nearly knocking us down. He was glued to the viewfinder of a camera, a large, odd-looking grey one with handgrips on both sides, which he was pointing at the house. When he realized he almost ran into us, he smiled and said "Sorry, I had my head down and didn't see you." Then he moved on, seeming to take pictures of a blank wall.

    I told him "No problem," and we hastened on, me wondering if that was that one of those high-tech cameras that image heat, even through walls.

    When we ducked into the trailer, Annie wasn't around. "Do you know where your mom is?" I asked Iris. "Nope. Last time I saw her she was with Trevor's mom, I think."

    "OK, I said. "So tell me everything you know. Don't change or leave anything out. When did you see what you say are drugs?"

    "Trevor and I found them by accident last night when we were exploring."

    "And you're sure what you found were, like, illegal drugs?"

    "Oh, yes. After I found them, I showed them to Trevor. He said they had to be drugs. I am sure that's right. I saw pictures of things like them in our drug awareness class at school."

    At the time, I had wondered what that class was teaching her, but now I was grateful for her education. "Specifically," I asked, "where did you find them?"

    "He was showing me around the village and we came to the back of the big house they eat in. It has a screen porch on that side. You know how I like to crawl into tight little places, right?"

    "Um-huh, I grunted.

    "Well, the porch is a couple of feet off the ground, with a lot of space underneath it and I saw an opening into it so I told Trevor let's go in and see what's there. He didn't want to, but I went in anyway. It was all empty in there except for some pieces of wood lying around and sitting on one of them I saw a bag."

    "What kind of bag?"

    "It was like a black gym bag, with handles and a zipper. I picked it up to see if it was empty, and it wasn't. So I called to Trevor to come see it. I thought I had found a treasure. So Trevor crawled in and I unzipped the bag."

    "And you saw ..."

    "Well, first I smelled something like catnip. Inside there were plastic bags that were full of some kind of leaves and were all wrapped up in clear tape. I think there were three of those."

    "Anything else?"

    "There were some other bags that were taped up with something that looked like sugar in them. Trevor said that the plant stuff was probably Marijuana and the white stuff could be some heavy drug. Whatever it was, Trevor was sure it didn't belong here."

    "What did you do then?"

    "Well, I wanted to go and tell you to come see it, but Trevor said no, this is very bad. Nobody is supposed to use drugs here, but it looks like someone is and who knows when they might come to get them – maybe soon. Trevor wanted to get rid of the bag so that person would never find those drugs and he did not want to tell anybody about it."

    I could only say "I think he should have contacted an adult about it, myself."

    "I really didn't want to do anything with that bag, honest, but I did not want to go against Trevor. Anyway, he pulled it out from under the porch after I scouted and told him nobody was around. Then he told me to follow him. We zigzagged around and peeked around corners to make sure nobody saw us."

    "OK," I said. "So what did you do with the bag?" I had suddenly realized that it must have the kids' fingerprints on it now.

    "Trevor didn't know where to get rid of it," said Iris, "so I said let's bury it in the woods. He thought it would be hard and take too long to dig a big hole out there. It was getting dark anyway. But then he remembered a place we could use to bury it, so we went over to that ditch they are digging to bring in the telephone."

    I had seen that trench, in fact had nearly fallen into it several hours ago. "Is that what you did?" I asked.

    "We walked along the ditch up the hill, to where that digging machine was sitting." I think I knew what she meant. I had seen a backhoe sitting over the trench by the edge of the woods.

    Iris continued. "Trevor said that place was where they had stopped filling in the ditch the other day. The digging machine was sitting right over the trench. Trevor grabbed a shovel that was lying there and ducked under the digger. He told me that if we put the bag in the ditch and covered it up with dirt, the digger would throw more dirt on it when they started filling up the ditch again. So he scraped out some dirt from under the machine and then put the bag in and shoveled dirt on it until we couldn't see it anymore."

    "Such ingenuity! Anything else? Go on."

    "Isn't that enough? It was really spooky under that digger and all we wanted to do was to get out of there."

    "So that's what Trevor didn't want you to talk about at breakfast, eh?"

    Before Iris could answer, the trailer door opened to reveal Annie. "Just the people I wanted to see!" she announced, stepping in. Right behind her came the T's: Trevor, Tammy and Ted.

    Continued in That Puzzling Sound

    [The original seed of this series is On Sustainable Power, May 31, 2012.
    To identify all the stories in the series, click the tag That Sound beneath the map.]

    @image: Digging a trench
    @audio: shoveling sound from
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