Crystal Palace

Just another night of trying to sleep in the hot humid summer night. The bed itself is too soft with a few springs missing, giving the back that unrest feeling that as you awake you don’t feel like you have rested at all. Doesn’t help any being so humid that all of your water weight was left in the bed. Often the thoughts of getting my act together and move out of this boarding house, but without a car it’s a short walk to the Crystal Palace with a market on the way making it easy to pick up a sandwich and tobacco for the day.

One of the perks of working down below its always 60 degrees. No matter if it’s blistering hot and humid or freezing cold outside. Can’t help but feel sorry for those chumps working the assembly lines for that lunatic owner of the model A. Hell you say a few words to somebody down the line and take the risk of getting your head stoved in by some henchman hired to fight any unionization that could be brewing. Much less having to deal with the Detroit elements. Nope not much drama down below working the great crystal rock.

If your lucky once you arrive at the Crystal Palace, before you hang your tag on the board and head under ground the foreman will instruct you to work in the east tunnel. Today I was in luck for man wanted me to watch the east tunnel, easy night for me air traveled east down the tunnel so you could seek a few cigs through out the night. Not like when you are way below then you had the Hydrogen sulfide gas to deal with.

Down below or even above ground nobody ever talks about the east tunnel. The tunnel is no longer is drilled on but maintained in case of future use. Ever since the second shaft began running and was able to haul out large loads of salt, the first shaft was mainly used to bring in supplies and men. Strangely enough two trucks go down the tunnel and three trucks return. As you spent your night watching the entrance you never pay much mind to that third truck, accept its obvious that everyone in that truck doesn’t work for the mine. Often the truck that stops to give you a weeks supply of tobacco as it moves though. It is the only truck that is  covered with a tarp and once above ground it leaves the complex.

Sometimes on the walk home I notice this truck just up the road from the boarding house at Big Al’s deli. The busiest deli in town that serves only one sandwich but stays open 24 hours. It must be said that it is nice having Big Al’s close by usually after payday a group of us will stroll in past the deli and into the back where we can purchase some of the cold frosty brews that ever since returning from the war has been hard to find, much more could land you in jail. But you have to watch yourself, you seen the trucks go by and took the tobacco that they offered so don’t get out of line, like last year when one of the drillers had a few to many and they stopped serving him, of course he started spouting off, even pushing over the cocktail waitress. We got him out to the street warned him to get back to the house and sleep it off but never seen him again.

But today was different, usually around noon the two trucks will head down the tunnel but tonight only one truck entered the tunnel, I did not even recognize the driver, and unlike most nights nobody stopped to hand out tobacco. Matter of fact these guys that sped past me looked like they actually had been working. Then a strong whiff of gun powder and whiskey filled the air as a second truck came into sight it was the one with the tarp. Moving rapidly towards me but out of control as it bounced of the walls of the mine shaft. Then the gun shots started to echo in the tunnel.

I had to make a move not sure what was going on, I latched up on to the truck as it passed by me. Thats when I noticed that the driver had been shot dead. The passenger was shot to but not dead just screaming in pain. I opened the door and the drivers lifeless body slide right out. Jumping in I regained control of the truck and stepped on the gas. Just then a bullet shot out the side mirror of the truck but not before I could see the third truck rolling down the shaft on fire and about four guys with guns shooting at me.

Not sure what happened but I was involved now.



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