© 2013 The Lost Coyote Mine
An underground space lit by oil lamps. A light brightens a horizontal mineshaft. Shuffling noise, a lumbering old man enters oil lamp in hand, a man slung over his shoulder. Dumps the man to the ground
(Miner moves to an old wood box, sets the lamp down, grabs a length of chain, and heavy leather collar, moves back to 13)
Why ya make me do this? Why can’t ya stay rottin’ in the ground. Keep comin’ back. Stay outta my gold. Let me be!
(Miner locks the collar around his neck.)
I got a place to put ya. Old shaft way deep. Ain’t no stories about it I heard. No gold there either, I know I looked. The feel to it makes ya walk real quiet, with the creeps climbin’ ya neck. Monsters up here, toys next to what’s down there. Nothin’ goes down there ‘cept me.
(Miner pulls 13’s head up…nose to nose…calm)
Look here, I done said I was sorry. A long time ago.
Don’t know I got anythin’ left knows for sure what’s real and what ain’t. Maybe ya just me hauntin’ me. Won’t have ya in my gold. Can’t have ya messin’ with my head.
(measured pause while muddled thoughts churn)
I squared the ledger on a dozen of ‘em. Gave ‘em the same they done them girls. Wasn’t nobody even lookin’ real hard for me. Some called it justice. Some did, anyways.
OK! I get it. Ya didn’t do it. Ya think it murder. I think maybe I got ya in the nick of time. Ya was gonna do it, someday. That’s what ya like isn’t? Little girls? I saw what ya was.
(Miner kisses 13’s forehead, holding him close)
How could I know they was gonna let ya go. Just like that. I thought, maybe I don’t do nothin’ this time. The law’ll get it right. I packed the van down to Arkansas for the next one. Then one night, damn if I don’t see ya on the news, walkin’ outta the courthouse. They let ya go.
How the hell they let ya go? They all blind? Your clear as glass, they don’t see that? I drove all night to get back. I couldn’t let it go like the law did. Ya see that, don’t ya? I gotta make it right!
(Small kitchen, clean, simple, 10 year old boy at the table, drinking orange juice. Slender woman with left arm in a sling, and battered a bit about the face and neck, places breakfast in front of her son)
Eat up sweetie. Bus’ll be here before you know it.
(boy takes a few bites, looks at Mom)
I wish he was dead.
Oh, Andy, don’t be talking like that. I’m fine.
It ain’t right. It ain’t right
Mom (her right arm around her son, cheek to cheek)
What’s right don’t mean much to most folks. Life a bit easier with blinders. Take that to heart and keep your eyes open. You have to be strong, son. Strong inside that don’t get fooled or sweet-talked. Grow up strong, and right, you can do what has to be done. The hard things.
(kisses his cheek, straightens)
You got so much to learn yet. It’ll take time to be ready. Can you do that? Sure you can, baby. There are too many can’t help themselves, specially little ones. They going to need someone, someday. You keep them in mind.
(back to eating)
(Mom stands and moves to the stove)
It’s OK if you’re not strong, baby.
I am! I will be. I promise.
(smiling, moving the pans to the little sink)
No, no it’s OK if you’re not, Andrew. You can forget all about it and make a lot of money and pretend you ain’t never seen anything, just like everyone else. You can be just like everyone else. It’ll be OK.
I won’t, I promise for real. I ain’t gonna forget anything.
I’ll shoot him someday.
Andrew Jackson Carter, I said don’t talk like that! You don’t talk like that about your dad.
NOT my dad!
(washing dishes…a glint in her eyes)
You know he likes to think you’re his. Seems real important to him. Real important. Don’t make him mad, Andrew. You don’t want to make him mad at you.
I don’t care. I hope he gets mad at me. Maybe leave ya alone.
Oh, sweetie, don’t pay him any mind. I’ll be just fine. You just remember what I told you. You got to grow up strong. To know what’s right and keep it in your heart always. You was meant for something special. Make your Mama proud.
Now, you jump up quick and get your books, bus’ll be here real soon.
(tight focus to the Miner’s face, 13 still in his arms)
I remember. Lot of stuff blurry, but I know whats right. What a…what uhhhh oh damn…your name. I don’t recall…Miller? Keller…somethin’ like that. Ya gotta go. man. Ya stay with me; sooner to later they find ya. Cristos find ya, he eat ya like candy, him and the others. Ya think I come here on accident?
I’m losin’ it. Ya ain’t real. Maybe I ain’t either. Been long enough I suspect.
What ya lookin’ at spook?
(13 opens his mouth. Pixelating silent scream as his form breaks to a black mist. A suggestion of a face and eye patch. The Miner tries to corral in the mist…to get a grip on it someway. The mine is the voice of Cristos. The air through the shafts his breath, and his voice barely intelligible heard everywhere at once)
Damn it. Hold still ya sunuvabitch.
La espada de Cristo. Mio! El Oro is Mio!
(The mist moves into the rock, a faint sound of breathing carries through the shafts)
Show yourself. Coward!
(The Miner spreads his weight carefully…his hands holding the chains that held 13.)
Ya afraid of an old man, spook?
(low laughter through the shafts)
I know about ya. Been 400 years, give or take. Ya got no business with anythin’ up above. Ya got no business with nothin’. I been here near thirty years. Ya ain’t got me yet! I’m still here. I ain’t leavin’ – it’s mine now. The gold is Mine!
(The Miner watching the shadows shift lightly on the rock walls)
Ya hear me spook! MY GOLD!
(with a low roar a black cloud races to the Miner, his chain swings touches nothing. The miner is lifted off his feet and carried hard into the rock wall)
Mio! Santificado. La sangre de los inocentes! MIO!
(rusted hulk of a sword lifts from the mist, clanks off the wall next to the Miner’s head)
Do it, coward! Do it! The cold dead hands of Justice around ya throat for all time!
(The Miner is choking, kicking, clawing at invisible hands. His eyes flutter…his movements eventually slow and stop, and he drops to the rock floor)
(a small tidy bedroom. The boy, now 12, is bleeding from a split lip, one eye swollen shut, the other soon to be purple black. Mom is tending to his hurts. )
Oh, Andrew, why did you do that? I told you to pay him no mind.
I wasn’t gonna let him hurt ya no more. I wish I had a gun…OWW..a gun, not a knife.
You tried to sneak up on him, Andy. What did you expect?
(the boy sniffs…cries a little as Mom hugs him)
Now now, Andrew. Don’t cry. Big boys don’t cry do they?
You listen to your Mama. You stop this nonsense right now! You got a lot to do. You don’t do no sneaking around like that no more. Makes you no better than him, than any of ‘em. You understand? You’re special, baby. You don’t sneak.
Oh, baby, you got so much to learn yet. We need to put a little ice on that eye, or it’ll swell up like the other. My poor baby.
(Mom stands up slowly, limping to the fridge, putting a few ice cubes in a bag)
Why don’t ya call the cops on him?
(Mom sighs, shakes her head, walking back to Andrew with the cold pack)
The law has to see both sides. And he knows most of the Deputies. Only make things worse. He’s growing tired of it, I think. Spending more time out than in, thank you, Lord.
Ya gotta run away. Get well clear of em.
(Mom holds the pack on Andrews eye..moving his hand up to hold it)
And who takes care of you, smarty-pants?
I don’t need no one to take care of me. I take care of myself.
NO. No, Andy, you got too much to do. You need me. I need you. We’ll stay here and work it out together. OK, baby?
(Andrew hugs his mom tight)
OK…just us two.
(The Miners eyes flutter open, the shaft a blur as his eyes adjust. He groans)
Ohhh lord. Still here….
(The Miner sits up slow…looking around cautiously. 13 laying against the far wall, the collar and chain attached as though nothing had happened)
Told ya didn’t I? You don’t belong here, 13. And I’m still talkin’ to ya….I must be nuts.
(The Miner stands slowly, moves his limbs…making sure everything works)
I can’t figure it out. How’s it I’m still breathin’ after all these years? Maybe he can’t do it his-self. I’ve more blood on my hands, but he got no sense of that…does he? He couldn’t be afraid of me, could he?
Not much left inside. Only got a handful of words. Just pure hate and greed all hot black. Maybe I’m not real to him. Just the same shadow he is to me. Stop it! Stop it. No matter, gotta make it right.
(Miner pauses…a slow burn)
He thinks he can touch my gold!
(Miner squats on the floor head in hands, long pause)
The gold’s not gonna just jump out and run to me. Can’t let it get too far away. What was I doing? Ohhhhhh lord..so tired. Still some shiny bits down below Redman. Best get on ‘em. Need to tear that out some before Winter shows up, and too cold up there.
(Miner stands…takes 13’s chain)
Ya commin’ wit me, 13. Gonna show ya the shaft lead ya right straight down to Hell.
(A little chapel. The boy, now 13, is sitting by himself. He’s in a suit too big for him. The jacket a bit frayed, and the boy plainly tied the tie himself. His eyes are red, his face flush. His lips set hard and thin. In front of him is a plain pine coffin, a handful of dandelions in a bouquet, stems mashed together, the only color on the box)
Big boys don’t cry. Not never no more.