The Tree Stump

“I’ll use dynamite if I have to.”  His expression betrayed no sign of joking.

Still, she couldn’t completely stifle a chuckle.  “That seems pretty extreme.”

“I don’t care.  I want that tree stump gone.  It’s been an eyesore in the backyard for too long.”

“Well, try the chain trick the neighbor suggested before resorting to dynamite.”

“I know, I know.”

She followed him outside and helped wrap the chain around the stump before securing it to the truck.

“Remember, pull and then reverse.  Like you’re wiggling a tooth.”

He nodded as he climbed into the cab.  She moved back twenty feet or so in order to watch from a safe distance.  It took a while, but she clapped when she saw the stump shift a little.  She encouraged him to keep at it.  The stump moved more and more until it finally lurched from the ground.

It sounded like a giant cork being pulled from the world’s largest wine bottle, and a rush of air launched the stump into the sky, arcing toward the truck.  It landed just in front of the grill, the chain wrapping over the top.  He jumped out and ran back towards the hole.

“What happened?”

He had yelled, but it was still hard to hear him over the sound of air rushing up and out of the hole.  The ground beneath them was behaving oddly, suddenly unstable and sinking.  Their eyes met as they widened, and without saying anything, they both ran over to the stump.

He took the chain off of it and together they picked it up.  As heavy as it was, the two of them were able to carry it back.  The ground undulated like a water bed as they got closer, so they had to move slowly.  The final obstacle was the force of the air out of the hole itself, but they managed to maneuver the stump into place.  He stood on it while she backed the truck up to replace him.

They stood in silence for several minutes.  She broke it first.  “Really, I don’t think the stump looks that bad, do you?”

He shook his head.

“And the depression in the yard is barely noticeable.  It’s already back to being stable.”

He nodded.  “I am going to need to find a nice big heavy rock so I can get my truck back, though.”

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