Dreamed 1997/5/7 by Chris Wayan
A man is murdered in a railroad-building crew at their work camp in an evergreen forest. I tag along behind the detective. He doesn't like any of the suspects--in fact, he hates ALL these people. He's a persuasive, convincing guy--so he uses the compelling power of his words and voice to convince them all that there's no hope--they might as well all hang themselves--it's painless!
And a lot of them do, though they use a method that may not be fatal: standing up, noose anchored sideways, leaning into it. I suspect they'll only stifle themselves to unconsciousness, and when they collapse the noose will slacken. That's what the detective wants--he can't fight them all, and every unconscious tracklayer is one less potential killer to deal with. But I object--there's risk of brain damage, and some of them may really die. A cynical voice inside wonders if I really care about them as people, or is it that at least a third of the crew are women, and I see it as a waste--girls I could date are stifling themselves!
Now I'm alone among the forest crew. They look rougher now. All men. Angry men. Big angry men.
They surround me, grinning. A huge truck backs up and the circle parts just enough to let it in. They planned this! The truck bed tilts up and a thick, stinking mass of fermented wood pulp floods from it, thick as honey. Heavy and full of pitch, it traps me, mounting, thigh deep, waist deep... And they stand around with nasty grins and don't offer to help--it was planned! They're trying to kill me! An "unfortunate accident." They're holding crowbars--if the pulp flood doesn't drown me, it'll at least pin me down so they can comfortably beat me to death.
I'm in trouble. Big trouble.
Oops. I mean 'big time'...
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