“The boys approached the long forgotten and neglected cemetery, PJ, obviously frightened of the evil he imagined lurking there, veered to the far side of the road. Of course, Casey couldn’t pass up an opportunity like this.
“Hey look, it looks like some of ‘em have been diggin’ their way out!”
Tim took Casey’s lead. “Or, it could be grave robbers!”
“That crypt in the side of the hill is cracked open. Remember the huge padlock it used to have on it?” Casey gave PJ his best-scared look.
“Don’t you guys go and do somethin’ stupid, now.” PJ opened his eyes so wide that Casey was afraid they might fall out. “It’s sacrilegious to go messin’ around with the dead.”
“Come on, Tim, ol’ chicken PJ can stay here with the bikes.”
Casey and Tim walked over to the crypt and peered inside. It sure was eerie all right.
Casey pushed the door open a little wider.
“There isn’t enough light to see all the way to the back. Are those drawers what they put dead bodies in?”
By now, Tim’s eyes were bugging right out of his head, and Casey suspected it wasn’t just because of the lack of light.
“I guess so, Tim. What do ya say we slam the door behind us, start screamin’ bloody murder, and see how long it takes PJ to skedaddle?”
“Let’s do it! I hope PJ brought a clean pair of skivvies,” snickered Tim.
They entered the crypt and quickly slammed the door into total darkness. The silence was deafening.
“Why did ya do that?” A loud and demanding voice echoed through the silence.
“T-Tim. T-Tell me that was you.”
“I-I was hopin’ it was you, C-Casey.”
They both leaped for the door, groveling for a handle that had rotted and fallen off long ago. During all the loud confusion, it became quite apparent that the door wasn’t going to open.
“Oh golly, ya oughterent a done that, ‘cause yestidy it took Nubs all day ta git out when he done it.”
“That you, Nubs,” Casey said, to the dark?
“Oh mercy, I spect so, that’s who I was when I waked up this mornin’ anyhow. You’re Casey and that Tim feller. I seen ya when ya come in. Ya see, Nubs don’t gotta ask. Nubs’ smart. Casey and Tim, uh-huh uh-huh, that’s you alright.”
Nubs was an awesome spectacle to observe, a gentle, yet powerful man with the mentality of a small child. Weighing over two hundred and fifty pounds, at the age of fifty five he was as agile as a man in his twenties. He had one solid thick brow that hung over his eyes like a balcony at an opera house.
His nickname was due to his right hand missing the three last fingers from a shotgun blast many years ago, when he had grabbed a shotgun barrel in defense of a squirrel.
His little niece had once told him how dashing he looked in his Sunday-go-to-meetin’ suit, and he’d been wearing it almost everyday since, even now, while digging up one hundred-year-old graves.