They are so weird, beginnings. Where does a thing start? The first time you do it? But surely most things aren’t spur of the moment? Isn’t there almost always a thought before the deed? So, where does that thought come from? When does a seed get planted in the mind? How long does it take to germinate?
“Come on! Hurry up! You’ll get us caught!” The heavy set guy in the long trenchcoat panted as he waited at the entrance to the alley beside the large, red brick building.
“I’m coming as fast as I can! Carrying this thing isn’t easy! You could have given me a hand with it!” The second figure, smaller, dressed in jeans and t-shirt, the faded band logo on the front almost gone, a rose entwined around crossed pistols, staggered under the weight of a large cardboard box, passing the larger guy and disappearing down the alley into the shadows.
The larger guy looked up and down the dark street, the overhead lights making the dark appear deeper outside their radius of illumination. The location was perfect, halfway between lights, on a slight bend in the road, allowing him to see anyone approaching from either direction. Behind him in the deep dark of the alley he could hear the box being set down, the scrape as it was pushed into position, the scrape of metal on metal….a grunt of effort…
“It’s no good, you’ll have to give me a hand” the smaller guy whispered, his form barely discernible in the gloom. The larger guy glanced both ways again, seeing that there was no movement on the street, turning and moving back into the alley.
“Give it here! You’re useless!” He grasped the long steel bar that the smaller guy was using to try to lift the large cast iron manhole cover in the middle of the alley floor, straining for a moment as years of encrusted detritus gave way and with an audible pop the cover began to move.
“Fuck this thing is heavy! Get out of the way, I’m going to have to drag it…” The scrape of the metal cover on the tarmac of the alley seemed unreasonably loud in the quiet night and he moved as fast as he dared, the utter black of the hole below revealed as he shuffled backwards….
“Quick! Open the box and we can get out of here” He whispered urgently as the smaller guy took the box cutter from his pocket and slit the parcel tape holding the large carboard box closed. As he did so the box jumped, shifting as though something inside was trying to get out, and he sliced the tape faster, grabbing the sides of the box and tipping it towards the hole. As the box tipped the flaps opened and he felt something heavy moving inside, a slithering sound of plastic on cardboard, the flaps pushing back further as he caught a glimpse of the sleek, slippery looking shape, illuminated even in the almost total dark, perfectly reflective, uniquely strange, before with a splash it disappeared into the sewer system.
“Let’s go, I’ve had way to much of this for one lifetime! Never again!” He sliced the sides of the box, folding it and dropping it into the hole as his larger partner pulled the cover back into place, slamming it shut as far below there was a second splash as something started to realise it was finally free….