Well Dead

Over on his site Dan O’Shea challenged the world to kill Dan Malmon. After talking to Malmon on twitter, he seems like a pretty decent human being, and I feel awful that I don’t feel awful at all for writing this. Enjoy. 

Malmon spit a mouthful of old motor oil out as the crane took up the slack and started lifting him out of the well by his hands. He and Rogelio had pulled the pump only a day ago, and now there was nothing down here except Dan Malmon and fifty feet of rusted steel casing, eighteen inches across and open to the air. Two feet of oil floated on the water’s surface, leaked from the irrigation pump that had occupied this well for the last twenty years, and it rolled down his legs to fall in fat drops from the tips of his steel toes. Dan listened to the pinging ricochets of the oil landing grow distant as the crane pulled him back to the surface.

“How you feeling?” Rogelio called down, his thick Mexican accent carrying a little too much cheer for Dan’s tastes.

“Fuckin’ tickles,” Dan yelled.

Rogelio laughed.

Really, his wrists had gone numb minutes after being strung up on the crane, although he could still feel the blood trickling down his arms. Dan’s shoulders, however, felt ready to just give up and tear free from his torso. And somewhere over the screaming in his joints, he could feel everywhere that’d come in contact with the rusted casing the three times they’d dropped him; he was going to have some serious fucking road rash to deal with when they cut him free.


Now there was an optimistic sentiment.


Dan’s head rose above the casing. Fresh air hit him like a punch in the face, followed quickly by Rogelio’s fist.

Before Dan could shake off the blow, he felt a blade tapping the underside of his chin. He looked up, straight into the dark, glistening eyes of Rogelio’s cousin, Victor Hernandez. Victor spoke to Dan in Spanish while Rogelio translated.

“Victor says you get one last chance to tell us where the package is. You tell him, you get to run like a scared little rabbit. You don’t, well…” Rogelio tossed a rock into the well, between Dan’s dangling feet. The splash echoing out of the pipe made Victor grin.

Dan’s stomach clenched. He nodded carefully against the knife blade and looked at Rogelio.

“You remember that pump shed we tore apart in Dixon, right off 80? It’s taped up under the roof. Everything is there. It’s all still there.”

Rogelio stared, and Dan could almost see the gears turning in the man’s head.

“Stop fucking around Dan and tell him where the package is,” Rogelio said. His expression remained flat but a fresh sheen of excitement danced in his eyes.

“God dammit, Rogelio, tell him where it is!” Dan yelled. He tried to drive the point home with a kick at Rogelio’s head, but only managed a weak thrust.

Victor had better aim, as well as leverage, and punched Dan hard enough to spin the dangling man halfway around. His wrists sprang to life with fresh pain as the rope twisted and tightened anew around the crane hook.

Victor started screaming at Dan. Rogelio translated, standing a step behind his cousin and grinning like a madman.

“He says he didn’t come to America to be disrespected and cheated by a gringo like you.”

“You no good fucking wetback!” Dan yelled at Rogelio. “I hope he finds you out, you sack of shit, and gives you the Folsom Prison Special with a ten gauge!”

Rogelio managed to grin wider.

“But Victor says he’s not entirely without mercy.”

Dan locked eyes with Victor.

“I hope you like being a puta, Victor, because Rogelio is fucking you like one! You have no…”

Victor caught the word puta and hit Dan hard enough to leave him dazed, head drooped, blood flowing steadily from the tip of his busted nose straight down the well below. He was still trying to regain his bearings when Victor raised the knife to the crane hook.

“No…” Dan begged, voice weak.

He had a moment of hope as Victor’s brow wrinkled in confusion while he turned to his cousin.

Dan understood enough Spanish to pick up “Como se dice…” but didn’t know what Victor was asking how to say.

Rogelio stepped up to whisper in his cousin’s ear. Victor smiled and nodded his thanks before turning back to Dan.

“Start. Running.”

The knife severed the coarse rope holding Dan to the crane before the last foreign letter twisted in Victor’s mouth.

Dan plummeted.

His left forearm smashed into the lip of the casing. He felt it slide under skin, under muscle, and thud against bone, before it was pulled free by Dan’s own weight. This time, he didn’t notice any of his body sliding against the metal over the screaming pain in his arm.

He didn’t have time to cry out before he hit the oil and the foul liquid filled his mouth. Burning pain shot through the wound as it, too, was coated in the filth. Dan dug his toes against the casing and shoved himself upward, sputtering and gagging as he broke through the surface and into the stuffy air. The well was too narrow to drop his tied hands below his head and he tried to ignore the thick flap of meat and skin that hung from his arm, as well as the steady stream of blood.

Dan looked up as a grating sound shot down from the surface. What little moonlight filtered down to him was slowly eclipsed as Rogelio slid the well cap over the opening, sides glowing red hot as he welded it down.

There was no room to wedge himself in place with his knees, and he could feel himself growing weaker from blood loss by the minute.

This well wasn’t scheduled to be opened again until late next week.

Fifty feet below ground.

Twenty miles from nowhere.

Coated in oil and likely to pass out and drown within the hour.

Dan hung his head and wept.



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