September 3 — I’m at the house by 6 AM.  Except there’s no house.  Just an empty lot of churned-up earth.  Surrounded by bulldozers, backhoes and excavators that must have been dropped off the night before.  If you didn’t know any better, you’d think the job was already done.  But as the demolition crew trickles in, it’s clear they were about to start a job, not finish one.  And no one’s more confused than the crew boss.  I sit in my car and watch as they scratch their heads and scrutinize their work order and radio the city to figure out what’s going on.  After about twenty minutes, I see grins spread on the workers’ faces and lots of high-fives all around.  Looks like they get an unexpected day off.  All except one schmo who’s ordered to the compactor to level out the soil.

It takes him a few hours to finish the job, and I sit and watch.  There’s a part of me that expects the earth to open up and swallow him and his machine whole.  But it doesn’t.  I continue to sit after he leaves.  I sit there all day and just stare at that unassuming patch of levelly-graded dirt.  There are a couple times I’m tempted to walk onto the now-empty lot.  One time I even have my hand on the door handle.  But I can’t do it.  Unless someone had a gun to my head, I don’t think I could physically step on that ground again.  And even then. . .

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