the underground kingdom of SMUD

This intensely gorgeous Sunday afternoon finds me typing on my laptop in the garage.

I’ve set the music to shuffle “all songs” for the Dead, and Jerry is dreamily noodling behind me, “Playing in the Band.”  I’m drinking a Downtown Brown and smoking my pipe; I broke into a old tin of Dunhill’s London Mixture for the occasion – to this American it’s a lavish tobacco and it works perfectly against the brown ale.  My feet are bare and I’m wearing shorts and a t-shirt.  The baby is sleeping inside and Sharaun’s about to leave for the gym.  Keaton is playing in the front yard with her next-door neighbor friend.  I brought my book out here with me so I can read when I get tired of writing, or “wake up” to the fact that everything’s going on around me whilst I stare at a damned screen like I do every day at the office.

I’ll bet you didn’t know, friends, just like Keaton and the neighbor girl didn’t, that there’s a secret underground kingdom beneath our front yard.

Yes, I know, it’s hard to believe – but it’s there; I have proof.  You see, we found a door.  It’s been there all along, right in the corner of our yard!  And to make it more obvious, the name of the subterranean lands which lie hidden beneath its hinges is stenciled right on front: SMUD.  The secret underground kingdom of SMUD, hiding in plain sight all these years and we’ve never thought to think about it.  But no more!  Today the scales fell off and we got interested.  Keaton, the neighbor, and dad went into full-on explorer mode.  By jove if there’s a door to a secret kingdom right in our own front yard we are duty-bound to make contact with the inhabitants and establish neighborly relations (even if these neighbors are underneath rather than to the left or right).

At first we tried knocking, but no one answered.  Silly explorers, we forgot that our daytime is the darkest dead of midnight in the kingdom of SMUD – everyone must be sound asleep!  But we couldn’t wait until nightfall, there had to be another way.  Keaton had an epiphany and ran inside, double-timing it back a minute later with an array of keys we could try in the door.  Nothing worked.  Perhaps, dad pondered, there might be a secret password!  Like in the story of the forty thieves or when Gandalf gets the crew into Moria.  We try several guesses: “abracadabra,” “SMUD,” etc.  Dad offers up “open sesame,” and we even speak the most magic of all magic words: “please.”  All to no avail.

Presently, I’ve left the girls to the chore of waking or breaching – and they’re a dedicated duo!  I, on the other hand, am taking a break.  Every so often they run over to test a new thought, “Maybe we need tools!?”  “Good idea,” I encourage, “Here take this wrench and look for some kind of bolts or something!  Let me know how it goes, explorers!”  And they run off again into the sun.

And this, friends, is how to spend a Sunday.


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2 Replies to “the underground kingdom of SMUD”

  1. Keaton showed me her keys last night… she had them tucked deep in her backpack. She said they were keys to the Secret Underground World of SMUD and that she and Jackie had found the door in her front yard. I giggled a little and said, “The Secret Underground World of SMUD?” That’s awesome! Did your Daddy help name it.” “Yeah. He found the name.”

    Too cute.

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