Sixteen months and five million dollars later, they had just about succeeded. All that was left was the final blast and a little bit of clean-up work, and then a mountain in West Virginia just tall enough to be a mountain but not large enough to have a name would have been reduced to rubble, paved flat, and eventually turned into the location for the fifth largest golf and spa resort within an afternoon’s drive of the Eastern Seaboard. A few more pounds of dynamite- some dump trucks, and that was it- they would have redefined the map.
The obstacles had been many- of course, the usual environmental groups had complained about some special feathered wood owl or something or other, they had unearthed some primitive bones and intricate stone carvings, politicians had been bribed- but now it was almost over.
Three bulldozers and eighteen men had died when a dynamite blast caused an avalanche. Everyone cried for a week, it seems, then the digging continued.
That night, the foreman of the project stayed late, drink three quarters of a bottle of Wild Turkey, and paraded around the spot where the summit of the mountain had once stood, now reduced to a small pile of rubble.
I moved a mountain, he repeated over and over, not even ceasing the incantation when choosing to piss all over the dirt. As the flatness spun around him and the alcohol took him over, he realized that this was the greatest achievement of his life, this dismantling of an entire mountain. He threw the bottle down, smashing it against a pile of rocks.
I moved a mountain! he screamed, slipping on the mud created by the remainder of the booze and slicing his hand on a piece of the broken glass. He looked at his hand, full of blood, and laughed. Then he wet himself and screamed I moved a mountain again, thrusting his bloody hand toward the half quarter moon.
He pulled his cellphone out of his pocket and clumsily dialed.
Hey, babe, it’s me-
Where the hell are you?
We finished the project and I thought I’d celebrate-
God, are you drunk again?
Just a little, but I can’t drive. Need help.
I can’t leave the kids, Frank. Peter’s sick.
But I need a drive. I mean, ride.
You need more than that. I’m sorry, but I can’t help you tonight. Please don’t call back tonight- if the kids hear your voice, they’ll get upset, and it’ll be hours before I can put them to bed again.
She audibly sighed. We’ve been over this. You had your chance, Frank. Multiple chances. You made your choice. You blew it.
He dropped the phone to his side and passed out for about an hour, only waking up when his urine soaked jeans turned cold in the night air. He climbed to his feet and began lumbering toward the construction trailer and his truck beyond. After a few seconds, he grabbed the phone and pressed the redial button.
I moved a mountain he muttered to himself, as he listened to the rings.