The gopher digs. He pokes his head out of his hole, pushing out dirt from his tunneling and to
eat some roots and grass. Then he pops back into his hole and digs. During his short and
largely anonymous lifespan, this gopher has found a mate and sired baby gophers which have
since grown up to dig on their own. For the most part, the gopher‟s life passes by largely
unnoticed by the world touched by sunlight. And for the most part, the gopher has little interest
in that world, either.
Today, like every other day, the gopher was digging, occasionally poking his head out of one of
his holes to eat some grass or roots before quickly ducking back into his hole to dig some more.
It seems like just another day in a life of just another days for a gopher. Little did he know that
this day would be his last day on earth, as he was about to face a cruel, violent, premature
But for now, the gopher nestles snugly inside the dark home he has created with his paws,
protected from the cold dampness of the fading night above, peacefully doing what the gopher
does. The gopher digs.
Above ground, next to one of the gopher‟s freshly-dug holes, rests a collapsible lawn chair
made of aluminum and crisscrossed mesh of purple and white strands of some plastic fabric
that could withstand the elements sufficiently to survive for twenty five years while still holding
Peter White‟s butt off the ground. And this is where Peter sits. Holding a shovel, peering at the
hole through the damp, cold darkness of the dying evening, Peter sits in the backyard of his
cozy little Torrance home, which three months ago he finished paying the mortgage on, and
It is three thirty in the morning. His neighbors are asleep, save for one woman across the
street, a nurse who works an early shift and is getting ready for work, the college-age son of a
neighbor down the street who is just coming back from his evening out, and a younger couple
who are having sex in their bedroom. Peter has never met the younger couple; they seem to
have little to do with the neighborhood, as far as he can tell.
Among those sleeping is Peter‟s wife, a woman who is nearly the same age as her husband (a
month and a half older, to be exact), but who looks twenty years younger than him. This
apparent age difference is partially the result of her active lifestyle which includes yoga
instruction, daily meditation, hiking, kayaking and participation in Tantric workshops (or “book
club,” as she would tell Peter), all of which she does without her husband, as he has little
interest in such activities. She has met the young couple down the street and has regular sex
with the husband, and very little with her own, as he now has little interest in such activities.
The other reason for their apparent age difference likely has to do with Peter‟s lack of interest in
activities. And his smoking.
The gopher digs.
And Peter sits in the cold, damp dark, shovel in hand, waiting. Grey sweat pants and a brown
hooded sweatshirt cover his long, gaunt frame. Shivering slightly, he pulls the hood over his