True Lies: Manholes

by Marian Bantjes

He was under pursuit and if they caught him he was done for. He had almost lost them in the old fairground, ducking behind giant fiberglass heads with lurid faces, crawling behind the tattered backdrops, but he hadn’t expected his run through the echoing tunnel of love to raise such a racket and they picked him up on the way out. He sprinted up and over cars and dodged a bullet by diving into the alleyway, trashcans flying. He caught a breather inside a door from an alley, but emerged too soon and they spotted him splitting around a corner. Each breath was painful now but he kept running fast—he knew he had to get to the underground tunnels where Miles was waiting for him. It was just around the corner, the intersection with the manhole cover—he’d just have time—he was almost there, all he had to do was lift the cover and drop inside . . . he stopped in disbelief: but which one? He fell to his knees as the heavy slap of shoes rattled up behind him.

Marian Bantjes is a typographer and designer who works from a small island off the west coast of Canada.