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THE END OF ALL THINGS GOOD (standard:drama, 2705 words)
Author: AnonymousAdded: Jan 04 2003Views/Reads: 2182/1232Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
This 3500 word story is about the destruction of the Quincy Quarries outside of Boston for the Big Dig highway project interwined with a challenge to teewnage immortality set in the 1960s.
 



THE END OF ALL THINGS GOOD 

by 

peter nolan smith 

This last Fourth of July I deserted my East Village apartment for my
brother's cottage on the Cape. My father met me at the 128 train 
station and we drove down to Cotuit. My niece, nephew, and I swam in 
the ocean, barbecued with the rest of the family, then oohed and aahed 
at fireworks over Hyannisport. Around midnight my brother walked me to 
the guest room and, upon hearing my father's snoring, asked, "You 
really can sleep through that." "No problem," I answered, sticking two 
wads of wax in my ears. Within seconds I drifted into a stupor, yet I 
had underestimated my father, for near dawn a rumbling set of snorts 
served as a wake-up call to all, but the dead. If I was going to be up, 
then he was too, so I shook his bed, until my father demanded, "I 
wasn't snoring, was I?" "Like a truck stuck on ice." "Anyone else 
awake?" he grumbled, squinting at the rising sun. "Just you and me, 
Pop," I replied, helping him out of bed. "Then let's go get some 
breakfast." Arriving at the local restaurant slightly before 7am, we 
read the papers, while waiting for our eggs and bacon. Both the NY 
Times and Boston Globe confirmed nothing really happens on a holiday 
weekend, but then I pointed to an article. "Says here they're using the 
rubble from the Big Dig to cover the Milton Dump." "Yes, the town wants 
to build a golf course, so they're filling the Quincy Quarries." "They 
can't do that!" "When you have as much money as the Big Dig, anything 
is possible. Besides what do you care?" He knew damn well why I was 
concerned. The first railroad in America had been built to transport 
granite in Quincy, but more importantly I had spent countless glorious 
summer days in their emerald waters, so their destruction horrified me. 
"Those quarries are national monuments!" "Someone should have closed 
those death traps long ago!" My father jabbed a finger at the 
newspaper. "Says sixteen people died there since 1960." Undoubtedly the 
quarries had been a magnet for accidental drownings and drunken 
mishaps, though many of the stories about the bottomless pits were 
urban legends, the most famous being of a kid jumping off Shipwreck's 
craggy prow and landing on a submerged car, whose antenna pierced his 
arm. This gruesome tale was retold every summer, as if the accident had 
occurred last week, yet its origins were lost in the haze of time. 
"People die on the highways every day, but no one's talking about 
closing them down!" "People use the highways." "And I swim at the 
quarries!" "Someone your age shouldn't be doing that." My father had 
never fathomed the beauty of the Quarries and he slammed the table. The 
salt and peppershakers bounced in the air and the people at the next 
table turned their heads. They were vacationers who had no interest in 
a heated debate about the Quarries, so I raised my hands in surrender. 
"You're right, but I still can't believe this. "Read it again and 
weep." My father returned to his Scrabble puzzle, while I scoured the 
article. There was no mistake. The towns of Milton and Quincy were 
burying my favorite swimming hole with the excavated dirt from the 
nation's largest highway project. After breakfast we returned to 
Boston. Saying we needed some OJ, I dropped off my father and drove to 
the other side of the Blue Hills. At the entrance to the quarries water 
gushed over a granite block into which QUARRY HILLS GOLF COURSE had 
been carved. I groaned in anguish, for only pumping the pits dry could 
have created this fake waterfall, yet the first tee-off was still years 
away, for a Mack truck groaned uphill. And this was on a holiday. 
Praying the over-laden truck was heading someplace else, I drove up to 
the old footpath leading into Granite Rail, where a chain link fence 
bannered with NO TRESPASSING signs zigzagged through the woods, but no 
fence and certainly no sign could keep me out. Scrambling over gigantic 
granite blocks I finally slipped through a hole cut in the wire and ran 
to Rooftop, hoping for the best. Since before I was born, Quincy city 
officials had been always coming up with ways to stop us from swimming 
at the quarries. They dumped old telephone poles into the water, but we 
used them for logrolling contests or wired them together for sunning 
rafts. Back in Spring of 1963 a selectman suggested polluting the 
quarries. Three oil tankers lumbered up the dirt track and were parked 
overnight, intending to unleash the foul liquid into the main pool the 
next morning. Later that night I lay in my backyard, observing a meteor 
shower. A whooshing boom shattered the suburban silence and a flaming 
mushroom cloud roiled over the woods to be joined by two more 
fireballs. The morning papers reported vandals had torched the trucks, 
however those who loved the Quarries regarded these unknown arsonists 


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