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The Melancholic Pepperoni Mines

6 months ago
Commended by mizal on 11/9/2021 3:52:03 PM
“I am-a so sick-a this pepperoni, you see?” said Coins.

Dark swung his pick axe, striking deep into the side of the tunnel as he replied, “Why-a you not shaddup?” He paused, sweat pouring off his head, before continuing, “You get us-a in trouble, you not-a shaddup.” He glanced over to see a guard with a whip standing nearby, but not looking directly at them.

Coins turned to Dark, dropping his pick. He started waving his hands around, accusing Dark, “Hey! Did you tell-a ME to shaddup? Do you know who you’re talkin to? You talkin to ME? Maybe I make-a YOU shaddup.”

The commotion quickly drew the guard’s attention. The whip swung high and cracked loudly against Coins’ back. Coins dropped to his knees, grimacing. It wasn’t the first time his back had felt the leather of the whip, but it still hurt every time. The guard yelled out, “Hey you: Shaddup! And get back to work!”

Coins didn’t learn quickly or often, but he knew when he felt the whip that he needed to obey. He quickly picked his axe back up and stepped to the wall. As he swung the axe into the hard pepperoni of the wall, he looked over at the guard. The guard seemed satisfied and when he turned his back Coins whispered to Dark, “I am-a gonna get outta here. I canna take this no more.”

Dark bent down and picked up a small piece of pepperoni he had chipped off the wall. He popped it into his mouth as he replied, “Why? It’s-a all the pepperoni we can eat!” He swung his axe again, chopping some more bits of pepperoni off the wall.

Coins didn’t answer right away as two small people scrambled towards them. They were scuttling along the ground, picking up small pieces of pepperoni and flipping them into the packs on their backs. They muttered and talked to themselves in some language that Coins did not know, though Coins barely knew one language – scattered Anglo-Italian. He didn’t know if the Gatherers knew his language or if they cared what he said, but he didn’t want to take any chances. He kept quiet until they had gathered all the pepperoni chips at his feet and moved on to other miners.

“I am-a sick of this pepperoni. There must be-a somethin else we canna eat. It’s-a pepperoni, pepperoni, pepperoni. Howsa bout a meat-sa-ball or somethin? I’m-a gonna find a way out some day.”

Dark looked around and whispered back, “Okay. I’m-a in. I’m-a all a melancholic in here.”

Coins nodded and said, “I know! Every-body’s a-melancholic. That’s-a problem with these mines. I’m-a melancholic, you’re a-melancholic, everybody’s a-melancholic. I’ve-a had enough!”

Dark paused his pickaxe just for a moment, looked at Coins and said, “You know you’re not-a Italian, right?”

Coin stopped as well and said, “Yeah, so you’re a Beaner.”

“Yeah, I know. So what of it? Wanna fight about it?”

The quick crack of a whip ended the discussion rather quickly and Coins and Dark went back to swinging their picks, chopping bits of pepperoni once piece at a time, off the wall of the pepperoni mine.


In the evening, Coins was waiting in line for his pepperoni rations. When he reached the front of the line, there was Chris, serving out the rations out of his bread machine. Coins looked side-to-side and seeing no one watching, nodded to Chris. Chris looked around as well and gave a barely perceptible nod in return. Chris sharted a little when Dark appeared and slapped Coins on the back saying, “What up pepperoni man?”

Chris looked around nervously, but Coins nodded and whispered to him, “Nah, he’s cool. In fact, he’s in.”

Chris’ eyes grew a little larger as he non-verbally questions Coins’ choice in companions.

Coins shrugged and said, “You can get us one more, no problem. We’ll play double, so you’re covered.”

Chris leaned forward and said, “Okay, then. Midnight. I’ll meet you at the ladder. Just you two, no more.”

Coins nodded and continued along the line as Chris scooped some more pepperoni soup into Dark’s bowl.


It was quiet in the mines that night except for the echoing of the occasional snore from one of the miners. Coins tiptoed over to Dark’s cot and elbowed him. Dark took a swing before he woke up and landed solidly on Coins’ ear. Coins fell to the ground and stifled a grunt. Dark jumped out of the cot and took up a fighting stance. Then he opened his eyes.

“Oh, it’s you,” Dark whispered.

Coins got to his knees, rubbing his ear, and replied, “Yeah, you moron. Quit screwing around, it’s time to go.”

Dark relaxed and nodded, then gestured for Coins to lead the way. The two of them moved quietly through the closed dining area of the mine. Every other light was lit along the passages for safety, so they had no trouble finding their way to the ladder. Chris was standing at the base of the ladder, looking at his watch.

He stood in front of the ladder, blocking the way, and said, “Where’s my payment?”

Coins pulled out a large blob of dough and held it out to Chris. Chris nodded as he took the dough. He said, “Yeah, this will make-a good pizza.” He stepped to the side and gestured up the ladder.

Coins looked around and said, “What? That’s it? We just walk out?”

Chris replied, “Well, yeah. The guards are asleep. I unlocked the door. This isn’t San Quentin or anything, it’s a pepperoni mine.”

Coins shrugged and climbed the ladder. Dark followed right behind without a word. Chris went back to sleep before his early morning shift in the mine cafeteria started.

Climbing out the opening at the top of the ladder brought Coins and Dark into semi-darkness. The moon was hidden behind the clouds, so they took a few moments to try and take in their location. They could see that they were in the middle of some rolling hills. The grass here swayed gently in the light night breeze. There were bits and pieces of medium to small white rocks scattered about the landscape. The night seemed quite peaceful, indeed.

Dark pushed his way past Coins and said, “Well? Now what, idiot?”

Coins replied, “Now, we head for freedom. We go to where everyone is free to do whatever they want, to the land of free people!”

Dark said, “Okay then, back to my place. Let’s go.” He started walking down a small rise.

Coins watched him go for only a moment before calling out, “How do you know which way to go?”

“It’s easy,” Dark replied, “You always go downhill. That’s where we will find whatever we need.”

Coins mumbled, “That doesn’t sound like a very good idea,” but he moved to quickly follow Dark along the hills and rocks, heading down towards whatever fate awaited them at the bottom.

The Melancholic Pepperoni Mines

6 months ago

this was like a fever dream


The Melancholic Pepperoni Mines

6 months ago
I'm so glad you finally found a use for that title.

...or am I?

The Melancholic Pepperoni Mines

6 months ago
...and will there be a chapter 2?

The Melancholic Pepperoni Mines

6 months ago
It's funny, 'cause it's true~

The Melancholic Pepperoni Mines

6 months ago

This is incredibly racist