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The next queued delivery ends with a special comment requesting Thomas bury the contents of the order in the ground next to the gig’s front door. “There’s a shovel next to the doormat :)” When he arrives later, he sets the insulated bag branded with the company’s logo on the ground in the dark shadow of the front door and picks up the shovel, which sits just where the gig said it would. There are ways of digressing from a story without disrupting the flow of intrigue, but that’s not what we’re doing here. Should I tell you how this ends, with Thomas buried alive, scrolling through Twitter on his phone? That’s not how this ends, I’m just asking if you want to know. The food in the insulated bag is hot, but it’s cooling down with every second that Thomas takes to dig this hole, a kind of vague hole of unspecified depth or width. He digs, pitching the blade of the shovel into the hard, dry ground, sending rocks that recently replaced dead grass flying into the yard of the gig’s next door neighbor, and a dog barks somewhere in the neighborhood, which causes an even further away dog to bark in response, plus it’s now properly dark, stars-in-your-eyes dark, so Thomas digs faster because he doesn’t like being outside at night for too long. There’s someone in the house watching Thomas, but they aren’t watching him from the peephole in the front door or any window near where he’s digging. The food is getting colder with each passing second and the ending is beginning to find its stride, moving from the heels to the balls of its feet, catching Thomas’s scent in the soft evening breeze. After a scattering of rocks and dirt have formed a glorified prayer circle around the hole Thomas has dug, he opens the insulated bag with the branded logo and pulls out the gig’s order, which is kept inside a brown paper bag that has another logo on it, and sets it in the middle of the hole, which is only about a foot deep. This morning, Thomas forgot to eat breakfast and in his haste to mitigate his lateness to class, he forgot to pack lunch. So Thomas is just a bag of bones now, hungry, dehydrated, his hands shaking from the malnutrition, and there’s someone in the house watching him, watching him as he takes a breath for a moment, watching him wipe his dusty hands on jeans he hasn’t washed since last Thursday, which was five days ago. Everything is real, including the things you’d rather not think about, no more than six inches away at any given time, and God likes to take Sundays off so He can go to therapy. But it’s Thursday, which means Thomas has God’s full attention, not that He is necessarily going to intervene, especially not with the ending hot on Thomas’s heels, racing towards him, mouth frothing, blood streaming from its eyes, frenzied with hunger, and Thursday is the day that Thomas works late, meaning he has at least ten other orders to run after this one before he’ll call it a night, and Thursday is the day that God watches Thomas unwittingly dodge death. The ending is near as Thomas begins piling rocks and dead soil on top of the paper bag with the logo and whatever it is that’s inside, not that Thomas cares, they don’t pay Thomas enough to even remotely begin to care, not when he’s working this late for this little money ($10/hr) and he still has a term paper to write and maybe if he’s lucky, time to listen to a song he’s had stuck in his head all day. The ending is so close, excruciatingly close, God is on the edge of his seat, and the person watching Thomas inside the house edges towards the front door knob as Thomas is patting the mound of retouched dirt flat, little rounded imprints left from the bottom of the shovel, which has been rather pleasing to use this whole time now that Thomas thinks of it, though he knows he has no reason to buy a shovel beyond random gig economy tasks like this, except he could be tempted if it was cheap enough. The ending is right behind Thomas, breathing down his neck, and the person inside who has been positively beaming with anticipation is in the doorway, silhouetted, eyes glowing yellow as Thomas gathers the empty insulated brand bag and turns toward his parked car, which has been sitting idly, engine on, stereo turned down, tonight being the night Thomas might actually beef it. Thomas has been doing this for a while now, fielding strange requests from clients, rubbing his scent all over the city, teasing the ending to no end, enthralling God with his guilelessness, making the ghosts and ghouls of the world feel powerful, animal, and then altogether stupid because, as usual, Thomas is too busy, too broke, too tired to notice them for what they really are. The ending slumps its shoulders as Thomas checks his phone, while the person who has been watching him from the house with dead eyes and broken bones and evil in its soul leans against the doorframe, arms crossed, annoyed that it’s being made to wait as Thomas checks his queue, checks his texts, flips back to the queue, then on to Twitter briefly to see if the tweet he fired off before getting out of his car to dig a hole in a stranger’s front yard and bury their order has gained any traction, which it has, but not as much as Thomas would have liked, given that he’s had a pretty rough day and just wants to be home in bed without the buzz of his eyes and his brain making him feel like he’s literally plugged into a machine, which is enough, all of this is enough, to make the person watching him slam the door shut and the ending turn heel back to its wet, spiky home and God to lean back into his couch laughing once more as Thomas sidles into his car, a little irritated but mostly relieved that he’ll live to fight another day.