“Pit Girl”, produced by the University Players, directed by Reid Reimers and starring Nick Pavelich, Adryan Kransky, and Madelyn Beck, is based on the following selection from SMASHING LAPTOS:
And then there was the time I rescued the girl from the pit.
Public works had dug a massive hole out of a street corner somewhere in the U district. They were trying to get to a pipe problem, but it was going to take longer than they originally thought, so they blocked it off with saw horses, police tape, plastic orange fencing, and nasty notes. The pit sat there all weekend just waiting for lovely ladies to climb down inside.
She was half-Japanese and all kinds of adorable. I was on a walk and I just happened to glance over the warning signs and into the hole, because that’s the kind of thing I can’t resist. I thought I would just glance into this neighborhood anomaly and ponder the pipes and guts and tendons—the unearthed secrets of urban reality. Instead, I found a pair of enormous eyes shaded by ten foot lashes.
“Hello there,” I said. She was sitting down.
“What are you doing?”
“Oh you know, just sitting around. In this pit.”
She was beautiful. Normally I don’t tell women they are beautiful when I first meet them, because they have a tendency to run away. But this girl wasn’t going anywhere. “You’re beautiful,” I said.
“Thanks,” she said. “I bet you say that to all the girls you find trapped in pits.”
Turns out she was just curious about how cold the dirt was at that depth and she had to find out. She’d crawled down, and like the proverbial cat in the tree, discovered it was not as easy to get back up. She was wearing all white, too. I figured she must care a lot about strata temperatures.
“How long have you been down there?”
“Oh about an hour,” she said.
“And no one’s found you?”
“No one looks in holes anymore. You and I are a dying breed.”
I tried to find something she could grab onto. There really isn’t much lying around in residential neighborhoods that can be used to rescue girls from pits. I could have gone down in there with her, but then we might both be trapped. She told me the dirt down there was very crumbly and also very cold. Then I remembered that peasant revolts are won with gardening tools. When necessary, hammers and sickles double as weapons. Every house on every block has a tool shed or a garage.
“Listen,” I said. “I’m not trying to get into a philosophical discussion while you’re stuck down there, but isn’t it interesting? If Missoula was ever invaded all these people could rise up with their shovels and lawn mowers and chain saws.”
“Sure, but everyone in Montana has a gun anyway,” she said.
“You know, this would be an awesome conversation to have around, say, coffee… somewhere on, say, top of the street.”
I told her I’d be right back and ran down the block, looking in everyone’s yard for a rake or something. The block was surprisingly tidy. Not a tool left over; everything locked up tight in the sheds.
On the next block I found what I needed. Someone had left a garden hose in the lawn. Now all I had to do was a bit of breaking and entering. Trembling, I opened the gate. I considered knocking to ask permission, but then whoever answered would want to get involved with the rescue, and I didn’t want to share the glory. I crept over to the spigot and released the hose.
Holding that hose above the pit, I had a thought. “I don’t mean to be a dick,” I said. “But what sort of effect is this rescue going to have?”
“About nine or ten feet of elevation,” she said.
“I mean emotionally. If I help you out is it going to reflect a lack of backbone? If I’m just running around doing things for you like a servant boy. You might not respect me.”
“I see your point.”
“And I wouldn’t want there to be any sense of obligation, either. Like for you to feel that you have to repay me somehow.”
“It’s complicated, huh?”
“I just don’t want to put that kind of pressure on you.”
“That’s sweet,” she said. “I suppose I should just find my own way out.”
“What if I just hold the hose and you climb up on your own,” I suggested. “I won’t pull or anything.”
It was more than enough for the job. She only needed that little extra. I let her do the majority of the work. She grabbed the hose and in a few mountaineering steps she was out.
“Great rescue,” she said, gazing up at me through the euphoria of newly found freedom.
“How does it feel?” I asked. “Obligation-wise and respect-wise.”
She teetered on her heels. “You know, I had this weird thought while you were finding the hose. I was imagining that when I got out that our eyes would lock just as I climbed over the edge, and when you looked in my eyes you’d see a certain sparkle there. And that I’d see a certain sparkle in yours too. And that those sparkles would cross paths and meet in the middle, between our faces, and like, high five or something, creating a big booming sparkly hypnotic moment fluttering around our heads.”
“But that didn’t happen?”
“Not really,” she ran her fingers through her hair and spun a full circle on her toes, staring up at the clouds. Then she moved toward me, her hands groped the air just a few feet from my chest. “Boy there certainly is something about being rescued from a pit. Triggers the reptile brain. Savage. Sexy.”
“Maybe you should go with that,” I said.
“I don’t know,” she said, “I think I’m a little too grateful. Like you were saying. It’s risky to base relationships on obligation.”
“I’m just not comfortable feeling beholden. You wouldn’t respect me for it later. How about this,” she said. “It’s a small world. Let’s go our separate ways, and when fate brings us together the time will be right.”
That sounded reasonable and exciting. She hugged me and scurried off into the wooded rural wilderness.
I never saw her again.