He helped me finish, and then we got on our knees and went through the dirt to pick out any rocks. There were a lot of worms. The only time he said anything was to tell me not to kill them. “Pick them up gently,” he said, “and throw them over by the tree. That’s Worm Country. Don’t laugh. We took them from their home, and we need to put them all in the same place again, so they can build a new home.”


This made very good sense, and it was fun too. We threw the worms.




The water was all drained out by the time we started shoveling dirt into the hole. He added some more water from the hose, and a bag of sand, and we mixed it with our shovels. It was a big pit of mud. I wanted to jump in and swim, to kick up mud with my blue feet. But instead he started shoveling it into the wooden ladders he had made.


It was dark when we finished. Sergeant Defenbargh turned on the hose and drank from it, even though he could have just gone in and got a glass. He gave the hose to me. I drank. We sat on the blue grass and watched the moon come up. 


“These are the oldest bricks in the world,” he said. “Ten thousand years old.”


“How many days —”


“I don’t know. A lot. They won’t dry for two weeks.”


“That’s fourteen days.”