Mining for Gold


-Shhh. You should stop struggling. Struggling lessens the morphine’s benefit.

-Lessens the what?

-You, señor. The morphine in your blood. The less you move, the longer it will last.

-Wha—where am I?

-You are here.

-Where’s here?

-Outside the city. Cabo. Cabo San Lucas. You are here on vacation. You do not remember?

-Did something happen? What in God’s name is going on here? Did I—oh God, did I have aneurism or a heart attack or something?


-Was there an accident?

-Accidents do not happen.


-I said, accidents do not happen. Accidents are illusions.

-D’hell’re you talking about?

-This is something I think about sometimes. Many people say things are accidents, but calling something an accident is more like blaming one thing so another thing makes sense.

-We were asleep. The last thing I remember is Donna and I were asleep. At the hotel.

-Cabo Azul. A very nice place. Expensive.

-Jesus, my throat feel like it stuffed with hot cotton.

-A side effect. To come to after such invasive things have traumatized the body—it can be very painful but if steps are taken there is little pain.

-So this is a hospital?


-Then where am I? Who’re you? I demand to know what’s happened to me and what I am doing here. Christ, why I can’t I move?

-Paralytic drug administered to assist your anesthesia. Like the morphine, this too will wear off soon, and that is why there are additional restraints.

-Hey! HEY! Don’t walk away from me! Christ, this is kidnapping.

-Kidnapping. Hmm, in Mexico. How unusual.

-You’ve got to be shitting me.

-Listen. Untie me, man. If you help me get out of here I can help you. I swear. I have money.

-No, you do not.


-I said no you do not. She is the one who has the money. We know this.

-You know, there was a time when I was a real doctor, señor. A good one. I worked very, very hard to make my way, but then one day a man comes to my office in an expensive suit and presents a job for me. I tell him I already have a job, but he offers me money, much more money than I could ever make as a regular doctor. He tells me he has special work for a man like me so I ask him, what kind of work? Intelligence work, he says. Like a spy in the movies? No, although some say the technology is so. Sure, I think, this man must be a crazy but then he detailed the work. He talked on and on about computers and metadata and things once so far out of reach they cost so much money but now can be had for next to nothing—how these things bring golden opportunities. When he finished he handed me an envelope with a hundred thousand U.S. dollars. I have never seen so such money. You see, I have many children, señor. Providing for them with all my debts? What could I do? Yes, I swore an oath to heal, but oaths are broken every day in this world. I do not believe in God. My family, they are what is important to me. Their needs are real.


-You have betrayed someone.

-I haven’t done anything!

-You are a liar. This woman? This Donna? She is not your wife.

-We’re just friends….

-Ah, I see. Friends who fuck like dogs in expensive hotels.

-I’m sorry….

-You did not fear her husband, but you should always fear the man who can pay.

-Look, I’m sorry! Jesus…I’m sorry, all right?

-Wait! Don’t leave. You can’t leave me here! Leave us! Donna? Donna, wake up! Please, where are you going?

-I am going down the hall to the incinerator. I must burn the waste.

-The waste?

-The waste from your surgeries. Your limbs, her limbs. Your cock and balls. Her eyes, heart, and tongue.

~ fin ~


A huge fan of the interpretive private eye films The Long Goodbye (1973) and The Drowning Pool (1975), Kieran Shea‘s stories have appeared previously in Shotgun Honey, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, and elsewhere. He’s also written a couple of novels and one short story collection.