by Pierce Nahigyan
Doyle and his crew gave up sweating and swearing and fell back, jackhammers fallen from their hands, drills dropped, helmets tossed to the ground and the mine echoing with their grunts and breathless sighs. The Professor appeared with his bright halogen light swinging through the crowd.
“Is it done?” he asked.
Doyle eyed the Professor and took a swig from a canteen of water that was handed to him. “We’re not getting through,” he said.
Behind him sat the bolt. It glimmered like coal in the darting lights and its face was as smooth as silk. Picks could not dislodge it, hammers could not dent it, drills could not pierce it, dynamite would not rupture it. It was adamantine.
“Mr. Holstein, you can’t give up.”
Doyle’s smile was full of crooked teeth. He handed the canteen off to one of his men and began to pull off his gloves. “Professor, my understanding is that you can’t even scrape a sample off this thing. We don’t know what it is, we don’t know what it’s doing here. Now I can try to dig around the thing but my guys say it’s too deep and it’s too big and-” Doyle started to laugh. His men wearily joined him and it echoed around the humid chamber.
The Professor frowned. “This isn’t a laughing matter. We must proceed.”
“Sure,” said Doyle. “We can do that.” He started to giggle again.
“What,” said the Professor, “is so funny?”
“You’re just so adamant, Professor.”
The Professor stalked back down the shaft to the echoing guffaws of Doyle’s semantically enlightened miners.