Grand hole in the ground
Kathleen Listman
Doorknobs Winner







“Why would anyone want to protect this God forsaken place?” The easterner chuckled as he stiffly boarded the canoe at Lee’s Ferry. “It all red rock and scrub.”  

“Make sure your life vest’s on before Hok’ee pushes off,” the cow boss’ eyes shifted, betraying his cunning.  

Hok’ee pushed off hard before their guest had a chance to don the vest. He paddled relentlessly as their guest clung to his bench seat.  

The next morning their guest boarded the canoe wearily. Turquoise skies promised exceptional days ahead with clear views of the canyon. He seemed oblivious. “If Senator Cameron can make a profit from mining this hole in the ground, I’m all for it,” he drawled.  

Hok’ee rocked the canoe and uttered a loud, brutal grunt.  

“Should I not speak? Is the canyon his sacred ground?” whispered the guest.  

“Well, Hok’ee, is it sacred?” inquired the cow boss.  

“You mean like Rome?” Hok’ee asked. “I’ve never seen it, and I don’t suppose Saint Peter ever set foot here. But I don’t think he’d want this river to be filled with toxic slag any more than the Tiber.”  

Hok’ee’s little show of knowledge silenced the easterner. At least until the sun stood over head, gilding the red rock walls as they rose, soaring ten times higher than any cathedral.  

The easterner gasped “I had no idea the canyon was like this.”  

“It’s not God forsaken,” Hok’ee commented in a hushed voice. “His fingerprints are all over it.”


First published: November 2017
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