The escape had worked flawlessly a dozen times in rehearsals, but now the false door was stuck.
Diablo, the Harry Houdini of his generation, shoved with his shoulder against the right panel of the specially designed coffin, but the door wasn’t budging.
He called out several times, knowing their was a two-way mic hidden in the coffin’s lid for just such an emergency, but there was no response,
no sounds of the backhoe bucket breaking up the heavy soil covering him. Sweating, panicked, Diablo put the entire weight of his body against the false door with no luck.
His breathing was labored as the oxygen quickly dissipated. He screamed and beat frantically on the lid as reality set in.
“He should have been out by now,” whispered Alice.
Brad, Diablo’s technical engineer, pressed his hidden earpiece. “He’s not calling me. If he was in trouble he’d be calling me.”
“Something’s wrong, Brad. I can feel it.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?
“Something is wrong, Alice. My wife having an affair with the Great Diablo, now that’s just wrong.”
Alice’s eyes widened with fear. “Oh god. God no….” She ran to the backhoe operator and demanded he raise the coffin immediately, and he complied.
No one would be able to prove it wasn’t a tragic accident, Brad assured himself, and he prepared for the crying and wailing of the crowd and his faithless wife.
All was going as planned, he thought, until the lid was finally raised and the coffin was empty.