The impending rescue of thirty-three trapped miners some 2,000 ft. below the surface of a forbidding desert landscape in Chile is apparently in danger of collapse. Officials on the scene say the miners are squabbling among themselves about the order in which they will make the projected 45-minute trip out of the cold, dank mine in which the men have been entombed since the beginning of August.
A spokesman for the miners union told reporters, "These brave union brothers all want to be the last man out of the mine, preferring that their compadres reach freedom before they do. They are family--these minadores--are the most courageous of men."
Privately, though, reports are beginning to filter through the ranks of the hundred or so drillers and technicians who effected the rescue tunnel that the miners are reluctant to leave the mine for different reasons.
Of the thirty-three miners, only four have expressed unabated eagerness to be rescued. Coincidentally, these four are the only unmarried men among their ranks.
Said one unidentified miner, "You know, down here we're kind of a big deal. Up there, we're just dumb miners. Tu es un don nadie--you are a nobody."
"Here we live better than we have ever lived in our lives. We eat more, we drink more, we sit around in our underwear for hours playing cards with our amigos--and we're heroes for that?? Ay! We scratch, we fart, we tell dirty jokes and we laugh and laugh and there is no woman to tell us that we are pigs."
"Never before have I been treated like a king like I am living now here in the mine. They send us movies and music and cerveza and cigarillos and it is all for free. People want to know how we are, people want to hear what we have to say. Because we are heroes!"
"But, when we come up, after a few weeks, it will be like, "Hey, vagabundo, when you going back to work? When you bring home money? When you buy me things? When you paint the house? When you take out the garbage? When you? When you? When you? Down here, is nothing in a rush. Like, where you going to go?"
"Now, though, they want us to go. Go where? Back to all those problemos muy doloroso?? Ay, I don't think so much of that, senor........"
"You want me to be first in line to be rescued for this...............????"
Said Lyndon P. Altfather, a driller from Berlin, Pennsylvania, "I didn't come all this way and bust my ass for the last 33 days straight for those sonsabitches to bicker about who's a-comin' up first and who's a-comin' up last. If they don't figure it out soon, I'm goin' down in that tunnel myself and drag their sorry asses out one by one, if I have to. Deer season's coming up back home............"