Friday, 6 May 2016

short story (250 words)

Inside, Out

Caterpillar tracks wind between the graves, leaving long ridges of churned mud in the winter grass. It's twenty years since Tom dug a grave and he can't help wishing he'd had one of those then.

He dug a crumpled pack of cigarettes from the breast pocket of his denim jacket. He'd been told off for wearing it in his youth. 'Disrespectful,' his boss had said. How much more disrespectful was a mechanical digger tearing through the cemetery? Jim Chantry, the driver, had been well trained but he'd still knocked over a headstone or two and the fiasco with the unmarked graves still cropped up in the local papers from time to time. You wouldn't have had that trouble with a real gravedigger, not when they remembered the burial plots with or without a marker stone. Not that anyone read papers anymore.

“Got one of those for me?” Jim wore his customary green council overalls.

“Sure.” Tom passed him the pack and lit his own with a cheap disposable razor. “You ready for this?”

“If I'm not now I never will be.” Jim borrowed the lighter and ducked away from the wind. “Where's the grave, then?”

“Over here.” Tom led the way to his wife's grave. Everyone had witnessed the burial but not a soul had thought to check the coffin. “Two point four million in gold bullion.”

“And your wife?”

“Nah.” Ted pointed to an equally old grave. “She's shacked up with Charlie Hendricks.”

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