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Gravedigger's Assistant (standard:drama, 937 words)
Author: Jean SmithAdded: Oct 11 2010Views/Reads: 2125/1144Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Man buries his father and remininces about a secret about his father that may or may not be true.

Gravedigger and his assistant “Come on, dig the grave much deeper. You
always dig such shallow graves, and then the coffin is too close to the 
surface, causing too many cosmetic problems with the cemetery, never 
mind the vegetation.” 

“Come on, now, Ralph.” The gravedigger drew a deep breath on his
cigarette, preferring to absorb the nitrates as deeply as possible; he 
did not seem to care or notice how shallow his breathing had become 
over the years, a little too labored, a little too soon. “I said, come 

Ralph grumbled something like not really my boss, while spitting on the
ground. But he took bigger sweeps with the shovel. He dug deeper. 

“Heard who we're digging the grave for? Old Mr. Hines, the one who lived
alone all his life and never came to the community gatherings; never 
gossiped, but those who claimed to have known him told tall tales of 
his younger years on a farm in South Africa.” 

Ralph muttered “Good for him.” He dug deeper. 

“Anyway, Ralph, looks to me he was a wealthy landowner in South Africa,
accumulating much wealth after he served in WW II. Rumor had it though 
he lost almost all that he had because of a bribe necessary to keep him 
out of jail. He killed a woman and her small child. He killed them.” 
The gravedigger lit a second cigarette. His talking seemed to distract 
him from his task. Ralph kept digging. 

“Mr. Hines fled the country. Rumor had it he became a recluse, rarely
seen around town.  Please prepare the grave for a pauper, heh, heh.” 
The gravedigger flicked some of his ash into the opening in the thawing 
spring soil; he seemed to smile down at the smoldering embers as they 
hit the softening earth. Ralph kept digging. A soft rain began to fall, 
ever so gently. Their shoulders and the tops of their heads became 
moist, the raindrops reflecting the flickering dim light of the 
streetlights near the entrance to the cemetery. 

“Alright, we're almost through. Let's finish up and call it a day.” 

Ralph took a few more sweeps with his assistant's shovel. He wiped his
brow, and then attempted to dry his hand on his damp jacket. It was 
futile: he lifted his face to the drops and let the sweat and tears 
mingle with the rain. Tears he shed for his father, who was to be 
buried in this very grave. Tears he shed because his father died alone. 

Ralph stood quietly. He tossed a crumpled piece of paper into the grave,
remembering the words his father had written: No Homecoming Memory 
flows like the wind through chimes 

Of a love so sweet only a fool would not know 

To remember forever the passing of a sublime 

Giving of a love so timeless, so bold 

Perhaps etched in stone, a remembrance displaying 

An imbedded longing, a need to take back 

A life, ending so sudden and cruel, displacing 

A hope, a promise not kept for a lack 

Of a knowledge yet to be discovered 

Despite for centuries past progress so swift 

Has yet to seal a chasm, uncovered 

Of a despair of loss, a smile to uplift 

No broken spirit, however, ‘tis only body 

Unscathed thy soul, a candle that burns 

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