Monday, March 22, 2010

Story fragment starring the Gravedigger

I wrote this first thing yesterday morning. I already know the ending. I just have to get there and hope I can get an entire book out of the story.

Digger leaned against a tree and smoked a cigar as he waited for the ceremony to end and the mourners to scatter. He didn't know who he was going to bury and didn't care. He never understood why so much ceremony went into burials. The dead never noticed. Digger ran a hand across his freshly buzzed scalp and blew a cloud of blue smoke toward the grave site. He took the cigar from his savage slash of a mouth and furrowed his beetled brow as he shook ash from the cigar’s end. How long was this blowhard going to take?

His cigar was nearly down to the nub when the priest finished his piece and the crowd scurried away like frightened mice. Digger stubbed out his cigar against the tree trunk and climbed into the seat of the front loader. It started with a roar and he went to work filling the grave.

Grave digging wasn't the best job he'd ever had but the best he could find. No one was eager to hire someone fresh out of the joint after a seventeen year stretch for armed robbery. The priest at the church across the cemetery gave him the job as a way to help him start a new life. Funny how Digger’s new life saw him getting paid two bucks an hour less than newspaper ad said. It didn’t matter, though. Digger had money in safety deposit boxes in ten nearby towns that he could dip into when the need arose. The cemetery job was just a cover.

Calvin Wallace was the name on Digger’s driver’s license and his social security card but it wasn’t the name he’d been born with. It was one of several cover identities he’d created over the years, the only one the FBI hadn’t uncovered. Digger sounded more like his real name so he let the locals call him that.

Once the hole had been filled in, Digger took his shovel and half-heartedly packed down the fresh earth with a shovel. He thought it was pointless but he didn’t want the priest on his ass later. Digger was finishing up when he heard footsteps behind him.

Digger spun around, his teeth bared and his knuckles white from his grip on the shovel, ready to kill if necessary. His enemies were legion and one of them might have tracked him down. He breathed a short sigh of relief when he saw who was approaching.

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