Revenge is Necessary will publish December 6, 2020 and be available in paperback and as eBook on all major online outlets. You can pre-order signed copies directly through Bill Mathis for $18.00 shipped. Use PayPal: http://paypal.me/WilliamRMathis
Jens Hanson glanced at the clock. Six-forty-five a.m., Saturday, March 26. In the rear embalming room of the funeral home, he adjusted the frayed, plaid shirt on his father’s body. He touched the ancient floral drapes torn from his parents’ tottering farmhouse living room that lined the homemade wooden casket. Too many memories, good and bad. He shook his head, closed the casket and secured it. His father died, finally, yesterday afternoon. His mother thirty-five years ago.
Jens slightly opened the wide back door. He peeked to make sure no one was around, swung it out and blocked it. He pushed the cart holding the casket to the lowered tailgate of his truck. After sliding the casket onto the bed, he secured a tarp tightly around it before closing the tailgate. Returning the cart inside, he double-checked the room to make sure everything was in place, with nothing left for someone else to clean up. He pulled the note out of his flannel shirt pocket and propped it against the desk phone. Sorry to leave so suddenly. Dad died. He’s embalmed and buried. I appreciate you letting me work here over the past three years. I won’t return. Jens Hanson
No, I won’t return here, he thought, as he laid the building keys next to the phone. I did my duty. I don’t want to deal with a funeral service and the hassles of buying a plot, trying to remember the names of the few people still alive and cognitive enough to remember Dad. Besides, I’ve embalmed and buried enough people in my lifetime. Now, it’s time to take care of myself. He climbed into the cab, started the twenty-five-year-old, rusted, Ford F250 and placed his hand on the shift lever. His phone vibrated in his jeans pocket. A text from Connie Skogman. Help. Junior running on 127. Shaw shot. Don’t come to house.
Windshield wipers on high and squeaking, Jens threw the lever into gear and headed south out of Midville. He turned right onto 127th Street, a straight, slender farm road that ran by fallow corn and soybean fields. He crossed Milliken Road; a quarter mile further, the Skogman driveway. Through the streaky wipers and wet heavy snow, he caught glimpses of white, then realized it was Junior running barefoot in his underwear. Easing to a stop, he noticed pelts and splotches of blood on the tall teen’s left hip. Damn, what the heck happened? He motioned for the boy to jump in.
It seemed Junior couldn’t climb in fast enough. He grabbed the car blanket, wrapped it about him as he shivered and his teeth chattered. His breath steamed up the windshield, he curled into a ball on the seat, his head nearly touching Jens’ hip. Jens jammed the heat to high and flipped on the defrost. He drove five-hundred feet further and pulled into the cemetery, navigating barely visible lanes till he reached the back and parked behind a thick row of arborvitae and scrub brush. His old front-end loader and backhoe from the farm waited next to a soggy hole he dug late last night before he embalmed his father. He had no intention of towing it back to the family farm. He shut the lights off, left the pickup engine idling.
Stay tuned for more posts each Thursday for 6 weeks!