Chapter 18

As Dustin had Steve see to it personally that the architect left the cemetery the two ambulances containing the bodies from the city arrived.  They came through the gates back to back having probably met up somewhere along the road and traversed the route together.  He watched them pull around back from his spot beneath the burial canopy feeling cold in the shade.

“Who’s next?”  He asked the crowd.  Without Steve there to direct people his way Dustin was lost as to how the meetings were scheduled.  He took a chance of there being pandemonium by asking them the order of their appointments but it was the only way that he knew to keep things moving forward and get it all done.

A woman of about thirty years old stepped forward.  “I am.”  She said as she approached the table.

Almost immediately Dustin was struck by her beauty.  She had long, dark curly hair and thin arching eyebrows.  Her face was drawn down at the chin but well proportioned to fit her big beautiful eyes.  Her lips were full and round.  “How can I help you Miss?”  He asked motioning for her to sit down.

“I want to get something done about my dad.”  She said as she pulled out the chair that Dustin’s open palm was directed towards. 

She was wearing jeans and black leather jacket over a white T-shirt.  As she began to settle herself into the chair, she pulled a green army-style back-pack from her shoulder.  She crossed her legs setting the backpack by her side. 

A gust of wind blew through the cemetery causing Dustin’s files to scatter out into the parking lot.  “Oh my!”  He exclaimed as he awkwardly chased them down. 

When he returned the woman was holding one out to him.  “My father’s name is Kennedy.”  She said nodding to the file.  “This is his.  It was about to get away.”

Dustin took the file, giving her a clumsy grin.  “Thank you Miss...”

“It’s Kennedy.”  She finished for him.  “I was married but that didn’t work out.”

“Well Miss Kennedy I’m sorry to hear that.”  Dustin frowned as he went back around the table and began re-straightening the folders.

“Don’t be.”  She replied dismissively.  “It’s one of those things where your heart gets broken but in the long run you’re stronger for the experience.”

“I see.”  He said.  Satisfied with state of his paperwork Dustin sat the computer down on the loose stack of files.  “Let get a look here about your dad.” He muttered as he opened the folder that contained info on her father’s location within the cemetery.

“I can save you a lot of time.”  She interrupted.  “He’s sitting at the top of the crack staring down at everyone who comes in through your gates.  I could see him when I drove through.  He looks pretty good for a 20 year old corpse.”

“You can see him from the road?”  Dustin asked sounding both shocked and defeated.

“Yeah, just lucky I guess.”  The woman replied.  “Not that I wanted to get a look at my dead father this morning but there’s probably about three or four bodies up towards the top that you can see plain as day.  He’s one of them.”

Dustin’s shoulder’s dropped.  “I told them to tarp that off.”  He muttered.

“Oh they’ve got most of it covered.”  Kennedy answered.  “I think because the fissure is so big up there that they couldn’t stretch it over completely.”

“Well I’m sorry.”  Dustin replied sitting down heavily in his chair.  “I didn’t want anyone to have to see that sort of thing.”

“No problem.”  The woman quipped.  “I mean, it’s been on the news all morning long.  Anyone with a generator or a battery powered television set has seen their family’s bodies by now.”

“Yeah but seeing them for real can be so personal and traumatic.”  Dustin muttered.  “Once again, I apologize.”

“Then maybe you won’t mind helping me.”  Kennedy said leaning forward.  “You see, that’s my problem.  I don’t want to see that man ever again.  I don’t want to see his corpse, I don’t want to see his gravestone, I don’t want to have to pass by this place ever again and know that he’s in here.”

“You’re asking me if you can transfer his body to another cemetery?”  Dustin asked.

“I’m asking you if you can just get rid of him.”  The woman shot back.  “I don’t want any part of my father on this earth anymore.”

Dustin cocked his head, considering her request.  “We could do a cremation.”  He said at last.  “It’s odd to have one after a body has been in the ground for so many years but as long as whomever is in charge of handling his estate signs off on it I see no reason why we couldn’t make that happen.”

“Then give me the paperwork.”  She said motioning with her hand.

“Do you have power of attorney over him?”  Dustin asked.  “I mean, is there anything that you can provide that shows that you have the authority to make that decision?”

“Yeah, sure.”  She said sitting back.  Reaching down she grabbed the backpack from her side opening it and extracting a crumpled stack of documents.  “My mom passed away a few years after he did pretty much making me an orphan.  I’ve been dealing with their problems for most of my life.”

“I’m an orphan too!”  Dustin offered as he took them from her. 

“Good for you.”  The woman answered bitterly.

Looking them over Dustin asked, “What happened to your mom?”

“She was cremated.”  The woman shot back.  “That’s one parent down that I don’t have to deal with anymore.  Now let’s take care of the other.”

            Suddenly Steve voice broke through on the radio.  “Man, you might want to come out here.”  He said sounding tired and out of breath. 

Dustin folded the paperwork putting it in his back pocket before picking up the walkie-talkie.  “Me?”  He asked Steve.

“Yep.”  Steve replied.  “That damned gay architect that you told me to get out of here just ran through the gates and he’s climbing into the down into the hole right now to get to his momma.”

“Jesus!”  Dustin exclaimed. 

The woman looked up smiling.  “Sounds like some people don’t see the advantage of being an orphan.”

Dustin smiled.  He knew exactly what she was talking about.

The End

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