Chapter 28

As Dustin began to head back in the direction of the funeral home Marcus followed him.  “What are you doing man?”  He said in an antagonistic tone.

“I’m going back to check and see if Juan has my hearse ready.”  Dustin answered. 

“You’re just going to let him do that?”  The kid said pointing back in the direction of Steve who was still standing partway inside the hole. 

Dustin stopped short and turned to face Marcus.  “Why is it my responsibility to stop him?”  He asked.  “He’s an adult and he needs to make adult decisions once in a while.” 

The young groundskeeper looked confused.  “But you always stop him from doing crazy things?”  He argued.

“I can’t be responsible anymore.”  Dustin snapped.  “If he wants to leave Perez down there and just fill in the hole then that’s his business.” 

“But he can’t!”  Marcus snapped sounding both angry and confused.

 “He can do whatever he wants.”  He muttered walking forward again.  “I’ve got one last thing to take care of for this place and then I’m out of here.” 

“You can’t leave man.”  Marcus said hurrying to catch up with him. 

“What do you care?”  Dustin laughed.  “You know I’m a faker and you’ve never liked me.  You’ve pretty much gone out of your way to make me feel guilty and unwanted ever since Steve hired you.” 

Marcus stopped dead in his tracks.  “That doesn’t matter right now.”  He said calling after Dustin.  “You can’t run away from this man.  I’ll kick your teeth in if you do.” 

Once again Dustin stopped, turning around to face the kid.  “Are you threatening me?”  He asked. 

“Yes.”  Marcus said puffing out his chest.  “I’m not going to let you let Steve destroy this place because you’re afraid of commitment.” 

“I’m not married to Steve.”  Dustin grinned rhetorically.  “He’s not my wife and he’s not my kid.  I can leave him a hell of a lot easier than I left them and you aren’t going to stop me you god damned little bastard.” 

Marcus balled up his fist rushing at Dustin with all his might.  “The hell I can’t.”  He said giving him a heavy shove and tackling him to the ground. 

Together both Dustin and the young groundskeeper struggled across the lawn clawing at one another and throwing punches when they could.  Dustin landed a good one on the kid’s ear while Marcus slammed his fist hard against Dustin’s jaw.  As they struggled, the crowd of family members that were gathered together in the parking lot began to take notice.  

One of the men, the one who’d come forward previously about his daughter approached them clapping his hands together with each word that he spoke.  “Stop that!”  He yelled with a mixture of shock and dismay.  “Stop that right now!” 

It was Juan and Leon the mortician who eventually broke them up.  Juan rushed out from the bushes at the side of the building and Leon leapt from the crowd.  Together they pulled Dustin and Marcus off one another.  Juan grabbed Dustin by the shirt collar and Leon, with surprising strength hauled Marcus away hugging him tightly around the waist. 

“You can’t leave man!”  Marcus shouted, leaping and twisting against the diminutive mortician’s tight grasp. 

Dustin willingly let himself be pulled backwards towards the bushes as the young grounds keeper kept shouting.  Reaching up, he felt his jaw as he stumbled along.  There was a dull throbbing there but it didn’t hurt too bad.  As Juan drug him around the corner of the building and out of site, he spit just to see if there was any blood.  There was.  A little. 

“You loco!”  The gardener said turning Dustin forward and pushing him up against the wall of the building.  Ese chico te mataría!” 

“He’s not going to kill me.”  Dustin answered without much emotion. 

“Este es un comportamiento vergonzoso.” 

“Is the hearse ready with Mr. Kennedy’s body?”  Dustin asked, ignoring Juan’s protest and dabbing at the blood on his mouth. 

Si.  Juan answered, wide eyed and serious.  Creo que se necesita para dejar. 

“I am leaving.”  Dustin replied.  “Just give me the keys and I’ll be heading out as soon as I grab his daughter for the trip.  You still got that paper that I gave you?” 

The gardener released him and hastily dug a folded sheet from his back pocket holding it up for him to see. 

“Good.”  Dustin nodded.  “You tell Steve that you’re entitled to that raise that I gave you.  You tell him that I made the decision while I was still the director and in charge of all of the pay decisions around here.”

Si.” Juan said with a quick bob of his chin.   

“I’m going to leave the hearse at the crematorium.”  Dustin continued.  “I’ll call you when I get there.  You be sure to tell Steve before then because, after that I’m turning off my cell phone and I won’t answer it again.  I need to know before then if you’re going to have any problems with him before I disappear.”

The gardener looked down at his feet.  “Mister Steve,”  He said hesitantly.  “He will not make any decisions without you.” 

“He’ll do fine.”  Dustin said.  “He’s already planning a new funeral right now.” 

Dustin held his hand out for the keys.  Juan reluctantly reached into his pants pocket, pulling them out before looking up and flashing a half-hearted grin.  “It is parked cerca de la muelle de carga.” The gardener reluctantly said before dropping them into his open palm.  

“Thanks.”  Dustin said.  Before he’d turned to walk back into the parking lot his phone began to ring.

The End

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