More Art Than ScienceMature

As Krapp began to prepare Porter for movement, he turned to me almost quizzically. It suddenly occurred to him that I too must have a purpose in the fields.

My palms began to tremor at the thought of having to admit to being Krapp's nemesis -failing nemesis at that! - within the field. Krapp's quizzical gaze was steady upon me as I moved ahead, still searching for the man I was to bring back to the wagon. "What is it, then," Krapp spoke with a tone of faux-disinterest, "that you do, sir?"

My voice audibly cracked as I hastily told him, "What strange luck it is that we should meet, sir, for I am an embalmer too. A third to your field, by the name of... Herbert Jacobs."

I watched Krapp grab Porter's body roughly and sling him over-shoulder. "If it weren't for these auspicious conditions, I might consider the line of work crowded at this point. Where'll you be returning to after this affair, Jacobs?"

"I lived a short time in Charleston before the war, but left Virginia at succession. Whether I return there afterwards will depend greatly."

"How interesting, I have a residence in Coalsmouth. You must visit me upon your return to Charleston." He extended this offer without a smile or affectionate air, leaving me to wonder whether this was an invitation or a threat. "When this war has passed, you'll certainly take me up on my offer?"

I nodded silently, as I bent over to inspect what turned out to be my man. Krapp turned and headed back to our point of origin. I would see him many times over the next ten months. It wouldn't be until that promised dinner in Coalsmouth that Krapp would learn that I had lied about my identity on that first meeting.

The End

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