luni, 20 octombrie 2008

The gravediggers

The first snowflakes of the winter started falling, while the old man was shoveling and the two strangers kept talking in their weird language. It didn’t sound like any language the man had heard before. But what bothered him was the calmness of their voices, as if they were not just desecrating a grave.

Snow came late this year, the third day of December had already past; but it was a sunny autumn, and even now it was pretty warm for the time of the year, yet the ground was still nearly frozen, and the old man dug with no ease.

‘Do you know that this is called grave desecration, and that it is a sin?’
‘If anyone will go to hell, that’s going to be you, because you are the one digging…and if you want the money, you better not stop digging.’

He didn’t like it, but he needed the money, and even though the work was hard, he has been a working man all his life, and this job would earn him more than six month’s worth of pension. He needed the money, since it was the first winter in a long time, which he would spend alone, his wife having died just months ago. There still were his children, but one was in the U.S and the other in France. Not having heard from them in a while, he had to take care of himself.

He didn’t like it one bit. From the beginning. How they came to him; just knocking on his door, and then as he opened just telling him that he had some work to do in the graveyard. Not asking him, informing him, the way you ask for a coffee at the café. But he did not argue, just took his shovel and followed them.

Three hours it took him to get to the coffin, with no help from the other two.

‘And now?’
‘Open it!’

Now this he really didn’t like. He didn’t even whose grave it was, not being able to decipher the worn out name in the dark, even though his vision was rather good for someone his age. He wanted to just say “No”, but the struggle to get this far had made him curios, so he opened the coffin with his shovel.
It was empty.
Or so it seemed. There was in fact a small piece of paper. The old man picked it up and read it:
“Petrescu Gheorghe Ioan
b. 5th Oct 1939-d. 4th Dec 2004”
‘But this is my name and my birthday…and today’s date…’ turning towards the men ‘What the…?’
One of them was holding a gun pointed at the old man. He pulled the trigger and the corpse fell right into the coffin. The other man took out a pen and a notebook, and drew a horizontal line on the paper.
‘Last one this week, let’s finish it!’
The other took the shovel from the old man’s hand, closed the coffin again, and in a few minutes covered the grave.

2 comentarii:

julie spunea...

...ai tradus'o. dar e altfel...nu e ca aia pe care am citit'o in iarna

kolcs spunea...

am tradus-o pt scoala aici. so i thought what the heck?