Hey, writer pals I started a new book...okay I should finish the one I'm 150 pages into or rewrite the one that's done and sell it but this new one's got me sucked in. Here's the opening scene:
Dad and Will pushed the body in a wheelbarrow up the hill through the silent graveyard. The body was trussed up in a burlap sack so we didn’t have to look at the busted up mouth and dead eyes.
Bobby was down in the grave tossing up shovel fulls of heavy clay. He’d just closed this grave up this afternoon, so, the despite the frozen ground, the digging was easy.
I stood next to my mother but there was no comforting arm extended from either of us. Guess the digging wasn’t easy between us either; things had been buried too long, secret things.
My jeans were frozen; I clenched my thighs to keep the cold denim off my skin. I hunched my shoulders up so the wide collar of my pea coat covered the frozen edges of my ears.
Dad and Will stood panting from the exertion of the uphill climb, their breath making clouds in cold air. The gusts of wind snatched the clouds and threw them down the valley, towards our faintly lit house.
The scrape of shovel on wood drew us all to edge of the grave to look down on Bobby’s red hair, darkened by sweat to the color of an orange brick. Will extended his hand and Bobby climbed up.
“Awright,” Dad said.
My brothers lifted the body. Bobby grabbed the feet and Will hooked his arms under the shoulders, the burlap-encased head lolled against Will’s belt buckle. Without needing to count, the boys swung the body between them, letting go as it reached the top of the arc over the open grave. The body paused for a moment, then gravity dragged it into the open grave. It landed with a muffled thud, bouncing a little on the coffin at the bottom of the grave.
Will and Bobby filled the grave.
In a few days a new tombstone would be set. It would read: Franklin D. Newkirk, Beloved husband, father, brother and friend, 1920-1976. There’d be no mention of the 28-year-old white man who’d be “unofficially” sharing Mr. Newkirk’s Greenwood Cemetery grave, undetected, God willing, until judgment day.
My Dad stood the foot of the filled grave, the boys panting and leaning on their shovels “This is done,” he said. “You’re not to talk about this to me, your mother or each other. Ever.” Then he held his hand out to my mother and they walked back to the house hand in hand. The boys and I trailed after.
I went to bed that night in awe at the power of lying, ambivalent about the value of truth.