"The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story." Ursula Le Guin

Shock Therapy

The cop dashed after the vagabond, who moved faster than expected. “Jethro! Not again!”

Jethro leaped over the grave, yet the cop snagged the hem of his pants. A short tussle later and they both rose, Jethro’s arms pinned behind his back and his wrists captured in silver bracelets.

“This is getting old, man,” the cop said as he jerked Jethro forward, holding firm to his elbow. “You aren’t running off on me this time. Now go.”

Jethro shuffled slowly, carefully, allowing his feet to stumble over each other. Officer Gentry was no fool, however.

“That won’t work this time. I’ll pick you up and carry you if I have to.”

The absurdity of this comment caused Jethro to double over in laughter. If anything, Jethro was three times the size of the cop in girth alone, never mind height. “I’d like to see that!”

A solemn slap to the center of his back landed Jethro face down in the backseat of the car. Gentry barely gave him time to lift his legs before he slammed the door and locked him in.

The silent ride to the police station ended quickly. Jethro faced the magistrate within moments.

“Well, Mr. Stephens. Third time is the charm. What say you this time? What reason could you possibly have to be in the graveyard at this time of night?”

“Same as last time. A ghost needed rescuing. Ain’t that always what it’s about?” Jethro’s sarcastic smile revealed the gap where his front teeth should have been. “I’m a gravedigger. It’s my job.”

The room filled with laughter. “Your job, yet you aren’t on any payroll. What say you about that, Mr. Stephens?” The magistrate stared into Jethro’s eyes, issuing a challenge. Jethro accepted.

“I’m paid in cash. $100 per grave, and rightly so. I can dig as many as 5 graves in one night,” he said, pride gleaming through his set jaw.

The magistrate eyed him. “Rory.”

Gentry stepped forward. “Yes, sir?”

“I want you to check Mr. Stephens’ information. Find out who’s paying him to dig graves. Let’s call his bluff.”

A wicked smile spread across Gentry’s face. “Gladly, sir. What shall I do with Mr. Stephens for now?”

“We’ll have to release him.” This time, the magistrate grinned evilly. “But we’ll put this on him first.” He pulled a tether from the file cabinet behind him. Gentry wrapped it around Jethro’s ankle before he could stop him and activated it.

Jethro didn’t know what to think. “What this do?”

“Well… ” Gentry smirked. “If we can’t find you, we can shock you.” He laughed. “Oh my. Won’t that be something? Seeing a gravedigger laying in a freshly dug grave?”

The sinister guffaws of the others in the room echoed from the walls. “Might just be a new recovery program. We could call it Gravediggers Anonymous. Put ’em all in anklets, shock ’em all, until they’re cured.”

Jethro spat. “Gravediggin’s an honest trade.”

Gentry turned his pockets out. He set the contents on the table in front of the magistrate.

The magistrate studied each golden tooth carefully, calculating, before he spoke.

“Not if you’re robbing them.”

#amwriting #flash #fiction: Seeing a gravedigger laying in a freshly dug grave. #inMon #writing… Click To Tweet

I am an InMon. I chose the prompt “Gravediggers Anonymous.”

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