Eli, older by a year, spoke first. "Sure makes you think. One day you think you're hot shit and the next day you're smelling like it."
Vernon nodded, but he wasn't paying much attention to his philosophizing brother. He watched how sunlight had slipped through the trees, spotlighting the very place where they were digging. The Georgia humidity made his shirt feel like it was glued on and like he did something in his pants, but Vern didn't mind. He loved outdoor work.
"Vern," Eli interrupted. "Fat Man ain't gonna fit in this hole."
Vernon tried bending Fat Man's legs, hoping that the stiffening appendages might snap off. No luck.
"I reckon we got more digging to do," he finally said.
They continued shoveling through tangled roots and arid soil. They hadn't had a decent rainfall in weeks and it made digging difficult. "We need some rain," Vernon said. "I sure like the way these woods smell in the rain."
"Yeah, it's like everything comes clean. Remember how when we was kids, we'd run through the wet woods nekkid? Give Mama a fit."
The brothers Browbridge smiled and continued their work until Fat Man fit snuggly into his new home.
"You reckon we should say some kinda prayer, Vern?"
Vernon considered his brother's request. "Wouldn't do no good," he concluded. "Only prayer I know is 'If-I-Die-Before-I Wake.' Too late for that."
"You think we're bad people, Vern? You think what we do is all right with the Lord?"
Vern grew tired of Eli's questions. "We didn't kill Fat Man, not that he didn't deserve to get whacked." Vern rested on his shovel. "We're just providing a service. Giving him a decent grave. We'll give Mama some of the money we get for this job and she'll give some of it to Reverend Potsdale. So we doing God's work."
"I reckon that's so," Eli said. "Just so's we not bad people."
Vernon topped off the mound of dirt with rotting leaves and tree branches. "I reckon this here's about as fine a grave as Fat Man deserves."
The two brothers stepped back to admire their work, threw their shovels into the back of their car and drove off to collect their pay for a job well done.
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