Friday, March 19, 2010

Fiction Friday: Bob Rivers, Part 2

Click here to read Bob Rivers, Part 1

So now when he saw an individual visitor, he would steer clear almost immediately, as if the person’s grave was a danger zone to be avoided. Too many danger zones at one time and Bob would find himself back at the garden shed, drinking another root beer.

And Mr. Reynolds, the owner of the cemetery, didn’t like the sight of Bob Rivers drinking root beer. He wasn’t paying him to drink root beers. He was paying him to create beauty that he could sell to grieving customers. This was his business, after all.

At the end of each day, after the day’s work had been completed and the garden shed was locked, Bob Rivers did his least favorite part of the job. He walked the grounds to collect and discard the dead flowers by the graves. Bob sometimes found it strange that in a cemetery filled with hundreds of tombstones, it was the flowers that reminded him of death.

He would walk down the side aisles, looking left and right, looking for the splashes of color. For each one he saw, he would approach and check the condition of the bouquet. He removed dying blooms and dried leaves, always leaving the best looking flowers for one more day.

Most people left bouquets still wrapped in plastic. Bob would leave those for the most part. The wrapping helped make the flowers last longer. Once a bouquet was near half-wilted, he would take away the wrapping and arrange the remaining flowers in front of the grave. He always took great care when doing this, should the person who left them return the next day and find his bouquet tampered with.

Bob couldn’t let dead flowers lie on a grave. It didn’t seem right.

So he spent the last hour of every day tending to the floral offerings of love that sat on the green grass in front of each grave. He would pocket the little packets of flower food attached to the plastic-wrapped bouquets, discard the excess wrappings, toss the dead or dying flowers into his compost bin, and drive home.

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