Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Fine Print - #fridayflash

The widow of Scarlett Pimm's ex-boss placed a red rose on top of his coffin, then stepped back.

Scarlett watched this from a hill overlooking Craggy Bluffs All Saints Cemetery. Gangly and string-tied, she stood hollow-eyed in the shadow of a dying sugar maple, waiting for the graveside service to end. From this angle the mourners resembled fat black beetles, blundering blindly around the widow, licking up to her painted sorrow like it was a dark jewel. Their shiny umbrella backs swarmed around the widow, carrying her to her limousine on a sycophantic cloud, then skittering to their own mini-vans to follow her for pickle-wrapped sandwiches and tepid funeral tea.

A backhoe rolled in, covered the corpse with dirt, then rolled away.

Scarlett waited for a while, waited until the sun was starting to flatten in the tender sky, waited for the world to forget the man in the hole, then slid down the hill on the skin of her own shadow.

She stood in front of the tombstone, so fresh that marble dust still lay in the letters of his epitaph.

Andrew Joseph Williams 
Born June 1, 1942. 
Died October 28, 2010. 
Husband & Corporate Giant 
Respected by all.

She took the hammer and chisel from her tool belt and began inscribing an epitaph of her own. She had waited 12 years to do this, ever since her job had been outsourced to some febrile curry town across the ocean.

"You may have the people of this community fooled into thinking you are someone honourable but I know who you are," she told him on the day she was fired, "and I am going to put it on your tombstone some day."

He had just laughed at her. Laughed, and had security escort her out the front door.

But now it was Scarlett who was laughing as marble chips flew, as sweat soaked her hair, as grave dirt crusted into the knees of her jeans, as four words emerged on the back of Andrew Joseph Williams' tombstone: Lying Sack of Shit.

She finished by chiselling a neat little asterisk beside his name.

"Unlike you," she said, "I always keep my promises."


  1. Oh, Cathy, laughed and loved this piece. Really snazzy descriptions of the mourners and their sycophancy.

    The asterisk was a wonderful touch.

  2. Ha! He got his! I love the original epitaph -- 'corporate giant' -- and adding hers summed up a generation. Great stuff, girl. Peace...

  3. Ha. Revenge lies cold underground.

  4. That is such a good idea. Where's my chisel... Clever piece and strong writing to boot.

  5. An asterisk on a tombstone? How droll. Shame she couldn’t produce something more poetic, but it will get the message across to on-lookers, don’t you think?

  6. She certainly did keep her promise. Good one!

  7. "then slid down the hill on the skin of her own shadow"

    In everything you write, there is (at least) one startling, unique, original phrase. That one made me stop and admire it.

    And the story rocked! Revenge is a dish best served in the rain, preferably with a chisel.

  8. "licking up to her painted sorrow like it was a dark jewel" how beautiful is that line considering it's applied to insect scavengers!

    I had a cup of tepid tea in my friday flash this week as well! Zeitgeisty?

    Marc Nash

  9. Great writing and a fitting end. Look forward to more.

  10. Cathy, I too loved "slid down the hill on the skin of her own shadow." Such a vivid image.

    This has it all - sorrow, suspense, humor, and of course lyricity, (if that wasn't a word it is now). :)


  11. Seems there are a few revenge stories around this week. Your's has to be the best, and funniest one I've read. Loved it!

  12. You used some really wonderful phrases in this one, and some outstanding imagery. You just have to respect a woman who keeps her promises.

  13. Not respected by "all" it seems. I really liked the umbrella backed beetles, that whole scene is excellent!

  14. Aww... Great writing, beautiful descriptions and I loved how abrupt it was that they "rolled in, covered the corpse with dirt, then rolled away." But this lady needs help!

  15. "Corporate Giant"! - Lying, Bloated Sack of Shit!

    I love how literary, how flowery your language is at first, nicely broken down into short paragraphs. Then Scarlett's earthy addition at the end, as brutal as her chiseling must have looked. Very good writing my friend.

    (Hey, my word verification was "blurose")

  16. Wow, Scarlett really knows how to hold a grudge. And you really know how to write about it. Great descriptions in this.

  17. I think the others commented on the lines I liked as well. You came through again this week, missy, with another great one. What four words better sums it up.

    Oh yeah! I also liked "...her job had been outsourced to some febrile curry town across the ocean." I think I was there on business a couple of years ago...

  18. Excellent writing. She really does know how to keep a promise!
    Kari @ The Best Place By The Fire

  19. It's funny when vanity has to be taken down a notch. Great resolution to Scarlett's problem.

  20. Wow - there's somebody never to cross. Yikes :) Very well crafted.

    Corporate Giant/Lying Sack of Shit -- something about today's society that those two often go together. And I find it really sad that anybody would want *either* of them on a tombstone...

  21. Love it, luuurve eet!! Very nicely put together, with a great ending. :)

  22. And of course the secret fantasy of every fired or disgruntled employee is to do something just like this. Great telling of this tale.

  23. Sorry I'm late to this ... loved this ending, Cathy ... You did it.. Another winner!

  24. I'm late too - But what a great twist at the end, and you really captured the readers with your prose in the beginning.
    Fine penning, Cathy!


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