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."