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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2228979
Bob decided to retire from the position he’s held for thirty one years
Word count: 860

After thirty one years on the job, Bob decided to retire.

He’d been working away at this job since he fell into it as a sprightly twenty-four year old. Back then, there’d been no wrinkles on his decently proportioned and (some might say) handsome face. He’d had a full hedge of hair - dark, with curls sprouting straight up towards the sky all over his head. Bright eyes, eager to learn and knowing nothing of the pains and aches he would later suffer from his labour. Young Bob had had good fashion-sense too, and was blessed with what could be called a sunny disposition.

In other words, he was young and excitable and full of the joys that life was sure to bring.

The Job had changed that.

He’d had such Big Ideas back then. This job would give him new skills, and be a stepping stone to Bigger Things. He would meet a girl, they’d enjoy long, sleepless, summer nights together, get married, and once he had accepted the promotion that was sure to come his way, they would choose a home suitable for their future family.

Of course, none of that had happened.

Well, he’d met The Girl before getting the job... and then buried The Girl too.

Often times he wondered just where it all went wrong with her. He couldn’t really remember, had probably blocked it all out. But it had led to his job, so in the end it worked out pretty well.

Until he realised there would be no promotion after all. Just the same dead-end job endlessly. Long hours. Unpredictable schedules. Oddly, the summer was known as the Quiet Season in his line of work, but the winter usually boomed with clients, and he would work all day, six days a week in the freezing cold to keep up with demand. He supposed it had something to do with it being flu season, though he rarely troubled himself with such questions, just carried on working away, earning that dough. Whilst his bank balance thanked him for his, his back definitely did not.

He enjoyed working outside though. Fresh air was good for the lungs after all, and he loved the smell of mown grass. At first, he’d loved the smell of the soil too, as he dug and dug and turned it over, breathing in the damp sweetness. Yet over the years Bob had gone home coated in clumpy, wet, muddy earth, the smell clinging to his jacket and work trousers, and now he couldn’t stand the sight of soil. It sickened him.

Now, thinking about all these things, he popped open the ring pull on the can of cold beer in his hand, and took a deep, satisfying slug, gulping back half a can in one go. He fell back into the sofa cushions, the sharp fizz on his tongue soothing him. Besides, he thought, feeling slightly more positive again... being watched by the bell tower of the Church was calming.

Straight ahead, on the TV cabinet, sat a photo of Her - The Girl - and he stared at it now as he sipped his beer at a more leisurely pace. With her tantalising red hair and playful green eyes she had been his first. Bob smiled at the memory - so much blood. Tangy, almost sickly but incredibly beautiful somehow as it ran down her body, pooling on the floor as she collapsed in a heap on the tiles.

She had been a fit of rage, spontaneous. Others were calmer, planned, less messy, but still gratifying.

When he retired he knew he would miss visiting her grave while working. Sometimes he liked to talk to her, but other times he could almost feel and see the body in the coffin that rested on top of her - that of a Mr Peter Jenkins, aged ninety-two, whom Bob had covered himself, and who had died two days before She did.

Other times he liked to visit the grave of the Original Gravedigger - the actual, original, Robert Thompson. Of course, the gravestone actually read Mrs Ivy Martin, aged sixty-eight. Still, when he felt particularly reminiscent he would visit them, wondering if Mrs Martin ever felt the presence of the first Bob lying a foot beneath her.

He realised that had he never killed The Girl, and been caught burying her in the graveyard, he never would have gotten the job. That’s why Robert had to go - a case of mistaken identity that worked perfectly for Bob. Falling into the Gravedigger post had been an accident, but a convenient way to hide his extra-curricula activities. After all, he hadn’t stopped at Robert. Far from it. Those first two had given him a taste for it.

Which was probably why he had stayed for so long.

But now... his back was dodgy from bending over a shovel for so many years. He could barely even hold the shovel now that his hands were arthritic.

Oh the joys of getting old.

He took another long slug.

Yes, he thought. It’s the right decision.

After thirty one years on the job, Bob decided to retire.
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