This is an essay I wrote in 2005 about the drifter who lived with my family for a year…and how we finally “took care” of him.
“Just dig!” I say to my mom. “It’s going to get too cold soon, and then we won’t be able to shovel anymore.” I swing the pick ax several more times at the frozen dirt, trying to loosen up the rocks and frozen chunks of soil so that she can shovel them out.
“It looks like this is gonna a pretty shallow grave,” says my mother, huffing as she scoops out another shovelful of stones and dirt.
“Whatever…As long as he fits. Dad says the soil is acidic here, so the body will decompose pretty quickly.”
“Oh! His body is already stiff!” says my younger sister, fighting back tears.
“Don’t worry, just a few more inches,” I reassure her.