An empty grave

Fiction, Hell's Little Paving Stones

Civility

22 Jan , 2019  

“You could, at least, be civil about it.”

“Why the fuck should I be?” Alex stopped in her tracks and glared at Gabe. “You talk a good fight about equality, but denying to others the ‘rights’ you claim for yourself is just everyday bigotry.”

“That’s no reason to drop the f-bomb every five minutes. And when did I ever deny anyone any–”

“You care about me using profanity when your friends are out there protesting my brother’s funeral?” She pointed at the dozen or so unruly picketers outside the cemetery gates. Two of Gabe’s old fraternity brothers were among them; they’d traded jokes and banter on the way in. Their traveling tour bus was plastered with hateful, anti-gay posters. “Fuck you.”

“I’m just saying, you’d catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”

“Why in hell would I want to catch flies?” Alex looked around, pointedly. She waved an arm. “Besides, look around. It’s a graveyard. I don’t have to smile to catch flies. The place is full of maggots–” Alex glanced back out at the protesters. “All I have to do is put out bait.” Alex stared into Gabe’s gray eyes. She did not blink.

“I just mean, maybe you could smile more. Maybe hear them out. No need to be so aggressive with your ‘peaceful resistance,’ Honey.” Gabe shifted uncomfortably under the pressure of Alex’s gaze. Her slow smile terrified him. “I didn’t mean it that way–”

“No? How did you mean it, SugarPants?” Alex could shrivel him with a glance. “My brother and his husband died together, so, what – so your oil and gas stocks would increase in value? So your friends out there could spit on his grave? He and David deserve to be buried together – with dignity. How can you even–”

“Hey!” Gabe held up his hands, defensively. “I didn’t say a word!”

Alex’s angry movement was quick, almost imperceptible. But Gabe flinched as she leaned towards him; he drew away, and lost his balance. His arms flailed as he tried to regain equilibrium. His heels slipped over the edge of the six-foot-deep pit yawning behind him, and he disappeared, as if he’d been pulled through the earth by an unseen hand. There was a sharp “crack” – Alex was pretty sure it wasn’t her brother’s sturdy casket. She peered into the hole. Gabe lay there, broken, helpless, moaning in pain. A broken arm, from the looks of it. He’d live. Alex kicked a stray clod of earth; it landed on Gabe’s torso. “We’re through.” As Alex stepped away from the grave and started walking back towards the sunny parking lot, she looked over at the backhoe. The keys still hung in the ignition. The thought that crossed her mind made her shudder.

She called 911 and kept on walking.


This story was inspired by  and brought to you by the words Bigotry, Civil, Rights, Resistance, Bus, Dignity, Equality, Memorial, Movement, Peaceful.

The prompt begged for an ode to Rosa Parks, and so that’s the very story I did not write.

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1 Response

  1. […] at guessing me to be Cory Doctorow. Tonight, I fed it three different blog posts. The first was, Civility, and this is the result  I […]

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