The smell coming from the body was awful. There’s no other word. It reminded me of cellar potatoes gone over, or a fly-blown carcass lying under a woodpile. It was the smell of maggot-scoured meat. The corpse had been in Kincaid’s shed all day, closed off from fresh air, torn apart and slopping out his damp guts like raw honey. Of course he stank, and it made me feel sick. It hit home what I was doing, and I wondered if The Handsome was worth the sickness I felt.
I once saw men digging a hole for a pig, said Kincaid. Took them all morning. They covered the pig with hot stones and buried it for the whole day.
That ain’t burying a man, I said.
I just meant that it took six good-sized men to dig a hole wide enough–
It ain’t the same, I said. We ain’t cooking this fella, we’re putting him to rest. His family and friends will never know. Whatever we do here, we do out of respect. It’s a solemn thing, not a barbecue.
I was just….
And it don’t have to be wide, it has to be deep. Real deep. Deep enough to stay put no matter what the weather, rain or tornado or earthquake, he has to stay put.
Vern Kincaid smiled. At least that was how it looked to me.