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FGraveside Manner


In answer to the challenge to include the following "rule" in the story: "In visiting the sick, do not presently play the physician if you be not knowing therein."

 

The preacher droned on, his voice echoing as though it were coming from the grave.  Johnny shifted his weight to the other foot, the leg irons clanking noisily enough so that several of the mourners looked his way.  Some bore expressions of sympathy. Others of hate.

He bit his lip as the dirt thudded on top of the coffin, until the hollow thumping was replaced by the subdued thrush of dirt on dirt. Val took his elbow. "Come on, Johnny, time to go."

"It sure as hell wasn't Murdoch's time to go," Johnny hissed, taking one long last look at his father's grave.  He figured he'd be settling in beside him pretty soon.

"I know," Val said. "But dammit, Johnny, that's what the law's for."

Scott joined them as they trudged down the hill, the only conversation the protestations of the clinking chains. Rounding a bend, Johnny stopped short as he caught sight of another fresh grave, topped by an impressive monument. "What the hell's he doing here?" he asked, barely keeping his voice from breaking.

"I offered to bury him here. I bought the monument, even had it engraved," Scott said.

Val looked around. "Isn't this the ravine that always floods?"

"Huh. I guess it is," said Scott, his lips quirking up.

"What's this supposed to mean?" Johnny was at the monument, reading the lines below Sam "Doc" Jenkins' name.

"If you ask me, it means your shooting him was what you call a justified homicide," Val said.

Johnny read aloud: "In visiting the sick, do not presently play the physician if you be not knowing therein."

 

~end~

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