The Open Casket:
Gregory the Third’s skin looked grey in most light. He towered above others at 6.7, and had booming steps when not careful. But often he was.
He spent many nights retired at home, pencil tapping, frowning over a crossword on his cherry wood glazed table, with a heaping cup of tea steaming nearby. He had a small mansion on the edge of town, a quaint mansion. He was quite comfortable there. Born from wealth, his home made him feel closer to his old folks. His chair was red felt with brass buttons pinned at five places, like the five on a die. He had an antique black phone, and a bookshelf with weathered copies of the classics which he’d read many times and never tired of. He also liked the occasional mystery or spy book. He had an English accent, unlike the locals.
Once a week he’d go to the store for necessities. It’d seemed quiet when he entered. Two people creeped as they pushed their carts past him. One tripped over his feet and then broke into a run past Gregory and turned into the meat department. A few others hid deeper in the aisles as they peeked back at Greg from boxes of cereal or cans of vegetables.
A man started to cross his path but stopped and turned slowly to face him, his finger poised as he spoke, “You crawl back into the hole you’ve come from. You’re nothing but a curse to this town.” Other people came out of hiding crowded around the man. A few other men bellowed, “yeah!” A woman nodded her bobbed blonde head, shuffling her white polka-dot dress, “None of us want you here don’t want you here, so why don’t you just go somewhere else.” A boisterous call of yeahs boomed from the crowd.
“I apologize for any inconvenience, ” Gregory said, “but my family is gone. And this place is all I have left of them.” Then rolling his cart. “Excuse me, but you are blocking the oranges.” He reached and put four oranges into a clear bag.
“You’ll be sorry.” The man said. But Gregory went past him, ignoring him, twisted the bag of oranges shut and rolled to the next part of the store.
When he returned home, he opened his over-sized door, it creeked, and sat at his chair and read Moby Dick till his eyes started to feel heavy. He placed his book mark in it and set it on the table. Then lumbered to his office and composed a letter to a friend.
Afterwards he got up, his back stiff with a hunch at the shoulders and stalked down the hall into a room with dim lights along the wall. There was a casket in the center of the room on grey carpeting. It was a shiny black, and inside it pillowy red velvet pads. He turned off the lights and walked to the casket, and bent down and lay down his long body and shut his eyes. As he relaxed the lines on his grey face deepened.