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The Business of Death

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There was a young man whose name is not so important, but let us call him Jakob for now. Near the prime of his life, he moved to a small community in the countryside of a nation whose title is not so important. He was bright and ambitious then, and had grand plans of working up to the position of local mayor or head of law enforcement, perhaps.

It was on a new spring day, when the winds carried in a warm breeze and dandelion seeds, which he sat upon a time-worn, black bench with entrancing wrought iron flora adorning the sides. It was in that same town square bench that a hunched, wrinkled man took seat next to him.

Adjusting the thinly lined spectacles sitting upon the bridge of his crooked nose, the man gave a low chuckle and said, "It's an art form, really."

Jakob pitched up his head slightly to the left, and as peculiar as the old man's statement was, he wondered, "What is?"

"My job. I deal in the business of death. But not many ever seem to appreciate it.” Less than a month there, and he'd already met who he presumed as the local mortician. Well, with nothing much more to do that day and curiosity peeking out, he let the man continue.

"They never expect it. When I come around and cut them away from the very lives they'd grown into for so long. At first, I was a true novice, just twisting off their heads with my bare hands. But as time went by, I collected an impressive set of tools to cut them with- literally."

The young man's eyes flared open as the old man gave an empty, yet grim smile towards the green plots surrounding the town hall.

Leaning towards the suddenly uncomfortable Jakob as if telling a secret, he went on, "I'll let you in on this, and I promise I'm not bragging, but I'm the best in town. I even have some of the most gorgeous specimens as well, ask anyone. If you convince Mr. Roberts, the coroner around these parts, to let you in his home for a cup of tea or two and a nice conversation, the rigid fool might just show you his accumulation of them. Some he's picked out himself, others I've had the honor of putting into their very cases!"

There was an unsteady silence as he stopped to catch his breath, and Jakob considering running to the police station. The old man interrupted the pause himself, however, when he pointed a bent finger towards a not-so far out empty field. Empty all but for a schoolhouse which, at that same moment, was letting out children of all shapes and sizes, marked also by the brass bell ringing about in a nearby tower.

"Would you look at them over there? My god, aren’t they some true beauties! If I could, I'd take one of them home right now, if it weren't for that uptight principal and his damned territorial issues. But then the missus wouldn't be so fond of it either… Not without her consent at least. Oh, if I just could, though, I would give them a new home and the love and caring they deserve."

He gave a heavy sigh and twiddled around with some buttons on his pocket, muttering, "I'm afraid I'm getting too old for this, though. I wouldn't be surprised if I broke my back the next time I'm out, what with all the digging and chopping and waiting for them to grow up..."

Jakob, however frightened he was, just needed some sort of reassurance before running off to report the ridiculous sounding crimes of a seemingly weak, old man, so with a nervous laugh, he asked a question he was expecting to very much regret. "What exactly is your job, sir?"

"Why, I'm but a lowly florist, of course."

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