Here’s a 200-word thing I’ve wrestled with for a week or so, mostly because a mischievous woman keeps appearing and taking over and dominating the narrative. Every time I re-write to cut her, she refused to stay gone. So, I’ve decided to leave her be, mostly because she won’t leave me be. I will say this: She works hard in the Unclaimed Body Transference Department!

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Unclaimed Bodies

“Why so many,” she asked.

“Because some of the living lets go after death.”

“It’s like donating the family photos with Grandma’s hand writing on back.

“Very. Rude for the living to leave dead unclaimed. Now help me gather,
bag, mainly hoist.”

She lifted the rude things, things soft, hard and things in between.

She stuffed bags.

Hoisted, dragged onto wagons.

Rode roads up and down, delivering to whomever would lay claim.

Dumped and returned empty, lifting, bagging, dragging, hoisting, riding.

After weeks of silent work, they spoke again.

“I like the word hoist,” she said. “It has heft, like these soft bags, and the
hard ones.”

“Hoist means to raise or haul,” he said, “sometimes with ropes and pulleys.”

“No such resources. On three, lift.”

She grunted full, time to ride again.

Time to deliver.


Silent riding for most of last trip.

Then she spoke, never taking eyes from road.

“Offend me,” she said.

“You’re stupid.”

She grinned, spat.

“Hoist my dress when we’re done.”

“Without rope and pulley?”

“Or with if you must.”

“Lift rude things in between.”



“Unclaim my body, like the others.”

“It’s rude to leave dead unclaimed,” he said.

“Offend me.”

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