Anne Marie Beth was a prim and proper English woman from Somerset, but recently even her warm disposition had begun to subside.
“What’s the matter Anne Marie?” Her close friend Susie asked her one warm summer afternoon.
“I’ve begun to feel a bit dour, I’m afraid. This morning was the fourth funeral I’ve attended in as many weeks.” Anne’s brow furrowed. “It feels like death has decided to ruin a perfectly pleasant season.”
Unnerved by the remark, Susie’s feet clacked against the floor. “Don’t trouble yourself too much dear,” she said. “A stiff upper lip and a smile can cure almost all ills my ma’am used to say.”
Anne did her best to curl her lips.
“Yes,” Anne replied. “I do believe your ma’am is right there.” She picked up her clutch and stood up. “This has been most uplifting Susie. I do hope we can make time for this again soon.”
“Any time dear,” Susie replied.
However, as Anne was walking home more negative thoughts crowded her head. More neighbors had been moving in recently, yet no one ever seemed to move out. Vast piles of boxes had accumulated outside her paddock as more and more people piled into the already-crowded dwelling.
“Mail here for 11 Paddock, East Street,” a voice called out.
Anne, startled, looked up to see that Charlie the postman was standing there outside the lean to. “Thank you, Charlie,” Anne said. “Have a lovely rest of your day.”
“Right’o mom,” Charlie said through a half-toothed smile, a piece of brown clod stuck between his two bottom incisors. “To you as well.”
All the funerals that had been held that month were closed-casket affairs, and that fact had struck Anne as odd. She remembered a time in her youth that she would see the older generation laying there blue in the face, but hadn’t seen that now in some time. It’s not that she particularly liked seeing the rigor mortis after it set their features all askew, but it put her mind at ease seeing how peaceful most of the older generation were when they moved on.
The sun was beginning to set over the verdant rolling hills, and a pall from the newly built factory swept in.
Oh no, Anne thought. Looks like another day of rain tomorrow.
Off in the distance a Diesel engine truck began its slow crawl up a windy road, its trunk over-full of goods.
Good for him, Anne thought as she nestled into her straw bed for the night. At least someone is having some good fortune around here.