VANISHED PART V
Cherrie couldn’t handle just standing around the office looking at paperwork she couldn’t get her mind around. She put on her light jacket and walked outside. If she stayed within sight of the office she could at least help look for the box. Trees and shrubs were not dense on the peninsula except in the wilderness area and it was blocked off by the chainlink fence. The fog was beginning to break up so she could work her way to the fence and still see if anybody approached the buildiing. The normal function of the office had ceased anyway, as if the world suddenly waited to exhale. Whoever had moved the box had moved her heart with it. The missing urn box could have been that of her father or her husband. She, in fact, could be interred with her husband’s location in the columbarium, which is what she’d planned. Her life had mostly died with him anyway. If she didn’t have four children to raise, she had no idea of what her purpose would be.
Looking for the box was not the same as looking for missing car keys.
Vincent seemed to get more angry as he walked. How stupid that everybody was out wandering around eighty acres of cemetery looking for a little ten inch box. Whoever had taken it surely had an agenda. Could one of the workers there removed it? But why would they do that? He counted the ones he knew had family buried there--only three of them he could recall. If he eliminated those people, the number of suspects was cut down to the Mexicans and the crazies. He always wondered about Harold. The guy was single with no relatives. So there were actually five of them. Harold would be his choice.
But why would he do that? Vincent would have to take matters into his own hands and go over to the maintenance barn to search it.
Jose was certain that since he’d found that the urn was missing, he’d be the one to find it again and return it to its proper place. To restore order. The job at this cemetery was the only stable thing that had ever happened in his life of chaos. His wife and their six children, his wife’s mother and Jose’s brother and his wife and their two children all lived together forty miles east away toward
Some of them had sometimes jobs.
The children would soon be old enough to have jobs too, if they didn’t
get involved in gangs. But the world was
a new place and the children all wanted cellphones and ipods and cars and
clothes. He could not give them
everything they wanted. And now he
didn’t want to give them anything at all.
But he didn’t know how to tell them these things existed, but not for
them. Because it’s not good for you
didn’t fly any longer. His wife thought
he was too hard on the children. All
Jose had ever really wanted was peace.
The cemetery was all about peace.
Peace earned for the fighting men and women. But also peace for those taking care of them
in this city of the dead. If the
cemetery closed because the workers were not responsible enough to take better
care of their charges, then there would never be peace for Jose again. El Centro,
Waiting was stressful. Natalie was grateful for the cushion she could sit on now that they’d been distributed. The concrete bench was cold. With the fog rolling back toward the west, the sky had begun to clear in the east and turn the clouds red. Her very curly dark hair tumbled onto her forehead, which made her look six years old and took away her credibility. She rethought her plans.
Jerrold walked through the commitment shelter, looking for the lone woman, preparing for the first funeral, that nothing was out of place, looking for a lone box perhaps abandoned under a shrub.
When he found her he introduced himself. “I see you are here early. It’s good the fog is lifting.”
She nodded to him.
“We’ve had a little difficulty and I’m not sure the funeral will be on time today.”
He watched her closely for a response.
“That’s okay. I can wait. Did the minister not come? What has happened?”
“Just an issue has arisen. It should be taken care of right away.” He learned nothing. He didn’t know what to look for, had never been an interrogator. He excused himself and returned to his office to look for his little bottle of nitroglycerin.