It was late at night and Joanne was tired standing on the bare street in front of the graveyard.
“Who the hell can even think of digging graves and steal the boxes?” thought Joanne the cop while switching off the car’s headlights. He was posted in front of Chevel’s Graveyard today and standing there since evening he didn’t find a sign of life. At the quarter past midnight, there was a sudden rattling of the graveyard’s door which startled Joanne. Without turning on the headlights, he simply looked out for an observation and couldn’t make out much so he decided to step out and see by himself. As he unlocked the door and stepped out of his white jeep, he figured out an old man carrying a coffin over his head. He was barely able to walk and carrying such a heavy box over his head was making the man more vulnerable.
Hurriedly Joanne went to the man and asked, “Can I help you?”
“Oh! That would be very kind of you!”
Joanne scanned the man as he removed the coffin from his head and found out that he was already sweating due to the heavy weight he was carrying. On the second thought, Joanne questioned himself, “Is he stealing that coffin?”
“So, your name? I mean, what do I call you?”
“John! Uncle John! Call me the latter.”
“Nice! So Uncle John, at this late night where were you heading to with this coffin box? I mean where should I drop you?”
He acted carefully, in case Uncle John was the thief!
“To the next graveyard. Will you be able to?”
“Sure.” Though he said sure but he himself wasn’t sure about why this man or any other man in the world would like to take a coffin from one graveyard to another graveyard and that too at midnight. “Heaven’s sake!” thought Joanne.
He held one side of the coffin and picked it up while Uncle John managed to hold the other end.
“We can drive in that Jeep of mine.”
“No no, I haven’t walked for a long time and you seem to be a good company. But if you’re unable to walk then we might take the car.”
Joanne scanned the road and found the next graveyard entry was about 500m from where they were. He nodded okay and looked at the vintage clothes of the old man and said “Nah, I’m fine! We’ll walk, I need to stretch out as well. By the way Uncle John, where did you get these clothes stitched from? I mean they aren’t available much these days. I remember my grandfather showing me such dresses in his cupboard and telling me stories from his childhood.”
“Be careful,” he reminded himself. “Don’t let him know that you’re doubting him.”
“Oh, these! I love these pair of clothes. My mother had given me these and I’ve loved them ever since. Well yes, you don’t find them anymore these days. They are, what you youngsters call them? Ah yes! For the museum type of clothes, the vintage style!” and he laughed.
Joanne smiled too.
“So you are wondering about why I’m taking this coffin at this hour to the other graveyard? Aren’t you?”
“Not really, but yea I was wondering about the same.”
“You young boys don’t ask straight questions these days anymore it seems. Why didn’t you ask before? Ok! There there! We need to place the coffin there.”
And Joanne realized that they have already reached the graveyard. He turned right as shown by Uncle John and exclaimed, “It’s so dark in here!”
“Yes, it indeed is.”
“So, why?” Joanne gasped as he asked.
“Haha haha!” a long laugh followed. “Actually, my wife wants to rest in here.”
“Oh! I’m sorry to hear about your wife.” Joanne pitied his intentions and cursed himself for doubting him.
“Oh no no! It was long back. Now she’s resting in peace only. Actually, her best friend was buried in the other graveyard, so one fine day, she asked me to transfer her there. I went along with her.”
“…went along? Meaning?” Joanne was startled. But Uncle John continued, “Then 3 days back she and her friend had an argument with the other dead and she again demanded to get transferred here but this time along with her best friend. After shifting the two coffins, today finally I managed to shift mine.” Joanne watched helplessly as Uncle John lowered the grave, opened it up and got inside it.
Next morning, the newspaper read, “Another mysterious disappearance of a coffin from Chevel’s Graveyard and a police officer found unconscious in the nearby graveyard near a grave’s headstone that read Uncle John (1836-1926).”