100 WORDS CONTEST FINALIST

The Shovelers

100 WORDS CONTEST FINALIST

BOB THURBER

The shovelers arrive early, dragging their shadows across the snow. Most are thick-bodied old men with wide shoulders and short beards, but there are a few scraggy, pasty-faced youths among them. Long coats conceal their overalls. Most wear wool caps. All wear boots. The group huddles beside the gravesite to share cigarettes. Soon a truck will arrive, bringing tools. The foreman will hand out pickaxes and shovels then stand back and watch. The foreman is not a shoveler, though he used to be, but so long ago only the fathers of the shovelers remember. Those fathers who were themselves shovelers.

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