Plain Pine Box by Marcy Dilworth

The voices outside, I could understand them if only that droning moan would stop. Beyond irritating. It’s stomping on my last nerve.

I open my eyes, get oriented. I’m flat-out on the living room sofa, and that awful noise is coming out of me. The reek of stale sweat and antiseptic, that’s me too.

This post-op knee pain flares and seethes, throbs way worse than any doctor let on; maybe they couldn’t sell these surgeries if people knew this stinking, mewling mess would be them. It’s got to be time for my next Percocet.

Right. The voices outside.

It’s Jim and the boys, they’re talking about projects (simple!), and lumber (pine!), and the appropriate size for Mom’s height (she’s tall!). They’re chatting about digging, and plot size, and how long until Mom will be ready.

Sonsabitches. Well, Jim anyway. They’re designing my damn casket.

My dad always said – and I mean always, at every family occasion – that he wanted a plain pine box. No frills for him, just plop him in the ground and let the worms eat him. I never said that. I want nothing to do with a casket.

Hold on, you don’t die from knee surgery. What the hell did they find – in my knee – that’s going to kill me? When are they going to tell me, break it to me that I’m on my way out? And why do they sound so damn cheerful?

‘One box or two?’

I slump back on my pillow and whimper. How big do they think I am that I need more than one casket?

‘Vegetables and flowers?’ they say.

Who brings vegetables to a funeral?

‘Two boxes, one for each,’ Jim says. ‘She won’t be able to reach her usual plots this summer.’

Plots in the plural?


I exhale.

This isn’t my grave, it’s my garden – the raised beds I’ve been begging for.

Marcy Dilworth is a recovering finance professional pursuing her love of writing. Recent stories have appeared in FlashFlood, The Daily Drunk, Literary Mama, and Blink-Ink. She lives with her husband and wonderful kids in Virginia where they serve their precocious rescue pup, Kirby. On Twitter: @MCDHoo41.