Cole (story by Hank Helman)

Henry took the few scraps of paper out of his shirt pocket and placed them on the dais. He glanced up at the three people sitting in the chairs provided by the coroner’s clerk and offered them a nod and a half smile.


“I know on the day we bury,” he began, “we are called on to say good things…”.

Henry hesitated.

“But to be forthright, Cole Harper never did one kind thing in his entire life.”

The three mourners sat impassively, unmoved and unwilling to contribute any remorse.

“And to tell y’all the truth I’m kind of surprised even three of you came today,” Henry continued,” cause Cole never knew a friend.”

Mary Cartwright from the county registrar’s office sat Sunday stiff, her hands folded tight in her lap and nodded.

“He was raised hard, Cole was, and as a kid I can’t remember a day he wasn’t bruised or black-eyed or bandaged up in some way.”

Henry glanced down at his notes, a shopping list from last week and two reminders from his wife; one to buy dogfood and the other black cherries.

“So maybe best if we keep this short,” Henry said and quietly sat down.

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