Mosely let Elt run out of jokes. A long enough pause passed, and Elt became aware of a rising fear. Something gnawed at him. Something something he heard the other guys talk about, but not something he anticipated having to go through. Mosely saw his face freeze when realization came to it. Elt looked up with glazed eyes. Mosely couldn’t fight an honest shame within himself seeing Elt’s eyes shine with tears.
“You?” Elt asked, choking down the lump in his throat and swallowing the fear after. “I don’t want to. I couldn’t. Mosely, you’re all I got. I can’t…” his squeaking trailed off.
Shame flickered at him when Mosely realized how little he cared. Despite all they had been through, it came down to this.
“You,” Mosely flatlined; hammered in by an emotionless stare.
Through snotty, weak sobs, Elt managed to protest, “but I won the toss!” He had to. Mosely knew he had to. They both knew it didn’t matter. Mosely didn’t have to argue. He waited in reply.
Elt knew Mosely would only make this easy for so long. He laid his gun on the pile of clothes at his feet. His paleness loudly defied the shadows coming down from the waning day. His fragile figure thinned out more alongside Mosely’s bulk and the looming branches wrapping the grass inlet.
Elt stopped whining. For once. Not because he didn’t want to, not because he didn’t have anything to say, not because he was afraid of Mosely – even though Mosely’s capacity for violence shrouded his thoughts – rather, to save Mosely the harshness of wrestling necessity and desire. Nothing about their lives were fair. Everyone forgot that fair existed from an early age where they came from. They allowed themselves a meager sense of grace in their decisions, the closest to honor they could.
Elt stepped forward and lost his form to the disgusting bath as he sank himself slowly down. The pink liquid shaped around him. It accepted his body as if no alternative existed, it made no ripples, and remained as slate-faced as the man who guarded its exit.
Elt’s form melted into the liquid completely. It churned as it absorbed him, less resembling Elt by the second. Death was without question, but moreover, no one had asked. No one would miss Elt. Not Mosely, not their employer, and not the countless others they had performed this send off with.
Just get it done. Mosely poured cement into the mix. He felt empty in the long wait for it to set. When dark fell on the meadow, he finished the hole with topsoil and reseeded it for good measure. He dumped Elt’s things in the trunk and trailed golden dust in the headlights of Elt’s Impala. Mosely tried to never think about him again. Air now cooling from the night rolled in with the window down. Mosely admitted it was going to be a nice drive back.