Once you’re dead, that’s it, he said. They stick you in a box, or they place you in a jar, but that’s it; you’re gone, the old man told his son. The two of them sat there looking at each other. The boy got up and got two more beers from the refrigerator. Walked back and sat in the middle of a sagging couch. The boy and the old man looked out the window at the trailer next door and saw strange men coming and going every hour on the hour. Broad daylight. She’d answer the door wearing a slip. Invited them in. The two of them just laughed at this.
Yeah. Once you’re gone, where do you go to? the son asked. I mean, are you saying we just stay put in the ground? Or, burned to ashes? I’m not quite sure I like the way that sounds, he said.
It was getting close to evening time. Five cars had pulled up into her driveway throughout the day. All kinds of cars. Fords, Chevys, a BMW, a RAM truck. They saw her turn out the light in her trailer. I guess she had a long day, the boy said. The old man nodded his head, yes.
Will where else would you go? the old man asked.
Heaven. Hell. Depending on what you did in this life. Maybe based on the sweet love of Jesus. Maybe God’s wrath.
Nah. I’ll just stay in my pine box, the old man said.
The porch light next door came on. She was standing out there with the wind swaying her black slip around. She was smoking a cigarette and singing a song. Some old Joni Mitchell song. Then she went inside. A car pulled up after that. A man got out. He stayed awhile.