It’s been a while since SCENIC WRITER’S SHACK trotted out it’s fiction voice. The story you’re about to read – well, if you get that far – concerns a humble gravedigger who embarks on a ‘soul-seeking’ quest one rainy day while knee-deep at work in the cemetery he calls his office. Most unexpected results follow. I just had to say ‘most unexpected’ didn’t I? Better judge for yourself.
Paul Lipshut had been casually digging a grave in pretty hard ground within the grounds of Necropolis cemetery. At a certain point he began to feel hot and tired. He stopped and sat down in the grave to have a rest. What could be more natural?
Without warning and coming from nowhere in particular, the jovial Englishman thought he heard a voice. At first he took it to be human but with some weird kind of echo effect to it. The seasoned grave-digger initially believed it was his own hearing that was somehow at fault.
He stood up to have a look around. As far as he could see, the cemetery was totally deserted in all directions. Although he was standing up to his neck in the grave, he didn’t have a perfect view. Tall headstones nearby blocked his sight.
He began to suspect that some of his known-to-be-mischievous workmates might be concealing themselves nearby and playing a joke on him; perhaps trying to frighten him by speaking deeply into a funeral vase or something to create the ghostly echo effect. It had happened before. He shouted out sarcastically a few times but no one answered.
After a brief period of silence, the bearded cemetery worker again heard the indistinct echoing voice. Becoming annoyed by what he was now convinced was a morbid practical joke at his expense, he climbed angrily out of the grave to see what was what.
He searched around furiously, expecting someone to pop up and run for it, however the immediate vicinity of the grave offered no such resolution. Deciding that whoever it was that had been fooling around had probably pre-empted him and nipped out of sight over the other side of the incline, Lipshut trudged uphill in pursuit. But still there was not a soul in sight.
Again he heard the voice. Still he couldn’t make out the meaning, as the sound-distorted words seemed to be jumbled up, like echoes on top of echoes in some multi-track recording. By now however, he had sensed the direction from which the sounds seemed to be coming and, still curious and suspicious, he went walking towards what he believed was the source, a certain gravestone.
As he began to realize that there was no reasonable place for a joker to hide in that particular area of where he was, he began to feel wary and genuinely frightened as the sounds continued to emanate. It could not have soothed his jangled nerves then to realise the voice was coming out of a gravestone.
Having determined that a tombstone was talking to him, Paul Lipshut had a good look at it and found the name on the headstone to be that of one ‘Mallory De Courcey’. As light rain began to fall, Lipshut removed his phone from his back pocket and began a GOOGLE search.
It took no more than a minute for him to discover the name Mallory De Courcey, according to the corresponding dates on the tombstone, had belonged to someone who, at one time, many years now past, had made some type of name for himself performing as a ventriloquist. Lipshut reacted with a mixture of amusement and curiosity to further discover the entertainer’s act had featured a puppet bear named ‘Voices’.
Paul Lipshut knocked off early from his shift at the cemetery that afternoon. Thanks to that epiphanous moment amongst the graves, he now knew, with all the certainty of a sage, what he was really meant to devote his life to. It was the end to a long, long period of searching.
Now it all made sense. As a boy he’d found joy in two things: dirt – which, due to the weather in and around the city of Cardiff, naturally also included its wet-weather cousin, mud – and entertaining others. It was the second of these true loves, he now told himself, that was clearly his true path.
His search was finally over. There would be no more digging; for dirt… or answers. He affirmed that however long it took him to forge a brilliant new adventure inspired by this day, he would travel the distance. Strange events had pointed to a new direction for his life. And a sign like this was surely too meaningful – and bizarre – to ignore.
Humble grave digger Paul Lipshut had heard a voice amongst the tombstones on this fateful, moistened day. It illuminated a path that would open up the next stage of his life. It was, quite literally, his calling.