Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Harvest

The Harvest
By Michael Cannata

He stared with pride at the bounty he'd reaped. This was the best harvest he could have hoped for. The money he'd earn selling it would get him through the winter and then some. His latest shipment was fresh and ready to go to market. This load would make the new buyer happy.

"Franklin and Sons," had been a well respected family business for generations and had a long history in the small farming town where he had grown up. His father, Joe Franklin Jr, had inherited the business from his father. When he passed away it went to him, Joe Franklin III. It was soon clear he wasn't the businessman his father was.  At this point the land was worth more than the meager living he made from the business.

Unfortunately, selling the land was out of the question. His father's will had been specific. His father was a big part of the community and so was the land. He could only keep it as long as he kept the business. If he sold the land or the business, he would forfeit any profit he made to the town.

Like most of the businesses in the small farming community, life slowed during the long winter months. He counted on the influx of summer tourists that vacationed at the lakes and rivers surrounding the countryside to keep him afloat. Over the last few years, new regulations and safety rules had slowed his business and hurt his income. Despite his best efforts, his business was on the brink of failure.

Suddenly, last spring, a buyer had approached him with a proposition that would solve his problems forever. All he had to do was add a new product. Nothing in his father's Will would prohibit him from doing that.

The first harvest paid him better than all the money he'd made in the last year. The second cutting added even more money to his income.  In a stroke of bad luck due to equipment failure he hadn't been able to get his last harvest to the market before the goods perished. The buyer had given him a stern warning. If it happened again their deal was finished.

As he worked feverishly through the night, he thanked his luck that he was home when the call came. Three people had died tragically in the car crash. Fortunately, thanks to his quick work, even more people would live. He took some comfort from that.

He carefully packed the freshly harvested organs into the chest filled with ice. As he waited for the courier to arrive with the money and pick up the shipment, he started to repair the bodies, confident that no one attending the wake at his funeral home would ever notice.

. It was a scenic farming community that thrived on transient visitors. Fortunately, his was the only funeral home in the area. If things went well and the usual number of tourists and migrant farm workers perished over the summer season, life would be good. For now he was content to enjoy the fruits of his harvest.

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