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On Disposing of a Corpse

The two men walked slowly through the graveyard, glancing at the five-or-ten word death-tweets carved on the stones. Roger Hartley seemed agitated as they passed more and more of the worn and overgrown headstones. They all seemed too old, few showing terminus dates later than 1900.
"It's buried here, with the humans?"
Max Vincent smiled thinly, and replied, "No, he's in with the pets."
"Pets? It wasn't a pet."
"It wasn't even an it," Max corrected. "He was most definitely a he."
"Oh... yes, of course." He blushed, then was irritated with himself at having done so. "How is it that no one knows where it... he was buried?"
"We didn't make an issue of it. Kept publicity down." Max stopped and looked around, squinting against the late sun. "Ah, over here a bit."
"There's some question about how you landed the contract so quickly to get rid of the body," Roger said.
Max ignored the implication that there was hanky-panky involved in getting the job. "I do know the mayor, it's true, but it was fairly obvious that disposal would have to occur quickly. It was, you must admit, a bit of a mess, and being in the middle of the city like that, with the heat the way it was...." He shrugged. "I convinced him to give us a sole-source contract."
"But... I can find no records that the city ever paid you a cent."
Max paused before answering. Roger had just been brought on board as one of their new lawyers for the meatpacking plant. He'd have to learn about this eventually. "They didn't pay us," he admitted. "We paid the city fifty-thousand dollars for the rights to salvage the corpse. There aren't a lot of people that know that."
Roger's jaw fell. Not so much at the cost as the idea that the company would pay for the privilege of getting rid of a body. "But..."
Max smiled. "The crane and the truck were maybe ten grand. The cleanup crew to get the blood off the buildings and the sidewalk were, say, another twenty thou. And a lot of that we billed to insurance companies."
"So you're out a hundred K? For what?"
"Well.. .you haven't done much meat processing, have you?"
Roger snorted. "I'm a lawyer. I process meat at the end of a fork."
"We had potential buyers lined up before he ever even died. The skeleton alone brought us over ten million dollars from a buyer in Japan. The Smithsonian asked us to donate it to them and we told them to stick it. The skin went to some guy in Brazil for two million. A taxidermist here in town bought the... um... phallus for over $400,000. God, who would want to stuff that thing? The actual buyer was undisclosed, but I've got an idea who it might be."
"Oh. But the meat, nobody would eat something like that... would they?"
"Hah. The frozen meat went all over Asia. We had close to a hundred separate buyers. Some rumor about virility, no doubt."
Roger frowned. "The legality of that--"
"We sold the meat as DNA samples to get it past customs. It's pretty damned unique, and who knows, maybe some of those places will actually use it for research. A Stir Fry Research Emporium."
They slowed as they approached the pet cemetery. The gravestone was obvious as it towered above the rest of the grave markers.
"Here we are."
"The grave... is so small."
Max shrugged. "There wasn't much left to bury. To paraphrase an old saying, we used everything but the roar."
Looking oddly out of place, there were two wilted bunches of flowers resting on the grave. The massive gravestone was built in tiers, as though representing a tall building. On it, simply engraved in block letters, it read KONG.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, February 27th, 2014

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