The Headsman and the Corpse

Josh Leichliter

The Headsman and the Corpse

They look at me.

When I lop them off and they roll into the basket.

Sometimes they land face up,

sometimes they stare at me.

 

I stare back.

I look into their eyes, wondering what they’re thinking.

If they’re thinking.

I think they are.

 

I once got a smile.

She just smiled and stared.

Didn’t blink.

Just smiled.

 

I smiled back.

It was only polite.

I wonder if she went to Heaven.

Maybe she was innocent, after all.

 

That’s not my job.

I can’t think about that.

My job is to chop.

Just to chop.

Chop, chop, chop!

 

Since I was fourteen I’ve chopped.

Chopped them all.

Peasants, criminals, merchants and kings.

Doesn't matter.

They all chop the same.

Come right off,

if you do it right.

 

Dad was a headsman too.

I chopped him when I was sixteen.

I'm old now and the day is here.

It's only tradition.

 

Danny-boy is sixteen today.

I’ve taught him as Dad taught me.

He's very talented!

I’m excited to see him,

from the basket.

 

I told him to turn me ‘round,

if I land face down.

Turn me 'round Danny-boy! Haha!

Such a good son.

I want to see him and smile.

Let him know how proud I am.

 

I hope I can still smile.

I'm gonna try real hard.

 

It’s time.

Time to get chopped.

My turn in the basket.

I'm sad to go, but…

It’s only tradition.

 

Here we go.

Be strong, Danny-boy.

I know you sharpened that axe,

just like I taught ya.

 

WHUMP!

 

Wow.

Didn’t feel a thing.

Good job, son. Ya did real good!

Nice and clean, just like I taught ya.

I'm proud of you.

 

Turn me ‘round now boy.

Better hurry!

There we go, that's right.

Hi Danny!

I smile.

 

Danny has tears in his eyes.

Just like me, when I chopped Dad.

Dumb boy. I love you, son.

I…