Short Story #72: Earth to Earth by Robert Graves

Title:  Earth to Earth

Author:  Robert Graves


Robert Graves - The Shout and Other Stories
The narrator discusses his neighbors' Elsie and Roland Hedge, come an avid follower and fan of Dr. Steinpilz.  Steinpilz has beene  encouraging them to not only garden to create their own compost.  They take to the task and create the perfect compost that continues to decompose materials in it quickly and does well with being good for food growth.  They become rather extreme in their gathering techniques for the compost including using their own body waste as well as chasing cows around to scoop up the poop.  As the town is subjected to the Blitz (it's England during World War II), the conditions are harsh but the two continue to produce compost even after their leader, Dr. Steinpilz's death.  However, one day, Roland confesses that while housing a naval pensioner, the man had died of heart failure.  Not wanting to cause a distraction to the war effort, Roland and Elsie put him into the compost where the body was quickly absorbed.  The compost pile grew to encompass much of the yard and no real gardening was taking place.  One day, a policeman rang the bell to the house but no one answered though Roland was home and saw the officer.  The policeman came back again and when no one answered, he entered the house.  He discovered Elsie and Roland had committed suicide with a note that they be left in the compost heap.  The next person to move in decided to take down the compost heaps, only to discover five separate skeletons in the mix.  


It was a rather fun story to read and I kept wondering when we were going to find out how many dead bodies were in the mix.  It reminded me of "Taint the meat, it's the humanity" comic from EC Comics as I anticipated that the compost was going to be much more than just a place for waste.

Short Story #72 out of 365
Rating: 3  (out of 5 stars)
Date Read:  3/9/2014
Source:  The Shout and Other Stories by Robert Graves.

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.

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