"Look," I says, "I ain't got a lot of time for this. Pick yourself up."

Percy's on the ground, looking all kinds of pitiful. It was rainin' not long before, so I presume he got some mud on that awfully nice-lookin' jacket of his. Despite the fancy attire, Percy was lookin' a bit pale and tired in the face. I offered out my hand to help him up and all, but he got standin' by hisself.

He's like, "What do you even want from me, Joseph? Why are you dragging me out here?" He was very anxious-looking.

I put my hand towards my gun to show him the situation. That gets his attention real good. Soon enough, he's askin' me what it is I want him to do in a graveyard at such late hours.

"Vinnie has a little assignment for us, Percy," I says real smooth. "We got somethin' we got to take care of, ya' see?"

"Why do we have to be in a graveyard to do it though? And why did you have to blindfold me and hold me at gunpoint on the way here, huh?"

"There's a part of this assignment I ain't too keen on. I need you to do it and I know this is the only way to get any work outta you. It ain't nothin' personal; this is just how it is in the business sometimes."

Percy shakes his head, tryin' to make up some words to say to me until he just asks, "What is it you want me to do?"

I walk to the car and grab the shovel. I hand it to Percy and he holds it in his hand like he ain't seen a shovel before.

"What now?" he asks me. I motion to the grave we happened to be standin' on. He blinks at me a couple times. I motion to the grave again.

"No, Joseph." He drops the shovel on the ground and starts backin' up and all.

"Come on, Percy." I take my gun out all the way, showin' him I ain't playin' a joke. "Just dig this guy up and we can both get some shut eye. Come on, Percy."

It goes on like this until, after 'bout a half-hour, Percy picks up the damn shovel and gets to diggin'. It's late, but not too late. Diggin' up a body takes a good while and we needed to get outta that graveyard before dawn. Percy made it a good three feet before he needed a break. I took over for a little bit, much to my dislikin', but we got the job done anyhow.

Sweatin' and covered in dirt, Percy asks why we're even diggin' up this body.

"We got a guy who owes us somethin' and he's right here, Percy. Yeah, he was a good guy. He did his job good, but he took somethin' that doesn't belong to him. It's somethin' that we need paid back and we need it now. He can't just give it back either--no, it don't work that way. We'll take it back even if it means he's dead."

I let Percy catch his breath for awhile before I make him help me drag out the coffin. It's heavy, but weathered down and we get it out just fine. I tell Percy, "Open the box." He knows better than to go askin' any questions at this point, so he just holds his breath and he opens up the coffin.

Inside, I see quite a sight. Maggots are squirmin' in and outta this guy's skin and havin' a nice little feast. I'm normally quite composed 'round death, but this happens to be a bit much for me. I walk over to the car and catch my breath before grabbin' somethin' and walkin' over to Percy again.

I look at Percy, with his hair all messy and cowlicked and he's got an old golden watch in his hands, wavin' it around like a birthday present.

"Okay, job's done," he's like. He starts coverin' up the box again. I start laughin' a little bit and he turns around to ask why I'm laughin' in such a situation.

"You got it all wrong, Percy. That ain't all you gotta do."

"What do you mean?"

"Take out the body."

"WHAT?! Why do you even need to take his body out?"

"This situation is a bit complicated, Percy. It's fine, you ain't gonna die takin' his body outta the box. The debt to be repaid is more than you think."

He's facin' away from me, starin' at the body for a long time.

"C'mon, Percy. I really don't want a run-in with the feds at this hour. Now hurry up, the sun'll rise soon."

He sighs and gets all frustrated. He turns around and points at me. "Vinnie's a terrible guy, Joseph."

I shrug. I got particular feelings about Vinnie, but none I felt like sharin'.

He kept on. "Really, I don't know how anyone could take orders from him. I don't know why I ever got involved with him. Breaking the law is bad, but it doesn't have to be as stressful as Vinnie's making it on me lately."

"I know you got your problems, man. Hopefully they won't be a problem anymore after tonight. Whaddaya say? Just get the body outta the box, we'll do what we gotta do, and we'll both go our separate ways."

Percy took the body out after that. It wasn't that bad, not like they say it is in the movies. The body didn't fall apart or nothin', but it was surely unpleasant to be around. Fresh dead bodies don't smell at all, but really dead bodies got a nauseatin' smell. Not to mention the skin slidin' right off the bones is somethin' you don't wanna see. Poor Percy got the body out though.

"All right, Percy. Just one more thing." I pick up my stuff and he turns around.

"What's that? Why do you have a hammer?"

"Not just a hammer." I took out my box of nails. He stares at me for a long time and it's real quiet. Quieter than the whole time we'd been out there, even.

"Joseph, why do you have that?" His voice is shakin' somethin' fierce. I tell him to calm down, that it'll all be over with soon.

"I told you someone had to pay, Percy. I told you that you can't just hand it back. Nah, Percy, you're payin' back with your life."

"For WHAT?! I didn't take anything! I swear I didn't! Joseph, I'll do whatever I can to make you reconsid-"

"Percy, shaddup! You wanna get us busted, man? Shut your trap!"

"I didn't steal anything. I promise you I didn't. Please..."

"Vinnie can't take any chances, Percy. This is just how it has to go. You ain't special and we ain't got nothin' against you. We would punish anyone the same way. A good amount of evidence tells Vinnie you're gainin' more than you should from some of his assets. You take from Vinnie, you pay with more than money. You're givin' a direct deposit of your life, buddy. Now get in the casket and we can get this taken care of."

"You can't make me!" He turns to run and I grab his collar and slam him on the ground real hard. I'm gettin' mad now.

"You're gettin' what you deserve here, Percy. Now you shut up and take the punishment or I'll make your wait in your grave a lot more painful." He shut up after that.

I wish I remember what he said before I started nailin' his casket shut, but I don't. You start forgettin' what they say after the first few times because, when you're puttin' the dirt back in the grave, you figure out it's just another day at the office.