And All the Earth a Grave

Carroll M. Capps
And All the Earth a Grave, by

Carroll M. Capps (AKA C.C. MacApp) This eBook is for the use of
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Title: And All the Earth a Grave
Author: Carroll M. Capps (AKA C.C. MacApp)
Release Date: October 22, 2007 [EBook #23146]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ASCII

Produced by Robert Cicconetti, Jeannie Howse and the Online
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* * * * *
+-----------------------------------------------------------+ | Transcriber's
Note: | | | | Obvious typographical errors have been corrected. For | | a
complete list, please see the end of this document. | | | | This etext was
produced from Galaxy Science Fiction, | | December 1963. Extensive

research did not uncover any | | evidence that the U.S. copyright on this
publication | | was renewed. | | |
* * * * *

There's nothing wrong with dying--it just hasn't ever had the proper
sales pitch!
It all began when the new bookkeeping machine of a large Midwestern
coffin manufacturer slipped a cog, or blew a transistor, or something. It
was fantastic that the error--one of two decimal places--should enjoy a
straight run of okays, human and mechanical, clear down the line; but
when the figures clacked out at the last clacking-out station, there it
was. The figures were now sacred; immutable; and it is doubtful
whether the President of the concern or the Chairman of the Board
would have dared question them--even if either of those two gentlemen
had been in town.
As for the Advertising Manager, the last thing he wanted to do was
question them. He carried them (they were the budget for the coming
fiscal year) into his office, staggering a little on the way, and dropped
dazedly into his chair. They showed the budget for his own department
as exactly one hundred times what he'd been expecting. That is to say,
fifty times what he'd put in for.
When the initial shock began to wear off, his face assumed an
expression of intense thought. In about five minutes he leaped from his
chair, dashed out of the office with a shouted syllable or two for his
secretary, and got his car out of the parking lot. At home, he tossed
clothes into a travelling bag and barged toward the door, giving his

wife a quick kiss and an equally quick explanation. He didn't bother to
call the airport. He meant to be on the next plane east, and no nonsense
about it....
* * * * *
With one thing and another, the economy hadn't been exactly in
overdrive that year, and predictions for the Christmas season were
gloomy. Early retail figures bore them out. Gift buying dribbled along
feebly until Thanksgiving, despite brave speeches by the
Administration. The holiday passed more in self-pity than in
thankfulness among owners of gift-oriented businesses.
Then, on Friday following Thanksgiving, the coffin ads struck.
Struck may be too mild a word. People on the streets saw
feverishly-working crews (at holiday rates!) slapping up posters on
billboards. The first poster was a dilly. A toothy and toothsome young
woman leaned over a coffin she'd been unwrapping. She smiled as if
she'd just received overtures of matrimony from an eighty-year-old
billionaire. There was a Christmas tree in the background, and the
coffin was appropriately wrapped. So was she. She looked as if she had
just gotten out of bed, or were ready to get into it. For amorous young
men, and some not so young, the message was plain. The motto, "The
Gift That Will Last More Than a Lifetime", seemed hardly to the point.
Those at home were assailed on TV with a variety of bright and clever
skits of the same import. Some of them hinted that, if the young lady's
gratitude were really precipitous, and the bedroom too far away, the
coffin might be comfy.
Of course the more settled elements of the population were not
neglected. For the older married man, there was a blow directly
between the eyes: "Do You Want Your Widow to Be Half-Safe?" And,
for the spinster without immediate hopes, "I Dreamt I Was Caught
Dead Without My Virginform Casket!"
Newspapers, magazines and every other medium added to the assault,

never letting it cool. It was the most horrendous campaign, for sheer
concentration, that had ever battered at the public mind. The public
reeled, blinked, shook its head to clear it, gawked, and
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