He was showing off. Three of his friends were helping. Moving faster than he would, ordinarily, carrying two rocks instead of one, heaving two sacks of concrete rather than one, and making jokes the whole time, coughing to cover his breathlessness as he continued a running conversation with the guys working around him.
A few days earlier they called him a pussy for wanting to hire professionals to do the work. They said they would help with his new shed. About an hour into the job of mixing and pouring, he grabbed at the center of his chest, yelled out, and collapsed on the ground in his side yard. One of the guys ran to him and looked. He dialed 911 and started chest compressions. Another of the guys felt for a pulse in his neck and pressed his wrist to feel for a pulse. Nothing. He was gone. Gone. The ambulance was there in minutes. The EMTs said he was gone. They couldn’t get a pulse. Nothing worked.
The fellows digging Dave’s grave worked quietly, pacing themselves. One of them caught his breath and had a sip of water. His pal reminded him to take it easy, as he had some heart trouble a few years earlier.