Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

There’s no such thing as improvisation when you have a body to bury.

You need to be well organised, and, of course, you need to have the right tools.

Transport comes high on the list. A van or a car with a large trunk (‘boot’ if you are British) is essential. If renting the vehicle, book it for a period of at least three days, and well in advance. Any hire that runs from midnight to 4 a.m. on the date of a murder or a disappearance is inviting trouble.

Rubber gloves are a must when handling a corpse, and anything that may once have belonged to it.

Bin-bags will help protect the inside of the vehicle and minimise the dispersal of any biological evidence, but in my experience a large sheet of plastic – bubble-wrap, for example – is far more efficient, and it invites no suspicion, even when purchased in quantity. It is cheap enough to be left behind, keeping the heat of organic decomposition and the feasting bugs exactly where you want them, which is a definite plus. It is also virtually untraceable.

A dependable torch is a must: durability is better than brightness. You need to see what you are doing, but you really don’t want to attract attention, do you?

Make sure to check your batteries before leaving home.

It’s no fun digging in the dark.

Stout waterproof boots with a thick rubber sole will guarantee your maximum safety and comfort while working. Don’t be fooled by rubber wellingtons. They tend to get stuck in the mud when it rains, and you wouldn’t want to wet your socks and catch a cold, now, would you?

Finally, the pick and the shovel.

Never try to economise on these essential tools. They are an investment which should last you a lifetime. They ought to be modern, mass-produced, well-designed, easy to clean and comfortable to handle. Blisters on hands and cuts on shins are a dead giveaway to be avoided at all costs. Buy your pick from one store, and the shovel separately, preferably at a large supermarket or garden centre, and the further from home the better. Pay cash, and remember to burn all receipts.

Now, have I forgotten anything?

Ah, the body…

Here, the matter of personal choice plays an important role.

And do remember: a check-list helps, but practise makes perfect.


Michael Gregorio is the name that Michael (G. Jacob and Daniela De) Gregorio use when they write together. They have published five novels, including Critique of Criminal Reason, Days of Atonement and A Visible Darkness (Faber & Faber, SMP), most recently Boschi & Bossoli (Italy only). Michael loves to write short stories, too (Venice Noir, Best International Crime).

D.I.Y. first appeared in an Italian on-line magazine.

Visit our website for the latest news and blogs:


Donate a little?

Use PayPal to support our efforts:


Genre Poll

Your Favorite Genre?

Sign Up for info from Short-Story.Me!

Stories Tips And Advice