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Musings of a corpse
(Some people may find this disturbing. This is a piece of fiction and should be treated as such.)
I am dead. Don’t know how it happened. Heart attack probably, brought on by stress. My family found me on the floor of my house after nobody had heard from me in two days. They freaked out, and understandably so. They cried, yelled, and I’m pretty sure one of them threw up. I’m sure I would’ve done the same thing, only I can’t anymore.
I’m put in the ambulance, a sheet over my head, on my way to the morgue. My neighbors saw me and were shocked. Death has a way of doing that to people. It’s the great equalizer. Nobody escapes. The rich and the poor, peasants and kings, superstars and nobodies, we all die. No one can buy their way out of that. And now, it’s my time.
An M.E. performs an autopsy on me. It doesn’t matter what they find, it won’t bring me back. I’m laying on the cold metal table with my chest ripped open. It takes a while, but where have I got to go? At least I’m feeling no pain. It’s kind of amusing, actually.
The M.E. shakes his head, and finishes up. After he’s done, it’s off to the funeral home. I know I’m glossing over stuff, but it doesn’t matter. It’s my story. And I’m deceased.
At the funeral home, I’m laying on another cold metal table, while my family is in another room as the embalming process begins. They tell the funeral director what clothes I’m to wear, how they want the service done, etc, etc, etc. It makes me uncomfortable to hear them talking this way, but it’s something that has to be done. I’m sorry to put them through that.
The makeup lady comes by to try and make me look beautiful. She combs what’s left of my hair, trims it a bit. She touches up my face, holding a mirror, as if I’m gonna approve of it all. But damn if I don’t look good. Never looked that good in my life. They put my glasses back on. Why? It’s not like I’m gonna need them anymore. I look younger without them. You could donate them or sell ‘em. Might get 50 bucks.
It’s the day of the funeral. There was no viewing. It’s cheaper this way, and I didn’t leave a lot to my family. Just enough to bury me and have a cheap service. I didn’t plan for this, ya know. Besides, who wants to see me? I’ll be surprised if 30 people show up.
The eerie organ music begins. I’m in an open casket, so everyone can give me one last look. I have on a nice suit. Wonder where that came from? Who bought it? Why? Why spend money on a corpse? It’s useless. Spend it on bills, groceries, yourselves. Go have a nice dinner. You’re alive, I’m not.
The room begins to fill. My loved ones are here. I never married, and my mom passed on years ago, so there aren’t a lot of them. Everyone sheds a tear or two. That’s normal. Maybe they’re glad I’m gone. Not in a malicious way, but in a forward-looking one. Your nightmare is over. Congratulations.
In my casket are pictures of my animals. I have no children, just my cats from over the years. They’ll miss me, but they’ll find new homes. Hopefully somewhere where they’ll be happy. I also have a picture of my mom, who I miss terribly. Maybe I’ll see her again, very soon.
Wow. Look at all the people! What a crowd! I’m stunned. I want to sit up in the casket and yell, “Wow! You’re all here to see me?! Are they giving away something in the hall?” But seriously, I am thinking, “Where were all you people when I was alive?” It’s mostly my fault, though. I never really reached out to people when I had a problem or just needed a friendly ear. You know what Bobby Heenan always said, “A friend in need is a pest.”
My co-workers are coming to see me. They’re in a state of disbelief. They thought I’d always be there. Guess not. Some people I used to work with are here. Haven’t seen some of them in years. I’m touched.
My dad barrels through and makes a beeline for the casket, stares at me for about a minute, and cries. Wow, you did love me, didn’t you? Why didn’t you show it when I was alive, you bastard? I guess you’re only crying because there’s no child to carry on the family name. All I had were my cats. My stepmom is crying. Her tears are genuine. Nice lady, always a good person. We didn’t stay in touch because we didn’t have much to say to each other, which is why I didn’t keep in touch. I was never much on the phone. I’m better with pen and paper.
Good Lord, look at all the people! Are you kiddin’? I’m reminded of the Irishman who was universally hated by the people of his village for being an underhanded businessman and a jerk. When he died, all these people came forward to pronounce what a strong and wonderful man he was. So much so that his wife turned to his son, and said, “For gosh sakes, Paddy. Look in the casket and make sure that’s your father in there!” I feel the same way about me.
The music dies down and the service begins. A minister I never met performs the service. He does a decent job, but it’s clear that he doesn’t know me from Adam. If I could, I’d rise up from the casket and flip him off. It would be sooooo me. I could always make people laugh when they least expected it.
The service doesn’t cover who I was, what I liked, or what I did. It was just some generic service. The same service he gave yesterday, the same one he’ll give tomorrow or later on today. Emotionless, like the Reverend Lovejoy on the Simpsons. Sorta takes the air out of the room, It’s good in a way, because listening to him drone on and on makes you wanna fall asleep. I would’ve, if I wasn’t dead already.
His sermon ends. The generic organ music plays. Why didn’t they play something I liked? Like pipe in some Zep or Hendrix or Skynyrd? Or not, I never left any instructions because I didn’t expect to die so early. And even if I did, they wouldn’t sully their good name and proper funeral home reputation over some good music. Funeral homes are surrogate churches. No dirty old Satanic music in here!
Now everybody is coming by the casket to see me for the last time. My sister cries, my niece is crying, my cousins are sad. My friends shed a tear. My step mom cries, but my dad stays stoic for a minute, then the waterworks start up again. He gets a hug from my sister and his wife. So he’s sad, genuinely so.
Everyone clears out, and it’s time to load me out to the hearse. The casket closes for the last time. I hear the seal. It’s over. It’s sealed forever. Now it’s time for me to go to my final resting place. It’s sad, but that’s life, or death, as the case may be.
I’m loaded in by the pallbearers, led by my brother-in-law. God, I must be heavy. It would be funny if they dropped me. Would be a perfect representation of my life. It might’ve lightened the mood a little. Aw, man. I went in smoothly. No last joke at my expense.
We go to the cemetery where my mom is buried. I have the spot next to her. I wonder how much that cost and who paid for it. Possibly my dad was guilted into it. Good, he shoulda spent some money on me. My casket is put on the rack above the hole in the ground, and my family sit in the chairs by the gravesite. Some words are said, some flowers are given out, more tears are shed, and that’s it. After a few random hugs and tears, and some random small talk, everyone walks away.
The cars start up, and soon the only sounds in the graveyard are of the workmen responsible for interring me. I’m lowered into the ground, my casket hitting bottom with a little “thunk”. It’s pretty solid, so that’s good. It was worth every penny. A nice resting place.
And the digging begins. I’m pretty comfortable. Like I have a choice. But it’s fine. It’s time to sleep. But I can’t because I hear the cacophony of dirt cascading on top of me. A little at first, then more and more. Until it sounds like an avalanche, just like it did when they buried Uma Thurman alive in Kill Bill Volume 2. So much dirt. So much of it. It seems to take forever. But suddenly, it stops. I hear what sounds like guys packing the dirt so it’s solid. They comment on their work, and walk away. It’s over. I hear them get into their truck, shut the doors, and they’re gone. A stillness fills the air.
I get used to my new home. It’s not bad. A nice soft pillow for my head, pix of my cats over my head, and I’m certain no one will disturb me. I’m sealed, and safe. I’m happy. And now all I have to do is sleep, wonderful, peaceful worry-free sleep. I’m at eternal rest.
The best part of all the stuff I don’t have to do anymore. No more going to work, no more worrying about bills, and if I can afford to eat this month. No house payments, no pain throughout my body. No getting up three times a night to pee. No more food allergies. No more stress. No more panic attacks. No more sleepless nights. No more feeling depressed or worrying about fitting in. I’m free! Free, I tell you! Free from this life of torment and pain. Free from responsibilities, both real and imagined. Free from ridicule, looks of condescension, and no more being treated like I’m weird or that people would get ill if they touched me. No more dirty looks, no more crying when people get to me, no more sitting in a therapist’s office trying to figure out what’s wrong with me, no more having to get up knowing my day is gonna suck, rinse, repeat. I don’t have to please anybody any more. All my time is for me. Just like Burgess Meredith in that Twilight Zone episode. I have all the time in the world.
All the rage is gone, or it will be. Hang on a second,…YAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! I’m finally letting go. You can’t hurt me now. You can’t tell me what to do. Find someone else to torment. I’m bullet proof. Whew! What a relief I don’t have to carry that crap around anymore.
I don’t have to be that perfect little boy any more. You know, the smart kid, the idol of adults, the scourge of the other children. I swear, some people never let me grow up. They always treated me like I was six years old. And I hated it! I’m not that little kid any more people! Mainly cause I’m dead.
As I lay here, I realize that it doesn’t matter what the weather’s like, what the price of gasoline is, what is popular, what is acceptable, or who is President. I don’t have to worry about that any more. I don’t have to worry about anything.
And I won’t have to overdose on Aleve to get me through the day. Don’t have to worry if I get enough sleep to keep me going through the next day. Don’t have to clean my house, or my toilet, or worry about what I’m having for dinner.
And I don’t have to think about sex! I swear, that physiological urge hits us all, no matter if we like it or not. Just think of what we could accomplish if we could just stop thinking about sex for a while. If we took a vow of chastity for a year, we could move mountains, we could write books, we could save the world. If we just stopped worrying about getting off or finding someone to get off to, we could stop all the crap in the world! So I won’t be cursed anymore with those urges. Good!
The service was a while ago. Don’t know how long exactly. It doesn’t matter. I’m comfortable and safe and sound, and I will be decomposing shortly. What do I feel now? RELIEF!!! If I could still breathe, I would be exhaling deeply. All I asked for in life was a little relief. And I never got it. I had to die to get it. Now, I’ve got it and it feels good. It feels right. Wish I didn’t have to die to get it, but I did.
I think about what I’ll miss about life. There are the big things, but also the little things. Like how a bathroom stays warm for about 20-30 minutes after a good, hot shower. The taste of a really good cheeseburger. My mom’s lasagna. The playfulness of kittens, chasing each other and having a good time. Air guitaring to AC/DC. Cheesecake. The smile on my mom’s face when I gave her Christmas presents, or her smile, period. God, I miss her. Dr. Pepper. Rain on your roof when you’re ready to go to sleep. Pretty ladies in the spring kicking off the shoes in the park. Laughter. Monty Python, Benny Hill, Red Green, Kevin Smith movies. Buster Keaton films, what a genius he was. The feel of a warm blanket on a cold night. Watching the snow fall when you have nowhere you have to be the next day and don’t have to drive in it. My cats. Bunny rabbits in your yard, crinkling their noses as they sit, still as statues, until they suddenly hop away. Little squirrels scurrying about on the search for something to eat.
Tulips in many different colors. The ducks at the duck pond, acting like they own the place. Ice cream. Peanut butter candy. Doritos. A good wrestling match. A good ball game. Sitting in silence, just listening to the quiet.
It’s quiet here right now. Very quiet. The occasional breeze blows by, but it’s very still here. Some people are on the other side of the cemetery, visiting their loved ones. Death brings us all together. It’s a shame that that’s what it takes to reunite us all, but it does. What a pity.
What won’t I miss? The rat race, the quest for perfection, trying to be the best, or feeling you have to be perfect all the time. Anxiety. Working at a job I don’t feel uses me to the best of my ability. Feeling depressed all of the time. People who can’t drive. Turn signals work, ya know!!! Bills. An unexpected car problem. Not being able to walk without a limp. Getting winded easily. Dealing with assholes. Losing my focus. Waking up to an alarm. Getting up three times a night to go to the bathroom. Constant stomach aches and headaches. Swallowing problems. Gout. Constant heartburn. Not being able to breathe normally. The heaviness in my heart and the pain in my neck. The arthritis in my hands. People yelling and making too much noise. The total disrespect some people have for anyone. Teenage mothers with three babies and three babies’ daddies, none of whom take care of their kids. Crackheads. People who just take, take, take, and never give anything back. Bullies, the scourges of society. The new anti-bullying programs sound nice and all, but it ain’t gonna get rid of them. There will always be bullies. They ruined my life. Hope I see ‘em in Hell, being tortured for what they have done.
Um, I’m pretty sleepy. I feel lightheaded. I guess it’s almost time for me to sleep forever. Once I get all the negative stuff out of me. I can finally rest. Don’t know if my soul will go anywhere. You know what they say, “Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to do what it takes to get there.” I hope I see mom just once in eternity. To give here a hug and thank her for all she ever did for me. And to cry a little.
Ooooh, boy. My head really feels heavy. I guess the sandman has visited me in my grave. Can hardly hold on. Well, for those of you out there, keep plugging away and don’t let anyone piss on your dreams, like they did to me. You only get one life. So make the most of it, no matter how much people ridicule you and tell you you’re hopeless and never will amount to anything. But as for me, it’s over.