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Flash Friday 15/02/2012: Dead Man Talking

February 17, 2013

A funeral means nothing to those who do not know the deceased. While sympathies can be given, only someone who know the recently-passed will understand what the death means, how much worse the world has become now that the deceased has shuffled off of the mortal coil.

While the priest went through the lines, he was merely going through procedure; he was doing what he was meant to do. He had no attachment to the person who laid in the coffin.

The deceased’s lover was there, the tears streaming down her face spoiling the hard work she put into making herself look reputable. She missed him so, but not even she could understand the true weight of the man’s death.

There was one person in the crowd, however, that shouldered the burden of the passing far more than any one of the crowd that turned up.

His name was Barry.

Barry was laying down, his eyes shut as the proceedings went on. His mind was empty, devoid of all thought. In fact,  it was so devoid of thought, that it seemed that he wasn’t thinking at all. Not a single brainwave was to be had within his head. It was so bad, it resembled someone who wasn’t conscious at all.

Hold on. I think I’ve made an error somewhere.

Barry looked to his right, to try to figure out where he was. When his head refused to move, a realisation dawned. His head wasn’t moving, not because he was stubborn to the chords of fate. Not because he was unable, either. Purely because he was dead, and dead people don’t move very often.

My suspicions are correct. I’ve gone and attached the POV to the wrong man.

Look, it was difficult. The father is called Larry, and he was asking for trouble the moment he named the child. How was I to keep a level head over such a horrific naming convention?

Well, far too late now. Do you know how much a POV change costs these days? If the others catch wind that I’ve only gone and attached the main character role to someone who’s already copped it, my career prospects as a narrator in a high-end fantasy novel will be shot.

Sod it. Let’s wing it.

“We are gathered here today,” the priest said, making sure that his funeral fit what he saw in the movies. “To commemorate the death of Barry Jones.” Of course, Barry would be elated to hear that people actually turned up to commemorate anything he did. Unfortunately, his ears bit the bullet a few days ago.

The sun was shining down on the proceeds, warming the earth like a blanket of compassion over the mourning group. It was a beautiful day to remember the life of a man, all of which was utterly wasted on the man himself, who chose to be selfish and lie in a coffin when it’s so sunny outside.

“He was such a good man to me,” Barry’s girlfriend said. “He was loving, caring, and never let me cry alone. He was on the end of a phone when I needed him, and his hand was always stretched out towards me to pick me up when I fell down.” It was a speech that would melt any heart that witnessed it. Unfortunately for Barry, myocardial infarction had got there first.

“Truer words were never spoken,” Larry said, still not feeling like a bloody idiot for getting me into this mess. “I’m sure if Barry were alive today, he would have something to say to all of us, something to keep us going during our darker days.” Surprisingly, to this, Barry chose to say nothing.

Flashbacks entered Barry’s mind. He could see back when he was a child, his selfish and snotty past-self bullying the kids he played with (in both senses of the phrase). He saw his life in school, walking through the gates  utterly fearless and unfazed about the rumours of the school bully. Partially because he hadn’t heard of the rumours yet, but mainly because he was the school bully. His life in business didn’t give him the change everyone would have liked him to have, the sheer number of horror stories about what happened to people’s cubicles when they left them unattended for more than five minutes able to fill a horror-themed anthology. In fact, they did, and was rejected several times on the grounds that they were unrealistic, far too brutal, and had the editor cowering under his desk with a rifle.

All of the past experience slammed into one another in an instant, creating a shining ball of past trespasses and sins. It floated in his mind, a constant reminder of all the bad he had given to the world, a demand that he looked back on how he live his life and regret everything that he had done to his fellow man.

Then Barry realised he was being far too imaginative for someone who’s already dead, and went back to lying about while everyone else did all the hard work.

“With these final memories,” the priest said, probably eager to get home for his dinner, “we commit Barry to the grave, where nature will take its proper course.”

This was Barry’s big moment. The part where he’s placed down within his own grave. He made the whole affair look dead easy. In fact, he made being dead look easy. As he was committed to the grave, his onlookers watched his descent into the earth, forever entombed within the soil.

The rest of Barry’s history could fill a story the size of an epic, but it’s mostly filler with the only good bits being when the worms finally get to him. For now though, I’ve done my job well enough, and going to reward myself with a nice pint and put my feet up by the fire.

Don’t get paid half as much as I should for this bollocks.

997 words

http://www.fmwriters.com/zoomfm/index.php/outside-links/5-friday-flash-fiction

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