Flash Friday 15/03/2013: Your Funeral
Jim had a history of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Queueing to deposit money during a bank robbery, eating at the zoo café while a tiger performed the final step of its grand escape, and doing a half-year of study at the wrong University filled his resume of unfortunate occurrences.
Being a part of his own funeral was up there at the top, given that he hadn’t died yet.
Listening through the wooden case, he was certain it was his own. The priest already spoke his name a few times by now, saying something about ‘peacefully passing away in the night’. As far as Jim could recall, he drank too much the night before; worthy of a headache for sure, but definitely not death. If drinking two bottles of wine and a few shots of rum killed a man, he would have done total overkill on his 18th birthday.
Regardless, he had to stop the procedures. Giving a hefty rap on the coffin lid, the priest’s voice stopped mid-sentence. After nothing happened, Jim knocked once more. “Excuse me? I believe there’s been a tragic error.”
The sudden burst of light that struck Jim’s eyes caused him to squint. Looking through his hands, he could see that the cover had been removed. Holding the lid open, a priest came into view, with the same expression Jim once saw when he last used his phone during a film.
“Do you mind?” The priest’s fatherly voice stepped aside for a more annoyed tone. “We’re trying to have a funeral here. Can’t you respect your own memory?”
“Well, I’m awfully sorry to interrupt, but–”
A shrill woman’s voice spoke from outside of his field of vision. It had to be his mother. “Don’t listen to him,” she said. “He always says that, but he never means it. Jim, get back to being dead right this instant.”
“But mum, I–”
“No buts. Do you realise how much this funeral cost? It was hard enough to hand over the money so we can remember the huge amount of nothing you managed to achieve in your life, and you go and ruin that, too.”
“But there’s a slight flaw with your funeral. Er, my funeral.”
The priest stared at him. “Whatever might that be?”
“Well, I’m not exactly dead yet. See?” Jim waved both of his hands. “Still kicking and ticking.”
“You decided to interrupt the funeral proceeding to tell us that? Well, look at me.” The priest spoke in a mocking tone as he waved back with his own free hand. “I’m all alive and well too. Doesn’t mean I barge into funerals boasting about how I still have to eat a hot meal every night.”
“That’s not the point, I–”
His mother’s frustrated screech interrupted his last chance of redemption. “Oh, just bury him already. I know my son as well as I do my own right hand, and I’ll be damned if he wasn’t doing one of his tricksey arguments that he learnt in school. Just put the lid down and shut him up.”
“But mum, I–”
“Will you shut up?” A furious red face appeared at the bottom of the opening. “I was so happy to see that my failure of three sons had finally met his match, and now you’ve gone ahead and ruined the best I’ve felt in a long time. Lie down, put both your hands on your chest, and die for me.”
“Lie down!” A finger raised up to jab in Jim’s direction. “Hands on chest! Die! Now!”
“…yes, mum.” Jim laid back against the hard wood.
“Good. Now close the lid, priest. My day’s been soured enough already.” Jim listened to the sounds of the funeral-goers placing themselves back at their seats. The priest cleared his throat and began the proceeds from the start
Being a part of his own funeral was definitely right there at the top.