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Flash Friday 28/03/2014: The Funeral Pier

March 28, 2014

“Good afternoon,” the man by the pier said. He looked like a potato sack had dressed him. “Do you feel like dying soon?”

“Not really.” Vince frowned. “It’s not really a life goal of mine, to be honest.”

“Know anyone who fancies it? Because if you do, then I can be of great service to you. See, I run a company that specialises in funeral piers.”

“Pyres. You mean ‘funeral pyres’.”

“Nope. See?” The man pointed over his shoulder with a thumb. At the end of the pier, rows of occupied chairs sat, a crowd of black looking forlorn over a coffin at the very end. “Funeral pier. Said it right the first time.”

“A pier?” Vince watched to see if anything would happen. Nothing did. “Why on earth do you have a funeral pier?”

“Because it’s good for the environment, see? I mean, you have burials, right? Sticking people in the floor and all that. Terrible. Then you have cremations. Sure, you don’t have much left over, but there’s all them gases, aren’t there? And they go make a hole in the Ozone layer. Very selfish of them.”

“And your style is better?”

“Of course it is! Stick ’em in the ocean, that’s what I say. It’s like them Viking burials, except none of that fire stuff that makes those gases we just talked about. You say your goodbyes, see them for the last time, get all that out the way. Then, we put them over the pier. Splash. Blub. Done. It’s like taking the kids to the pool, except everyone’s hoping they don’t come back up from the water again.”

Vince looked into the ocean. “So you just pile them up under the sea?”

“You say that as if it’s a bad thing.”

“Well, it’s technically littering.”

“Littering? Littering is when you throw something in the street or leave a burnt out car in a field. Here, nobody’s gonna find these coffins. It’s not like you stub your toe on the hull of a sunken battleship in your day-to-day life. Besides, all this stuff is biodegradable.”

Vince nursed his sore head. “I don’t think it is.”

“‘Course it is. Saw a documentary once where all these little creatures were stripping a whale to the bone. Amazing stuff, nature. I’m sure there’s some kind of plankton that eats wood. So there’s that, as well.”

“And the bones?”

“Sharks, innit? They’re like the dogs of the sea. Going around, hunting smaller animals, roaming in packs and burying bones and the like. All the parts of a sea burial get used, and none of that environmental footprint nonsense, either. Or the ghosts.”

“Right. Wait. What?”

“The ghosts. Bury you in a field and you’ll spook the graveyard. Put you in an urn and you might pop out. You know how much water pressure is down there? Anything that the Ghostbusters should know about can’t make their way back up here. Stuck down there to make friends with the sponges. Can’t spook them. Sponges are hard, like that.”

“I think I’ve heard enough about pier burials. These sound way too far-fetched.”

“Well, you can always watch the one that’s going on now. Got a very nice burial at the moment. Poor grandpa popped his clogs, had a love for the sea and the like. So they thought this would be fitting.”

Vince watched the proceeds — or, rather, the lack thereof. “They haven’t done anything since we started talking.”

“That’s because they’re waiting, see?”

“Waiting for what?”

“High tide.”

Vince rolled his eyes. “Of course. Well, I’ll be back later then. I think.”

“Will you? Very well. Like I said, if you feel particularly ill, or you think one of your friends is about to get murdered or something, just let me know and we can take care of the rest for a competitive price. You can see all our quotes on our brochure.”

Vince was about to decline any offerings of a brochure for this business, but before he could open his mouth, he had a colourful-looking pamphlet shoved into his hands. The WordArt-created blue font read ‘Water Way to Go! Go Further Than Six Feet Under’ and went into worrying detail as to how and why people get buried in the sea. There was the default coffin option, as well as a luxury ‘send-off’ option where the coffin was laid on a raft and sent out until it inevitably fell into the sea later on down the line. The ‘ecomony plan’ was, worryingly enough, just a pair of boots in concrete.

“I’ll keep this in mind,” Vince lied, pocketing the leaflet. “Best of luck in your business.”

“See you, then. I’d give you a wave, but…” the man pointed out to sea. “There’s plenty of them over there!”

Vince gave a forced chuckle as he walked away from the pier. He would not be eating any fish from the local area any time soon.

From → Flash Friday

  1. LOL, you’ve done it again. Great concept.

  2. ganymeder permalink

    >> or you think one of your friends is about to get murdered or something, just let me know and we can take care of the rest for a competitive price.<<

    Yup, nothing FISHY about that at all! *rimshot*

    Sorry, I couldn't help myself. I very much enjoyed this!

  3. I liked this one! The last line about not eating any local fish made me laugh a lot.

  4. “It’s like taking the kids to the pool, except everyone’s hoping they don’t come back up from the water again.”

    I’m so glad I wasn’t drinking anything when I read that line. 😛

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