Sunday, February 26, 2012

84. Preparations

C.W. procured a cell phone so he now warns me in advance of a visit. Not always─he still surprises me on occasion like when he sidled up to me last week in a supermarket shaped as Mick Jagger.

Don’t ask.

This time, though, I felt grateful. The Lunacy Level Meter in the country has soared lately, so when he called and said, “We must talk. There isn’t much time,” I was eager to see him.

He arrived in his sincere businessperson’s shape, complete with dark blue suit. I couldn’t help but notice, however, his scuffed brown shoes. I started to comment on them when he shook my hand energetically and said, “I’ve something very important to talk about with you.”

We sat, and while he composed his thoughts, I imagined all sorts of impending world calamities, from errant asteroids to nuclear conflagrations in the Middle East. Then he spoke.

“You know you are getting on in years and will die someday before too long.”

The news hit me like a hot flash.

“What?” I said.

“Have you thought about your final preparations?”

He mistook my shock for an answer.

“I thought so. I may be just in time.”

“C.W.,” I began. “What the he …”

“I am with ‘Peace in the Valley Preparations,’ the last word in funeral arrangements,” he said.

“Oh Jesus,” I said.

“Yes, my friend,” he said. “Be of comfort. We offer a full range of services, beginning with infusing your body, upon entering eternal rest, with chemicals so that people can look at you for several days and you won’t stink.”

“C.W., C.W,” I couldn’t think of anything to say. He continued.

“Then we coat you with cosmetics so real you look like you might just jump up at any minute and yell ‘Let’s have another round!’”

I could hear the theme from “The Twilight Zone” in my head. Or was it a banjo?

“Next we offer a wide range of interment options. This week we have our ‘American Idol’ package,” he stopped and smiled. “My personal favorite is ‘Elvis Forever’. It includes the full costume, cape, belt, buckle, and all.”

“Stop, stop,” I yelled. “Will you tell me what’s going on?”

He looked hurt, and he is good at that.

“Just trying to earn a living,” he said. “I saw an ad, and I am a good customer procurement man.”

“You mean salesman?”

“That’s what I said,” he replied, then, ignoring me, he looked into space. “Just trying to earn a little extra money while I am stuck here.”

“Selling funeral arrangements?”

“If that’s the way you want to put it, yes. I prefer to call it peaceful transition planning.”

“Well, you can forget me,” I said. “I intend to leave my body to the medical center.”

“Medical center?” he said. “What for?”

I don't know why Big Dope got so agitated.
The Elvis package was perfect for him. - C.W.
“So they can study it, teach with it.”

He cocked his head to one side. “I see,” he said. “But wouldn’t they want a more typical example.”

“Out!” I said.

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