Sunday, May 20, 2012

97. Obituaries

C.W. looked so proud as he handed me the card. It read, “Awesome Obits Inc.” and included a slogan: “Don’t let your Dear Departed stink in print” followed by contact information.

“What do you think?” he asked.

I just looked at him, fixed up in a beige sport coat, pink silk shirt, blue and red bowtie, chinos, and what I suppose were Gucchis. He looked like a stockbroker on steroids.

“Is this some kind of joke?” I asked.

“Joke, hell,” he frowned and grabbed the card from my hand. “This could be my true calling.”

“Which is?”

“Writing obituaries for distraught families, you know,” he smiled. “The kind your species prints in the newspapers.”

“Would you like a martini?” I asked. “I think I need one.”

“No time,” he said. “Got to deliver product.”


“Sure,” he said. “The orders are coming in faster than I can write them.” He produced some folded sheets of paper from his coat pocket. “Want to hear some?”

I began to consider the question, but he interrupted.

“Listen.” He unfolded a sheet and began to read.

“Politicians should pay attention. There is going to be a real filibuster at the Primitive Believers Baptist Church on Monday as the congregation gathers to win our departed brother, John, “Quickstep” Martin his angel’s wings.” He stopped and looked at me.

I looked back.

“Pretty fine, eh?” he said, handing me another.

Stunned, I glanced at it.

“With a hearty ‘Hi-Ho Silver’ and ‘This should work,’ Bobby Ray ‘Duster Man’ Coogan departed this life Tuesday to be enshrined forever in the National Repository of Aeronautical Statistics. Memorial services will be held at Johnson’s Cotton Gin on Highway 21. BYOB.”

Another followed.

“Those wishing to confirm the demise of Eloise ‘No Bid’ Congleton should plan to attend a brief service at Runyan’s Funeral Home on Friday at 2:00 p.m. Prospective attendees should arrive early as a sizeable crowd is expected for that purpose, a fact which undoubtedly would have caused Eloise to utter her favorite observation, ‘bunch of morons.’”

Then another.

“There will be a new ‘kicker’ in the Celestial Line Dance tonight as our dear sister Margauritte Simpson dons the last new pair of hip-huggers she will ever need. Known to her adult friends as “Whupper” and her high school classmates as ‘C-Cup,’ she will forever be remembered by the Bad Bob’s Cowboy Dance Hall regulars as the one who introduced the ‘bottom roll’ into boot-scootin.’ St. Peter, you’d better have your ‘Tony Llamas on and your jeans pressed tight’ tonight cause the Holy City is going to be busty.”

“Busty?” I said.

“Let me see that,” he said, grabbing the sheet and examining it. “That should read ‘busy.’ I’m still editing some of these.” He scribbled a note.

Big Dope didn’t even want me
to include a photo of Margauritte’s
favorite outfit. - C.W.

“Do you really think the paper will print this stuff?”

“Sure,” he said. “Look at this one.”

I moved it into the light.

“Seventy-two alter boys, all shiny in their starched white robes, were lined up at the Pearly Gates as Fa…” I stopped.

“C.W.,” I yelled.

“What?” he said.


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