It should always rain for funerals. Bobby rode his bike to the cemetery. I bet I’m the only kid there. The plot had been dug at the far edge, nearly into the woods that surrounded the lonely graveyard. She probably likes being separated from the others. At least a dozen folks gathered around the hole; the casket, stained dark mahogany, sat on 2x4s above the moldy pit. I bet I’m the only one who remembers her favorite color.
As the priest spread his Bible—an index card, printed with few words, marking the spot—the sun broke through the clouds and glorious light cast down upon the gathering. This doesn’t feel like a sad moment. Bobby shaded his eyes and looked about, broad smiles spread on everyone’s face. They must be glad the rain has stopped.
The priest read a passage and then held the card up and recited a eulogy that she’d written herself. This is why I’m here. Before he could reach the end, however, he coughed. Did that sound like a laugh? He finished the reading but not before two others, standing opposite the grave, choked out a strange sound. They must be feeling her lost like I am.
“I can’t help it,” spoke out a man wearing a mustard-colored turtleneck beneath his suit jacket. He began to laugh hysterically. “Ding, dong,” he started.
Why is he saying that? A woman, wearing owl-like sunglasses, joined the man. “Ding, dong,” they sang.
They never understood you, did they? Soon, all who had stood, somber around her coffin, were singing. Is this the right place? Is this the right grave? In ones and twos they started skipping around the grave, their manic voices lifting into the sunlight.
“Ding, dong, the witch is dead.”
Your favorite color is black. You love mushrooms and tall castles and fire. You hate flowers, little people and water. I remember. I remember. I’ll never forget you.
Her father lowered her into the race car’s driver seat. “Get the linkages nice and tight, honey.”
Debora entwined her fingers, stretching her fireproof gloves and then spun the ferrules at the base of each of her truncated thighs, connecting the gas and break pedal rods directly to her body. “Check.”
“You downloaded the latest vision module?”
“Check.” Debora’s sight had been taken during the same accident that had lopped off her legs, punctured her lungs, burned the skin off her back and seared her scalp. “I’ve got full, three-sixty scan-o-rama vision.”
“Be serious, Deb. If you don’t finish this race intact, this’ll be your last one.”
“No biggie, Daddy-o. You know this is how I shake off the nerves.”
“Show me you can reach the ejection lever.”
“Dad, I can reach it.”
With both arms, Debora reached back over her head to grasp the bike-grips that would trigger a disconnect of her linkages and the ballistic launch of her entire seat-assembly from the vehicle, simultaneously inflating twenty-four canvas balloons that would cushion her impact.
“See. I’m kinda hoping I get to use it.”
“Funny. Focus on the road and your left front corner.”
“I know the drill, dad. Now, blow me a kiss and get out of my way.”
“That was the last beer.”
“There’s still whiskey left.”
“You finished that last night.”
“I know I saw a couple of unopened wine bottles.”
“You filled those with urine and pushed the corks back in.”
“What about those little airplane vodka bottles, there were like a dozen of those.”
“The empties are strung as a necklace around your neck.”
“Oh, these? Right. They make such joyful sounds when they click together. What about the edibles?”
“The mayonnaise jar full of Oxy?”
“The lid of…”
“Smoked to a cinder.”
“The half ounce of smack?”
“Coursing through your veins as we speak.”
“Are you saying this is the last, the last and final, absolutely, solitary last beer?”
“Do you want a sip?”
“Yeah.” Takes a good long swallow.
“Are there any chips left?”
“I just ate the last bag.”