Creative Writing

Published on July 19th, 2014 | by Nature Humphries

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“The Pale Man’s Funeral” by Casey Spradling

After a long and distinguished life serving his country, Leonard grew tired of this and settled in a little town called Scooter, Alabama, in the former British colony of the United States of America.  He died there, and we shall now drop into a conversation between two of Leonard’s friends, Clarence McWombat and Malchezidek Stools, at the funeral. 

“A big, hearty, manly-feeling bowel movement.  That’s all I ask for.  One of those dumps you can really be proud of.  The one you want to frame and hang on the wall.  This old mess I’ve been passing lately is more like chicken shit.  It’s runny and yellow,” explained Clarence. Michael Ikeda-Chandler artwork

“I know what you mean.  I’ve had Metamucil and green persimmons for breakfast every morning for a month, and I still feel like I’d give you my thumbs for a good case of diarrhea,” replied Malchezidek.  “So what’s been going on with that business project you had going on in Birmingham?”

“We called it the Abe Lincoln Hand Job.  We dressed up like Abe Lincoln and gave people hand jobs for five dollars.  I had a guy at the Greyhound station, one down at the farmer’s market, and one in the entrance to the emergency room.  Turns out our research was flawed.  Nobody likes having a craggy-looking dead president rubbing their dick.  Maybe if we did Bill Clinton.  He looks less threatening and a little softer.  Not like Leonard.”

“Yeah, it kind of makes you think.  What do we know?  We’ve put a man on the moon.  We’ve cured diseases like polio and constipation, wait.  They haven’t cured that yet.  You know, I’d give a gold gorilla for a decent bowel movement.”

“Yeah.  Leonard never had trouble in the bathroom.  He was too high on life to ever get constipated.  Mankind has invented all kinds of great things, but they can’t make you live forever.  They’ve invented things like cars and airplanes and mashed potatoes that come in a box that looks kind of like coffee creamer.  I bet that’s why this coffee tastes funny.  Why does the funeral home keep instant mashed potatoes with the coffee creamer?”

“I don’t know.  I liked to have choked to death the other day when I thought I was putting an equal packet in my coffee, but I actually was dropping a condom in it.  Why do they put equal and condoms in such similar packages?”

“Sort of odd.  A thing designed to prevent the creation of life could take the life of an old man like me or you.  Makes you realize how fragile life is doesn’t it?  Look at Leonard.  Doesn’t he look a little red?”

“He does.  It’s sickening the job these funeral home butchers do on a dead man.  They just covered his face with cheap rouge when we all know he was pale as polar bear’s ass.”

“I’m ashamed to look at him!  Look at that funeral director!  When I was a kid, they wore black suits, and this guy is wearing a Hawaiian shirt.  He’s eating a snow-cone.  Wait, no!  That’s a Margarita!  The fucker’s drunk!  That’s it!  I’m taking action!”  Clarence leaped to his feet and paced to the front of the funeral home.

“Look at him!  He looks like a giant red worm!  I’ve got katobi worms eating my tomatoes and tomato worms eating my corn and my dead friend looks like a giant red worm! What’s next?  Maya Angelou sitting in my fucking bathtub reading me poetry while I’m taking a dump? Here!”  Clarence took out a pocket knife and stabbed some holes in the lid of the casket.  “Probably needs some air holes doesn’t he!  Wait!  No, that’s a frog in a shoe box, but I bet an idiot like you couldn’t tell the difference!

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The Local Voice #103 (April 1 – 15, 2010) story by Casey Spradling illustration by Michael Ikeda-Chandler

“Oh, shut up you old fool!” said the funeral director as he threw his tropical drink on Clarence followed by several blows from his fists.

“Hey, it’s not nice to beat up an old man!”  Malchezidek smacked the funeral director across the head with a metal folding chair and knocked him out.  “Don’t adjust your television sets, funeral-goers.  We’ve temporarily taken control of this funeral.  We need music!”  Malchezidek jumped behind the organ and began to play.

The pallbearers and most of the mourners were dancing around Malchezidek’s organ.  Then, they picked up the casket and danced out the door in a procession somewhat like a New Orleans-style jazz funeral. 

“Hey, Mal.  Good set, man.  Let’s go get some good coffee that doesn’t have potatoes or condoms in it.”

After that Malchezidek and Clarence went off to find a coffee shop somewhere, and sit around all morning like old men in small towns generally do. The Local Voice Ligature

 

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This story originally appeared in The Local Voice #103, published April 1, 2010.
Click here to download the PDF of The Local Voice #103.

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About the Author

Nature Humphries is Editor-in-Chief of The Local Voice. Nature is originally from Vicksburg, Mississippi, but moved to Oxford in 2004 after spending time in the United States Navy. She has also worked in the restaurant industry for many years as a server and a bartender. Nature graduated from Ole Miss in 2007 with a degree in English and Modern Languages.



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