by Mark Ulyseas
From The Seductive Avatars of Maya – Anthology of Dystopian Lives – book available HERE
Faith telephoned. Now the writer hurries on his way to Joe’s. It is a hot afternoon.
When he walks in Maria, Joe’s wife, is crying. Laid out on the bar is Joe. Still. The priest, doctor and a few other people stand around.
“Thank you for coming,” says Maria as she gives the writer a hug, “Joe crossed over a short while ago. He just dropped dead! What am I going to do?”
He is quiet. Looking into her eyes he sees a woman relieved of the stress of having lived with Joe, being kicked and loved.
Faith walks up to them and gently guides Maria to a chair and then begins pouring drinks for everyone. The bar reverberates with the sound of life pulsating outside the grimy window panes.
The priest, a young man just out of seminary appears to be in control of the situation, making telephone calls and arranging the funeral scheduled for the following day.
“I have spoken to the police,” says the doctor to him, “No post-mortem. His body is riddled with disease. He was dying. He never told Maria or you.”
Silence envelopes the place as people take refuge in their drinks.
Faith reaches out and holds his hand.
“Do I leave this place after the funeral?” she asks him.
“No, Maria will need a helping hand. I will continue to pay for your room, no worries. Why don’t you help in the cooking, cleaning etc.?” he asks hesitantly.
“Yes, I will be glad to.”
The following day the funeral goes as planned, except for a madman who lurks among the grave stones waving to a large tree nearby and singing Auld Lang Syne.
Back at Joe’s the place is filling up with the unseen and overlooked of humanity. A congregation that is moaning life in general and not necessarily the absence of Joe. Some have come for the free drinks.
The writer is sitting in his usual place staring at the green fairy. The many years that he has known Joe now appear like ripples on the surface of his drink.
Faith walks over and embraces him. “I am sorry you have lost a friend’, she says.
He doesn’t reply. Death is not new to him. Nor is life. Everything and everyone are constantly churning in the great cauldron…sautéed souls marinating in their own refuse. Many are consumed by their own self-importance, whilst others have reconciled to a fate where eternity rests not in life but in death.
Living in the moment, for him, is all there is.
The rest, as Joe would say, is la petite mort.
© Mark Ulyseas
July 06, 2015