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The scent of tulips wafted out the door as I walked in, after signing the guest book outside. My friends asked me to meet them here. “Of all the goddam places,” I complained.

“…when I first heard our dear friend here had passed,” continued some guy up front giving a eulogy…

Strangely, the room was full of colourful balloons! I notice a huge, skull-shaped inflatable adorned the front wall. It felt more like a party as I was offered a glass of champagne from a tray.

“…it brought a smile to my face,” the guy went on, grinning wildly. “I have to prepare a celebration! And this,” he gestured, “ladies and gentlemen, is the culmination!”

Quite inappropriate, I thought. The celebration, not the word. “Culmination” perhaps, reflects all sentiments. But I would have preferred “apotheosis.”

Applause and cheers followed as he took a bow, beckoning to the next in line. Yes, there was a line of people, dying to diss the dearly departed. If only I knew who it was, I might offer better words of my own.

A svelte female with curly locks and a creative demeanour is now up front and centre. Not many people can pull off an all-white ensemble, her embroidered jacket screaming Desigual. “I wrote a short poem,” she faked a sniffle followed by a wink. The room roared with laughter. I rolled my eyes.

She began:

“Kiss your life goodbye,

the sweetness, the sorrow. Not!

We bid adieu to you, our sweet;

with spit, saliva, and snot!”

Scanning the crowd for a familiar face amidst the laughter and applause, I could not chance upon anyone looking in my direction. They were all entranced, or perhaps, entertained, by this poet.

She continued:

“Friends, pals, everyone -

it’s all been charming.

I just wish I was there

to watch our friend dying.

In his passing

we are truly overjoyed.

His existence filled

absolutely no void.

We’re not happy

about the life you’ve led.

We’re just happy

now that you’re dead.”

“Never have I heard a eulogy like this, but I could have done better,” I thought. I catch someone giving me the evil eye. “Excuse me,” I demanded, as the crowd grew larger and more rowdy, seeking refuge in a spot by the bar.

“Happy Death Day to you!

Let’s raise our glasses, everyone!

May you suffer all eternity…

with no one keeping you company,

plus an audience of none.”

She bowed and was immediately followed by several more, sharing the same sentiment. Their disgust for this corpse is quite self-evident.

“Who in god’s name could this be?,” I whispered loudly to myself, inching closer through the massless bodies stacked shoulder to shoulder.

I finally got a glimpse of the casket. The silken interior was blinding white, almost glowing in the bright light. There were no pictures, no flowers, no ribbons. It was empty. The casket – it was empty.

Then I heard a loud crack. My body felt wet and numb at the same time, as I slumped to the floor like a rag doll. My broken position reminded me of those chalk drawings that outlined bodies in TV cop shows.

The lights grew dimmer, as the cheers and applause grew louder. “Apotheosis,” I thought. Then slowly, everything faded to black, then silence.

</donvy>

Copyright © 2019

Donato R. Vytiaco

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