The Living Funeral

 madbutchersentence002

  • Well then, are you coming to my funeral?
  • When is it? Again?
  • The 13th! Everything is ready. I’m just missing the final details.
  • But you will still be alive…
  • Of course, of course… or at least I hope so! In any case, I will be there.
  • Well, you are right, after all! Ecclesiastical?
  • What?
  • No, I say… the funeral, is in the church?
  • Don’t you know me? Of course not! Never!
  • What do I know? …You know a lot of people convert in their deathbed.
  • But I will not die!
  • All right, I understand, but you may not be one of those who only want to make a pathetic farce, right? It will take a bit of realism!
  • Ah, yes, of course!
  • And then you have to be honest with yourself, and put yourself in the situation very carefully, to see if you would convert “in extremis”… But you have to be honest, though!
  • Oh, no, no! Honestly! I would not convert, I am sure!
  • Sure? Sure, sure?
  • Sure! Trust me!
  • Okay then! What time?
  • 5PM
  • The 13th, at 5PM. Well! I’ll be there! You too, I guess…
  • Of course! What should be purpose of all this otherwise?
  • Well, there are also people who cannot resist watching their own funeral, and they do not take part in it…
  • And what’s the point, then?
  • Then watch the video later…
  • No, no! I want to be there! Oh, yes! I want to see “live” those who weep and those who do not, who makes jokes, who laughs, who grins… who is missing… ah, ah! I will hide out at one side of the room, dressed in black. You have to act as if I was not there; watch the coffin instead!
  • Is it a nice coffin?
  • Ah, yes! You have to see it! It is a splendor! Ebony and silver!
  • Wow!
  • Well I went all out this time, and do you know why?
  • ?
  • Because unless you are fickle like a Hollywood star, you are supposed to organize just one funeral in your life. And it has to be special! It is not like a simple marriage!
  • Yes, it was thought to be like this originally… but you know in certain “circles” full of “first ladies”, they change their minds every five minutes. People like that are constantly searching for confirmation and evidence about still being famous…
  • …They are weak! It is not my case! This will be my only funeral, and it will be a special event! I ordered a coach and six black horses, top hats everywhere, hooded people with axes in procession…
  • Ah, it will be vintage!
  • What?
  • I mean, old-fashioned…
  • Yes, yes, absolutely! I hate the novelties when it comes to serious issues. I also contracted a nice group of deflowered mourners… You know people like to see beautiful women, a bit everywhere. Elegance is needed! By the way, since we’re in theme, please come in black morning dress!
  • I do not have it!
  • And then you will rent one! People only die once!
  • Hey, but… you will not be dead for real!
  • First of all, nobody can be sure! And secondly, if you do not rent it now, it means that when I will be dead for real, you will not rent it either! Okay? Well! I’ll remember this for the future about you…
  • Come on, don’t say that! The chance that you will die in two weeks is very remote. When you will die, I’ll hire an appropriate dress, I swear! But now, abruptly, in just two weeks…
  • Yesss! Sure! You really think I believe that when I will really die you will rent an appropriate dress! Come on! If you do not even rent one now that I can see what you are doing… when I will be gone for real, you know what will happen?
  • No, what?
  • You will do the same that all the rest of people do! You will say: fuck him!
  • Come on!
  • Ah! No, no, my dear! There are studies about all this, worrying studies, let me tell you! And do you know what they say?
  • No, what do they say?
  • They say that seventy percent, se-ven-ty-per-cent of people do the eighty percent, I repeat, eighty percent less than what they do that is beautiful and moving in a living funeral! Here it is, the “decline of condolence”, so it is technically called, this is how big it is!
  • Come on!
  • Ah yes! Everybody acts like they are sorry then and there, the condolence is dominant, they are all serious, they show good manners, but I’ve seen it myself: in the living funeral, they act in one way. I went there on purpose, to get an idea. Then, when the same person is really dead, the same people are laughing, they even make raspberries and funny noises! Yes sir! Yes sir! A complete lack of respect: jokes, giggling.
  • But all these are exaggerations, come on! Do not feel embittered.
  • I do not feel embittered, but you know how people are, and I like to be precise and study situations. I do not leave things to casualty! So I know what will happen, and I know I will have to carefully judge what I’ll see the day of my Living Funeral!
  • Okay, but I will dress in a proper way just once! At your living funeral, or at the one you will have when you will be dead for real! You choose!
  • Vile!
  • I am not vile! I have no money! You know! Leave me a part of the inheritance then! You are paying the mourners! Pay me as well! If you want me to be elegant!
  • What part of my legacy do you want!? After having organized this funeral, I am bled dry! Do you know how much it costs for the ebony and silver coffin? And then you are supposed to burn it for real… since I want to be cremated. And the six black horses, and the mourner girls? Do you think they come to the funeral because you’re beautiful?
  • Bravo! Burn the silver coffin!
  • You know this is an important moment for me!
  • And your true funeral?
  • I do not care, I will not be there to see it!
  • Look! Better to change the argument! The music?
  • Opera, Verdi and Candlemass.
  • Okay! Okay! Great choice! And the obituary?
  • I instructed that friend of mine, the one who is a writer…
  • Ah! Yes, I know who you are talking about… is he good?
  • Yes, but I asked him since I don’t want to offend him… you know how writers are…
  • I Understand! And you invited everyone?
  • Absolutely! They all have to come, everyone must know! The purpose is to verify who loves you!
  • So, there will be your parents also? Do you really want to give them this displeasure?
  • Oh, of course they will be there! God forbid!
  • But they will blind themselves with tears, poor people!
  • I do not care about that! And after all, there is no reason to cry for real… I will not be dead.
  • Ok, but you know what happens then, and that is the reason why ceremonies like yours are set up: with the coffin there, your wax body inside it, much like you, all dressed in black, serious, a gloomy atmosphere is created and it influences and impresses, especially the elderly parents… poor people… how can you do such a thing? You are really bad!
  • Look! Do not bother me! The funeral is supposed to be in all aspects as if I were really dead! It is not a joke!
  • I get it! But there is a limit! Anyway, I tell you that it is considered inappropriate to invite parents and children to your own fake funeral.
  • It is inappropriate in Mediterranean countries, which are milder in these things, but we are Anglo-Saxons and more gothic and dark than them. So I will do all that is supposed to be done, and I will enjoy all the crying and each tear. Without parents and older relatives mourning and infecting women with their crying, whose weeping, in turn, infects boyfriends and husbands, do you know what will happen?
  • I have no idea! What will happen?
  • There is a decline of condolence of over eighty-five percent! So it is! In practice?
  • In practice?
  • In practice, nobody cries! And no one forgets, not even for one moment, that I am still living, in the room, and I do not have to be buried. It is necessary to obtain some “suspension from reality” in order for the whole gimmick to function in a proper way!
  • Ok, do as you please! Have you already got the grave?
  • Grave! Antiquated!
  • Tomb?
  • No! Antiquated too!
  • So what now?
  • A columbarium niche! The grave is not trendy anymore, there is no more space in the world!
  • Well! That is absolutely not a novelty, my dear! If you want to be “ecological” there are other foreign solutions nowadays.
  • What?
  • A rotisserie niche!
  • What is That?
  • A new genius Italian invention! A new revolutionary way to rethink the classical cemetery!
  • Is it possible to rethink a cemetery?
  • Of course it is!
  • I do not follow you!
  • Think about it! This will be a good business for the future! This is the future! It started like this: with the spread of the staged ceremonies like yours, people are not really taken by grief. We know it! So when that farce is over, the function ends, nobody’s stomach is tight for real… Well, there is also to be said that usually, condolences or not, as you know, at some point everybody wants to eat, no one likes to starve even being in a cemetery, even if there is a true corpse over there involved… you know that in America, we prepare huge gatherings in honor of the dead, full of stuff to eat, and everyone eats… Well this is not common at all in Italy, they do not celebrate death like us, but even so they want to eat…
  • Please try to come to the point…
  • The point is that in Italy, they started to roast the dead and feed people with that. Once the function is over, of course! Here! Is this not inventive? Practical? The niches, are called now in Italian something that is possible to translate with “small ovens” (fornetto) and they are equipped with roasting coils. The bodies are well prepared, spiced, like a huge spit chicken, impaled from the ass to the mouth, ok? It is perfect, because before the law allows you to bury a body, you always have to wait two days. You have all the time to marinate the meat!
  • But… do you think people would eat human flesh? And moreover, of a beloved one?
  • And why not? With the crisis in Italy, they started, and they are perfectly happy! You know that this is just a cultural bias? Starting would be enough to remove it! Then people will get used to it. Sorry, but, for example, is not Catholicism based on the cannibalism of Christ? And the mafia guys, are they not famous for eating pieces of the corpses of the most hated and killed enemies? And the ancient warriors? Did they not consume the heart of the defeated ones in order to assume their strength? Anthropology shows a bunch of cases like those… I am convinced that soon in the cemeteries, there will be famous and fashionable roasters, and that people would choose this or that cemetery for this reason, the best cook, more than considering who is the chaplain, the antiquity of the place, or some other stupid aesthetic story.
  • Honestly I do not feel attracted by human flesh…
  • For all the cultural prejudices I mentioned! Do you know it has the best taste?
  • What do you know about it?
  • Don’t be stupid! I didn’t try it, I haven’t ever been to Italy! But you’re not the only one who likes to study, and I tell you that after seeing Hannibal Lecter, and having learned that there are tigers called “devourer of men”, who once they tasted human flesh, they cannot stop hunting human beings, despite all the risks that this implies, I am convinced of what I say. And then there are also scientific reasons.
  • I am listening!
  • Only one for all! Human flesh is fatter than all the others, because of evolution! We are squashier than other animals! Just imagine what kind of luxury roasts could be prepared! With all the natural juicy sauce that comes out, it is the fat, my friend, what gives the flavor to the meat! I am mouth-watering! I’ll tell you!
  • I don’t know!
  • Yes, yes! And also think about the symbolism: each one carries within himself a bit of a beloved one… poetic! And there are also good ecological reasons! Do you know how extended is the contamination of a corpse?
  • Not precisely!
  • They contaminate: A LOT! Here’s how much! If you bury them, you make a mess! And even your nice columbarium niches are not the solution to our modern problems. You have to wait for years before being allowed to remove a corpse, and with the new zinc coffins, many of them they are not even decomposed! And then you know what happens?
  • I Have no idea!
  • They throw them away! As simple as that!
  • As simple as that? Really?
  • Of course! What else were you expecting? That after fifty or more years everyone would still be giving you importance?
  • Well… You are right.
  • Exactly! They are exhumed and thrown away together with quicklime in a mass grave, all together. The Earth is quite crowded, we are too many in the world! You know there are places where they do not wait even a decade to take you out from the niche and give your place to someone else? Old style cemeteries are not sustainable! We have to rethink them! Old style funerals, yes they are! And to rethink cemeteries, it is not enough to ask architects! It takes something more drastic, a really creative, true revolutionary idea! Like Italians can have! Today there is just a big waste of space, resources… even emotional resources, let me tell you…
  • You’re right! Shitty job, to dig up graves and handle corpses…
  • And for what?
  • For nothing, after all, right?
  • Exactly! Nothing! So we should face up to reality! As it is always better! With courage! There is nothing bad in copying someone else sometimes! Good grief! People who have been the cradle of civilization!
  • Rome!
  • Exactly! Rome, that’s right! They can still be innovative! Yes! They have been the first to surrender to the new needs of human destinies, and to turn necessities into virtues! Stop with moralists and hypocrites! Let’s break down the prejudice of human flesh consumption, at the same time reviewing the depressed city spaces! Let’s create…
  • Create?
  • … create: immense rotisserie cemeteries, with ovens instead of niches! Ovens my friend!
  • Indeed!
  • The roast corpse will be snapped up! Just imagine the lines of young people asking for the leftovers at night, coming out from the clubs… do you know what Italians observed? What they asked themselves about?
  • No idea!
  • Where do young people go on Saturday night when they are drunk? Eating kebabs! That was the answer! Eating kebabs! In Italy! They were paying for who knows what kind of awful meat, giving money to hostile Muslims who hated them! Italians cannot stand such a thing! Finance terrorism! And even more than terrorism, they could not stand someone selling foreign food to them! Italians are proud people when it comes to food!
  • With all the recipes they have!
  • Exactly! All their exquisite regional recipes! Can you imagine the trauma for them? And think about the impact of all the hungry, happy people in depressed and degraded areas of the cities. A lot of bright lights, not those from the gloomy candles, and pouring beer! Maybe even gambling… if one knows how to handle things with prudence, discretion, and maybe grease the wheels of the right politicians… If you know what I am talking about…
  • Not a bad idea… Well, it needs to be developed…
  • But the bulk is done! It will develop almost by itself…
  • Yes, ok, but it is not for a fortnight… and you know it…
  • And why not? Come on, do something brave for once in your life! Donate your body to the future!
  • I have no intention!
  • Why?
  • Firstly, because in fifteen days there will not be any corpse to roast, since I’m not dying for real! …Among many other things! I have no intention to request assisted suicide, but only to stage my living funeral in order to see how many people will come and feel sorry for me! So stop with useless ideas and prepare yourself to hire an appropriate dress!
  • I will hire it just once, I warn you!
  • If you do not come with a tailcoat, morning dress, a frock coat, I swear that I will not talk to you anymore! I will treat you as if you were dead! As if you were dead, I swear!
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