Alan joined his sister.
“You OK Trish?”
“I’m getting there. I’m no good with this.”
“I know, you can’t handle a hamster dying never mind anything else.
“He’s just outside, he’s talking to one of the groundsman, he knows him from the pub.
…Oh I hate funerals. I really hate funerals!”
“I agree, the music is shite, it’s normally ‘The Lord’s My Shepherd’ with the very original, ‘My Way.’ chucked in somewhere. I think the theme tune to Benny Hill would be a bit of a laugh.”
Alan looked around at the mourners, not recognising some and nodding to a few others, he leaned closer to Trisha, “What the fuck is keeping this? It’s ten minutes late.”
She shrugged, “I don’t know, they said there was some sort of technical problem.”
“I found a Zippo in the car park, they probably have fuck all to light up the burners.”
“…Could you have maybe said that a bit louder, Gran didn’t quite catch it.”
“Fuck her, she’s dead and Hell will be a few degrees colder.”
“Don’t you mean warmer?”
“Nope. Not with that frosty old bitch. Fuck this, I’m going for a cig. I’ll get some fire lighters and a gallon of petrol while I’m out.”
“That’s not funny and you can’t smoke in the grounds.”
“Are you kidding me? How ironic is that. Gran can smoke but we can’t.”
Trish gently elbowed him in the ribs, “Will you behave yourself.”
“It’s this fucking tie, it brings out the badness in me. There’s nothing worse than something tight around your neck. No wonder a baby screams when it’s being born.”
He began to whistle quietly.
“Jesus Alan! Stop that. Why the hell did you come anyway, I know you hated her.”
“I resent that. I don’t hate. Or is it ‘didn’t hate’? Fuck it. I’ll just show her the indifference that she showed me. Did you notice that? The past tense flows easier.”
“You should be respectful.”
“I am, I put on this poxy tie, it’s black and everything.”
He began to play with it.
“How did you and Bill get on emptying the house? I asked him. He didn’t say much, he just laughed and told me to ask you.”
“Don’t get me started! Look at all those fuckers in that wee room, all the fucking favourites and who got left emptying the house, me and Bill.”
“They were all tied up.”
“That’s why the funeral took so long to come around. It gave them all a chance to get here.”
“She lay in state longer then Lenin. Pity, the council didn’t give us more time to empty the house, might’ve got a hand then. Who am I kidding, they still wouldn’t have been near.
Anyway, do you know when we got into the town, Bill looked at me and asked me where her house was? Daft cunt. I couldn’t believe him. I was really pissed off as I had no fucking idea either.”
Alan nodded, “He pulled the van over and we just looked at each other and laughed. The only times he’d been there was at New Year and he was steaming and I don’t think I’d been in the house in five years, that was when she just moved in after Granddad died.”
“Yes, it was. Fucking funny though! Luckily I remembered the name of the street and we got directions. When we got there we saw dad’s car. He came out and was none the wiser.”
“Christ that is a bit steep, not even knowing where your own Gran lived!”
“Oh that was just the start, when we got into the house Uncle Mannie was there, he’d a black bag that he was filling up with total shite. I mean, he was away with the cutlery divider and the loo brush. Jesus, he put them in the same bag, he really is a clatty black bastard. And, we ended up having to deliver furniture to his house, I think he is going to sell it. It should’ve went into the skip, it was fucked, all stained and the spars were burst. I just resent him getting anything out of it even if it was only a fiver.”
“If you resented it, why did you do it.”
“Because dad asked me, he just wanted it all done with no arguments. I wouldn’t do anything to upset him.
…Speak of the devil and I don’t mean Gran!”
Trish stood as their father walked over to them. She hugged him and Alan rolled his eyes as he saw her tears.
He looked away and whispered to himself, “Fucking hamster mourner.”
He stood and shook hands with his father for the second time that day. He felt this was a bit excessive
“I was wondering where you two were, come on into the family waiting room.”
“Trish was out having a fag Dad, I told her she shouldn’t.”
She glowered at him, “It’s fine Dad, there’s not much room. It’s too warm in there. It’s like a furn…Sorry.”
She held her hands up.
“It’s fine, we all say stupid things at a time like this. Just make sure that you sit behind us with your cousins.”
Their father went back into the family room.
…“A fucking furnace – And I’m meant to be the tactless one!”
Alan looked into the main hall, there was still no movement, “Jesus! The next funeral is going to be here if they don’t get a move on.”
“Are you going to the tea?”
“Yep, but for a drink not a hot beverage and a sausage roll. Jesus that is fucking depressing. I wonder if Uncle Mannie will fill up his plate with sandwiches as usual, want a bet? How many times do you think the wee cunt will re-fill? The last time I was at a funeral and he was there he started clicking his fingers at the waitress and pointing to his cup. What an arsehole!”
Trisha nodded, “I know, I saw that. Don’t buy him a drink!”
“No chance I’ve been burned that way before. I think it was Lisa’s twenty-first and I was in a round with young Peter and Bob and he stood there and stared at me. He looked like a dog and I felt as if I was a fucking pork chop. I bought him one, but then Pete bought a round, then Bob so he got another two drinks from them. It then came round to what should’ve been his round and he just hung around like a dose of herpes staring at his last mouthful of lager. I thought ‘fuck it’ and bought the drinks. I left after that.. I don’t know if the boys kept buying him. The wee mutant troll fucker has no chance today, I’m just in the mood for him.”
“Don’t be making a scene!”
“I won’t I’m just ignoring him.”
“Wonders will never cease, there’s my husband!” She waved to catch his attention, “Managed to drag yourself away from your drinking bud?”
“Don’t start Trish! I couldn’t ignore him.”
“Hi Alan, it’s a sad day.”
“You can say that again! It should have happened years ago!”
Trisha stood,“Look, they’re going in, we better move. And you be good!”
“I thought I was. Not being good is starting a Mexican wave or singing ‘Happy Days Are Here Again’.”
“Your bravado is becoming boring. You’ll end up with a tear in your eye.”
“If I don’t get this tie off soon, you’ll probably be right and if not then, it’ll be when I see that wee troll fuck at The Red Lion.”
Bill leaned forward, “He’s a miserable little shit. Whatever you do, don’t…”
“I know! I won’t!”
…And now the end is near so I face the final curtain.
Image – Pixabay
12 thoughts on “Mannie The Moocher by Hugh Cron – Warning – Strong Language.”
Funeral – a role call of relatives and friends.
Thanks for the read and comment.
And I know what you are saying – When in attendance, we do consider the day that it will be us!
All the very best my friend.
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One of the best things about your work is your knack of setting “place” without describing it. Yet you’re able to convey the setting via the dialogue and situation.
It is always a pleasure to read your comments.
Playing watching games in pubs gives you in your face conflict. But when you do it a funeral or a wedding, there are so many undercurrents of emotion, resentment or pure evil!!
Thanks as always!!
Good story but it was hard for me to get through because of all the telling and no showing. I feel you just need to focus on your sensory details and setting up your scenes more. It almost felt as if I was reading a script.
Hi there Adrianne,
Thanks so much for the critique.
It makes me reconsider what I did and why I did it.
Most of my stories are all about the dialogue and the interaction between the characters.
This story may seem like a long conversation without some scene input but it is split into five separate parts. Depending on the situation, I believe, we concentrate on what we are saying to each other more than taking in the surroundings.
You mention too much telling – I didn’t want to do this any other way. Most of the time the characters are asking specifics of each other, therefore, the reader can’t be led and left to their own thoughts. Of course they can consider the motive or feeling from the characters. But I never want to instigate, the reader needs to want to consider.
To be honest, I can get bored with scene setting whether I am writing it or reading it. We have seen so many submissions where a writer over- explains to the point of obsession.
With this being set in a crematorium, I didn’t see the need to say anything else. I think when you explain certain things to readers, you can come across as insulting them.
Thanks again as this gives me an idea of how it can come across. Looking at your comments, I realise that I had initially considered them and my eventual reasoning was why I decided to go this particular way.
All the very best.
A certain kind of culture comes across. Kind of a tough, hard boiled bunch. Overt sadness seen as weakness. But the scene overall communicates a kind of angry emptiness in one of the characters, for sure. I can clearly hear the accents in the conversation. It’s a black humour funny….esp. about Uncle Mannie.
That is a really interesting point regarding the ‘angry emptiness.’ That is an excellent spot that even though I wrote it, I didn’t consider it. But now that you have pointed that out, I reckon that feeling evolved into the character naturally.
I am happy that the accent came across. Some of my early stories I wrote totally colloquially but that doesn’t always make the stories accessible so all I try to do with this type is write correctly but go for the different word choices that those from my neck of the woods would use.
Thanks so much Harrison for the comments!
I don’t know if any of this suggests cultural differences between the US and UK. Very few deaths of which I am aware had open coffins. None had the rancor on display here, but then maybe I’m fortunate not to have relatives that I hated.
Simultaneously well written and repugnant, but then I assume that it was meant to be repugnant.
Sorry for the confusion, it is all my fault. The phrase about her lying in state was referring to the wait between her death and the cremation – But I totally understand why you took it that way.
Regarding open caskets – To see the deceased, this is normally done by arrangement at a funeral parlour. I’m not sure about the Catholic Religion now-a-days, years back it was common place for the casket to be open and in their own home.
And regarding families, I do wonder if it is a cultural thing as there are not many families that I know of that don’t have some major issues. (But that maybe just me!)
Thanks as always for your comments, they make my day!!
All the very best my friend.
Full of dark humor and great lines. Cab Calloway and Paul Anka would approve!
That is a cracking song – More about performance than anything.
I think of that in the same way as ‘Mr Bojangles’ by Sammie Davis Jnr.
All the very best my friend.