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