Wednesday, January 4, 2012

An Epitaph

"When I die," she says, "I want it to be a big party. Lots of drinking, dancing, and happy memories." She smiles, perhaps picturing the bubbles in the champagne flutes. "What about you?"

"I don't care," I lift my finger to signal the bartender. "I'll be dead."

A frown. "Well, that's awfully generous of you."

My Newcastle arrives, icy and brown. "What do you mean?"

She raises her voice, as the bass player begins tuning. "I mean, aren't you worried that your funeral will be all, you know....tacky?"

I take a draw of my beer. "Once again. I won't care. I'll be dead."

She raises her eyebrows. "I see. So, anything goes?"

"Pretty much."

"Sometimes, I don't get you at all." She studies the bar menu, tapping her fingers against the stained plastic cover.

I turn to the Penguins game, flickering above her head. At least this game makes sense.

"Are you going to say anything?" She drops the menu, flicks her hair behind her shoulder.

I exhale. "About what?"

"Nothing."She twists her earring, "It's just..." I watch her lip tremble. "It's just that I would be the one planning it." 

I touch her hand, and our eyes link, "And I'm sure you would do a good job. Look. Here's what I want. A powder blue coffin. Chik-Fil-A trays at the reception..."

I watch her jaw relax as the joke unravels. She leans into me, and grins. "I'll line up the forties. For everybody to pour some out for you."


She laughs, and her throaty music fills my empty space. "As you're lowered into the ground, I will blast 'Don't Fear the Reaper' on my ghetto blaster."

"And my epitaph?" 

She arches an eyebrow. "He had to have more cowbell."

I have never loved her more.

In my vlog for Write on Edge, I said I would base this prompt on a song from The Smiths. Inspiration is a funny thing; it came from here, instead.

Be sure to check out the amazing epitaph-inspired prompts at Write on Edge.


angela said...

More cowbell. I LOVE that. CW is one crazy dude.

I think you did a great job here capturing the subtle male/female emotional dynamic. I almost feel like it could be a conversation between Ryan and me. But with a Tigers game on.

Star Traci said...

Awesome! I always wanted "funeral for a Friend" by Elton John but it simply doesn't have enough cowbell!

Happy New Year!

John said...

Nancy, this may be my favorite post of yours, ever.

Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos said...

This is so well written, it feels like another of your memoirs.

More cowbell is always the answer. Brilliant.

Formerly known as Frau said...

Love that songs inspire your this one.

Cameron said...

More cowbell indeed.

I will say it again, I love your light touch with things of a heavy nature, like love and death.

And the attention to detail.

Funny aside? Whenever I see the words "ghetto blaster," I hear Bjork saying "my little jetto blaster" in "There's More to Life Than This."

Victoria KP said...

I love this. It sounds a little like a conversation my husband and I would have :-).

Kathleen Basi said...

Very nice. I can't decide if it's a great relationship or one with cracks getting ready to split open...

Banker Chick said...

Good conversation and detail. I still hedge on having characters talk to one another. There are never enough cowbells!

Cheryl said...


Loved this, Nancy. It had the care-free, easy tone that I adore about your writing.

Anonymous said...

The prose really sings! All the details are wonderful too, adding a nice touch of atmosphere. I laughed at the Chik-Fil-A and Moar Cowbell! Great job.

Anonymous said...

This is the first post if yours I have read, Nancy, and it is quite lovely: the interaction between these two is perfect, and what everyone says about light-touch is quite true.

I'm British - haven't heard of cowbell before except round the necks of alpine cattle...must go google...

sharon greenthal said...

"Ghetto blaster" is very funny. Being able to laugh about dying is a great gift - writing about it in a funny way is even better!

Anonymous said...

This conversation was so refreshing. I guess because my mother has been planning her funeral since as long as I could remember so it was great to read about someone who could care less.

Anonymous said...

This was great. It's an interesting aspect of what sounds like a fairly new relationship...death isn't something that usually comes up early on.

Joanna Jenkins said...

I'm pretty sure this is my all time favorite post of yours. This is truly perfection. Maybe I'll have it read at MY funeral.

xo jj

TKW said...

Girl, you rock my world.

I love a good Blue Oyster Cult reference. And your irreverence.

Renee McKinley said...

I really like the light banter about a heavy subject. I'm pretty sure the husband and I have had similar conversation.

Asproulla said...

There are things that I don't understand (what's a Chik-Fil-A tray? and I don't get the allusion to cowbell), but that doesn't matter. You create a scene between two people who obviously care about each other using realistic dialogue and light but perfect touches of detail to highlight emotion. Joining your blog by email :)

Sara said...

At first, I didn't get, but I did watch the video. Thanks for sharing that one. I'm still laughing.

Reading your dialogue. It is GREAT as usual. Short, sweet, to the point, but get's it all in. That's a gift:~)