Pseudo-Viking Funeral

Besides the Sasquatch there wasn’t much to see, nothing much except for maybe a millipede and a girl drinking milk against the side of a barn. Local craftsman had built odd sculptures of mythical creatures and insects out of metal, and strewn them about the landscape in front of a huge, red barn. I turned around and held my father for the last time, as much as I could with my eyes and my memory, then asked the driver of the hearse where everybody was going to park. “I suppose we’ll find a way. There should be no problem for us getting in there. I asked my coworker to reserve a space close to your Dad’s raft,” he said. “Thanks for doing that,” I said. “Oh no need for thanks. We just want everybody to be as comfortable as possible,” he said. The Vikings had assembled a raft out of sticks and lumber, and were waiting down by the water. In accordance with my father’s wishes everybody had dressed up in fur and Viking hats made out of papier-mâché, and were sending his body out over Moose pond. For obvious health reasons we couldn’t burn him over the water. A fur- covered kid ran in front of the hearse and the driver hit him. “You just hit a kid,” I said. “We do that around here. I’m surprised nobody ever told you that,” he said. “I don’t understand,” I said. “Around here, it’s a right of passage where we send the youngest school age child in the community out to pretend to be hit by a car at a burial ceremony as a way of ensuring there is sufficient room in the world for a reborn child. Children contain the souls of those who have passed,” he said. “They didn’t tell me that in the brochure or at the funeral home. Why would you keep something like that from a client?” I said. The child stood up and looked through the windshield, smiled, waved and ran off toward his parents who held him and rubbed his furry head.

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