Tag Archives: death

1691. Hershel’s busy month

Hershel was an undertaker, and he thought it strange that of the fifty bodies he’d dealt with that month twenty-seven of them were called John. Usually there were only a couple of deaths per month in his area, although it went up a little in the depths of winter. One month he once got six bodies, two of whom were Michael. But now in one month fifty bodies! And twenty-seven called John? Goodness me!

To make matters even weirder, of the fifty deaths twenty-two of them were female and therefore would probably never be called John. That meant that twenty-seven out of twenty-eight males were called John. The sole non-John was called Hector.

Further pondering produced other startling results. Of the twenty-seven Johns, twenty-six of them had the surname of Smith. Twenty-six John Smiths in one month! The only John who didn’t have the surname of Smith was John Gillespie-Fotheringham. That must surely be some sort of record.

The experts mulled over how such a thing could happen. It was a mystery. And then the reason was pointed out. Sometimes some things in life are so obvious. It was staring everyone in the face. John Gillespie-Fotheringham was a clerical error. There were twenty-seven John Smiths after all. What a relief!

1676. Requiring an element of purgation

The angel informed Eddie that he was dead. “You kicked the bucket,” said the angel. “You died in your sleep.”

“You’re pulling my leg,” said Eddie. “I’m just having a dream.”

“I think not,” said the angel. “Try getting out of bed.” Eddie couldn’t move. He was stuck lying on his back. He couldn’t even wiggle his toes.

“I’ve come to get you and take you to a wondrous place,” said the angel.

“You’re talking through a whole in your head,” said Eddie. “I’m just having a bad dream. Stop annoying me. I’m going nowhere. Piss off. I’m trying to sleep.”

“Very well,” said the angel, and left.

That was two hundred years ago.

1657. The man-eater

(Thanks to Uma for the opening sentence).

In his dream he was a man-eater, hungry and dying. He was a tiger in the Indian state of Maharashtra. Already he had killed and eaten fourteen humans. Now he was ready for another. But he was sick. He had drunk salty water and this had made him violent and unpredictable.

He went on an all-day killing spree. He gave no care for his safety. He slaughtered fourteen children coming home from school. Eight adults were dead. He would eat one, he didn’t care which, for his meal. Humans were cruel animals. He could be crueller.

Life was hard. In the beginning he had hunted with his mother. She was a master man-eater. Then she was shot by humans coming from the village. Her son took on a life of revenge. It wasn’t simply food; it was a game. It was an all-consuming desire. Humans hunted animals for pleasure. Why couldn’t he hunt humans for the same gratification?

He stirred in his afternoon snooze. It was so boring being gawked at every day through metal bars by countless humans at the zoo.

1651. The dead wife

(Thanks to Alex Raphael for the opening sentence.)

“Hang on a second. I thought you were dead.”

“I am. Or rather, I am pretending to be.” Ursula had made a sudden appearance at the home of her best friend, Flora. Flora was in shock. She had grieved for her friend at the funeral and, quite frankly, spent an undue amount on a bunch of flowers.

“How on earth did you stage such a believable death?”

“It wasn’t easy, especially since I had to organize it all on my own. In the end I got help from the man at the crematorium. But it worked. My husband is having an affair and this is the almost improbable way to give him the fright of his life, and his lover whoever she is. I could kill the both of them. In fact I probably will.”

“But how did you find out about the affair?”

“When I went away for a week to visit my daughter, I came home and she had left her shoes in the closet. And what is more, a woman knows these things. I could sense that she had been there all week. I asked my husband about it, but of course he denied it. Once I find out who that woman is, she’ll be taking my place at the crematorium I can tell you.”

“But,” joked Flora, “who would make your husband the tomatoes on toast for breakfast that he so likes?”

“How do you know that?”

1606. Why be morbid?

The plan was to dress eccentrically. That’s what the invitation said. It read, well in advance of the event, that on the last day of the coming month, Shane’s funeral would be held after he had been put down humanely by Elaine and the rest of the family. Dress eccentrically.

Well! What a conundrum it caused! What a hubbub! Shane, who hadn’t been at all ill but was generally tired of life, was to be put down. There was nothing unusual in that. Elaine had done it twice before to previous husbands. In fact the joke went around that being married to Elaine was the main cause why her (now third) husband had requested a humane demise. But that was not what the hubbub was about. That was not the conundrum.

The bother that sent all into a tizzy was what to wear. What comprises eccentric? Is it colour? Is it design? Is it a combination of both? Shona and her two inseparable “friends” were in a quandary. In the end, on the morning of the funeral, they dressed conservatively in cut, but with fabric that Nigel had found on the cheap at the second hand store. It was partly floral, and excessively loud. If they turned up to the funeral with a brightly coloured cocktail and a handful of sticky spaghetti it would possibly steal the show.

And steal the show they did! Elaine said afterwards that it was well worth putting Shane down just to wring out of her three best friends such a display of bizarre vibrancy. She particular liked the spaghetti touch and Jock promised that when it happened again he would bring some meatballs!

What a worthy lesson for us all! How much nicer is it to have a happy funeral, rather than mooch around like it’s the end of the world? All agreed. It was such fun! They couldn’t wait to do it again!

Now who’s next?

1597. A meditation on medication

I suppose Eoin’s death could be described as “sudden”. He’d had chronic heart disease for almost thirty years. Modern medication had kept him alive. He dutifully took all his pills every day and there’s no doubt those pills prolonged his life and gave him a reasonably seemingly carefree quality of living. But death came suddenly, as he had always suspected it would.

He was driving along the road, with his wife in the passenger seat. He was not driving fast for he was a most careful man. He quietly said “I’m going” and slumped over the steering wheel dead. His wife, a non-driver, calmly reached over and turned off the ignition key while putting her foot hard on the brake. The car skidded sideways into a service station, hitting three cars that were being refuelled. All four vehicles and the service station erupted into an unbelievable conflagration. It could be said that Eoin went out in a blaze of glory.

Strangely, of the eleven people burned, Eoin’s wife, although she suffered serious burns, was the only survivor. She was able to tell the police the sequence of events once she was well enough to do so.

Who would have thought that after years of faithful pill-taking and after a gentle “I’m going” that his death would cause such havoc? Of the eleven people burned to death, three were fathers of large families and one was a mother of two. One of the newly-created widows was soon after evicted from her house because she couldn’t pay the rent. The finance of one of the victims “did himself in”. Two children died and were mourned not only by their families but by their entire schools. Another victim was a famous novelist on the way to his publisher. He went up in smoke along with his computer and latest novel. It was a terrible loss for the world.

Once she had recovered, Queenie (for that was the wife’s name) was able to grieve and reflect. She couldn’t help but think that it may have been better if Eoin hadn’t taken his life-saving pills in the first place.

1583. Dropped dead

Yeah, well, I was walking down the street when this guy walking along in front of me dropped dead. Just like that. He didn’t have time to turn around and say Help! or pop into a shop he was passing and say Can I have a drink of water? or something. Just PLOP and he was dead. Lying flat on the pavement.

Of course everyone rushed to his aid. He must’ve hurt himself in the fall because there was quite a bit of blood. There were enough people helping him so I moved on. Too many cooks spoil the broth as the saying goes. So I thought it better that I don’t get in the way. Besides, if I’m to be really honest, I don’t know much about first aid. Anyway, when a guy drops dead he’s dead, and I saw he was good and proper dead as I passed.

You often don’t know what’s going to happen next half the time. The guy could’ve been a Chinese spy or anything for all I know. Although he didn’t look Chinese. He might’ve been a Russian spy. They look more like us. You never know these days who is walking right in front of you.

I dare say it could have been captured on video camera. Streets have these cameras for security, but as far as I know this section of street doesn’t have any security cameras because I checked it out.

I see in the paper that the police are calling for witnesses. Apparently he was a foreign national working as a double agent. It’s funny how things come out in the wash. The guy didn’t have a heart attack. He was shot slap-bang in the back the police said.

Must’ve been shot by the guy walking behind him!