Friday, April 23, 2010

Guest Write - Finnegan Flawnt

The Funeral

The funeral party hurried up the hill following the fat priest with designer glasses. The wind was blowing in their faces so that they had to squint. The light had the subtle quality of a foggy argument among friends.

Up on the hill by the grave stood the muse of the dead man they had come to bury. She was visible to everyone, mentioned by nobody. The mourners huddled around her gown shuffling nervously as one does in the presence of an angel. The priest was conscious of his inept performance earlier in the chapel. The muse made him feel queasy. He thought of himself as a servant to the Lord and now the muse’s elongated eye lashes brought unease to his heart, a weak muscle constricted by ritual incantations and praying performances. To the feeble-minded, the muse looked like a lion unitiated untamed ready to devour their souls. To the steadfast, she simply rose from the Earth like a tamarix adorned with only a tuft of hair swaying in the breeze, a figure of no failure to fend off bad spirits.

The untertaker put the urn in the square-shaped hollow in the ground, twitched and hid behind the father. As the angel stepped forward, the cinerary container rose from its early grave and became an onion, an orange, an olive: it opened and grew a single leaf: this was the dead man’s fate dangling by the seraph’s unsullied fingers. Thus spake the Great One:

„I have weighed this man and measured him and looked at his life’s work. He spent years in the shade of his endowments, he accrued accolades for his art and he bore the sign of creation on his high forehead. He was a king in his own realm, which stretched from everwhere to nowhere and was governed by but one principle: beauty.“

Then she lowered the ashen cask and disappeared leaving tranquil thought so that even the cleric dropped his defiant demeanour.

The bereaved shuddered at her might and every one of them thought of their own talent and felt elevated by the eulogy. They began to breathe as if reborn. They became mulberry shoots, every single one of the people who had merely pondered life’s small matters a moment earlier, they turned into apollonian arrows hurling themselves at any one standing in their human way. They had come as a flock and left as a truculent platoon. They had meant to pray and fear and departed with death as their friendly companion on the longest journey made by man and woman. The dead only preceded them by a bit, bite-sized and not too big to chew.

Finnegan Flawnt is a fictitious writer and purveyor of fine podcasts, who lives under Milk Wood with two females and a bad conscience. He is also an editor of the online metafiction journal Metazen. He flaunts it when he's got it here and flashes there.

10 comments:

  1. i want flawnt to do my eulogy. we should all be happy within his own truculent platoon. well done sir.

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  2. this is what I call a "scene stealer". I was captivated from the first sentence to the last.

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  3. A really good reflection of the transition between life & death , and its consequences for the grieving partner - excellent.

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  4. "The light had the subtle quality of a foggy argument among friends."

    Excellent line.

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  5. Very unique and succinct. Interesting read.

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  6. The "foggy argument among friends," was indeed an excellent line.

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  7. Most excellent. I really dug the fat priest with designer glasses. Peace...

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  8. thank you all for your kind comments - much appreciated. a little late, here's the long and the short of how this little story came about: i wrote this, i believe in the summer a week after the funeral of my uncle, who was a great artisan and artist with a somewhat sad life. i was shocked at how dispassionate and disinterested the priest seemed during the service in the chapel. at the grave, i improvised a short speech in which i compared my uncle to a lion speculating that he'd probably be roaming the fields of elysium as one now. later that year, his first grandchild was born and they named her "leonie". and i swear my uncle's muse was present at that funeral (otherwise i wouldn't have been able to talk publicly with any fervour). cheers!

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