a Chuck Wending friday flash fiction challenge. (see here)
This wasn’t how he imagined it…
The undertaker lied. “This is the best you can buy for money, Mr. Jones. Pure silk and lace. Our bestseller! The epitome of comfortableness, elegance and beauty,” the undertaker preached. It wasn’t comfortable at all! His buttocks had gone dead a while ago. Wait! That wasn’t how he was going to put it! He was lying in his coffin -yes- but he was very much alive.
The priest took forever to finish his ceremony. “We have gathered today – blah, blah, blah – to take our farewell, from our beloved Bertram Jones – blah blah. A loving husband and precious member of the catholic community. Blah blah. He was a beacon of light for others. Always with best intentions…” – “My ass!” Bertram blurted it out in his mind.
It cost him a lot of effort to restrain himself from smirking. At one point, he felt his abdomen would implode, if he had to hold in that laugh any longer. But the ceremony kept on. And he had to be dead. Dead serious – crap. He commanded himself to cut it out. This was business! And he had to pee. Dammit! No more Champaign before playing dead!
His wife, Gertrud, sat in the first row. She’d be so pissed off, if she knew. She’d kill him, he had no doubt about that. Someone was sobbing. He felt a tiny bit pity for her. “Bless her and her wicked tongue.”
It had to stay a secret, the lottery win. The last person he wanted to share with, was Gertrud and his mother-in-law. Bertram had different plans for himself. A house at the beach… He merited that! He truly did. After years of donkey work… Now he could effort a whole island, not just a house. And he would buy himself a chopper too. Yes, definitely. He could pick up smoking, just for good measure.
“Bertram, you will be dearly missed.” The priest raised his voice. “Why? Oh, why? Lord.” He heard Gertrud wailing. “Your wife and your family stay behind. Farewell, Bertram Jones. Farewell.” The cleric walked now to his coffin. This was the sign! People would stand up and come to look at him.
“Self-control now, let the stink win,” Mr. Jones spurred on. The priest dropped a small vial with dead-opossum-odor, or was it raccoon piss? The stench would ensure, that people stayed the fuck away from him. That was the plan. “Take it like a man,” he cheered himself on. Gross! Gertrud was brave enough to come closer, but was instantly repelled. He would have needed that earlier, a Gertrud-reppelant. He wasn’t sure, if he heard her gag a bit. Somehow, that made him absurdly happy.
Ten minutes later, the chapel was empty. The priest said the magic words. “Lazarus, wake up,” and Bertram sat up. Finally! The torture was over. The man in the coffin started to wiggle his butt. “Do you have a generous donation for our holy church?” The cleric asked with a jovial smile on his face. Without a word, Bertram pulled a thick brown envelope out of his smoking jacket.
He pulled another one from his trousers pocket. Standing in the doorway, the undertaker harrumphed politely, “we have to close the coffin, my job’s not done jet. Hurry.” Bertram climbed stiffly out of the casket and started to massage his bum. He forwarded the envelopes to each man. The funeral director opened it right away and started counting. Nearly offended, the resurrected man gasped. “Don’t you trust me?!”
“Of course I trust you, Mr. Jones. I really do, but I also enjoy petting money enormously!” The undertakers lips twisted into a pardoning smile. “The rental car is waiting outside. A black SUV, as you wanted. Now go on, fly away little birdy. Enjoy your remaining time, and stay put.” He added, “see you next time…”
Betram straightened himself. “I think I’ll keep Lazarus, as a name,” he pondered. It was good to stretch. No more problems. Not ever again. He truly felt like a brand new man! Inhaling deeply the smelly chapel air he asked for the back door. The priest pointed him the direction, and Mr. Bertram Lazarus Jones strutted into his new life.