THE LIVING END
WRITTEN BY ZARIUS
(This contains spoilers for “Bob Actually”)
“Louise honey, did you finish your poem for school yet?” Linda asked her youngest daughter.
“Not yet Mom” Louise replied.
“Let me know when you have” Linda said.
Louise had struggled all week to come up with something for her school project, the challenge was to write a poem based on the themes of mortality, death and grief, and it had to come from the heart. Conveniently enough, there had been some inspiration for her recently.
“How’s the funeral coming along?” Louise asked of her mother.
“Oh you know how your father is with relatives of a friend, he’ll want to be the designated driver”
“Of the hearse I hope”
“Don’t be silly dear, his pals will all be encouraged to give their dearly departed a spiked salute, once that’s done they’ll be in no state to drive, so your father will be taking them all home”
“Ah he ought to give them all a hellfire ride downtown, put them all in a death-defying mood”
“Oh honey, breaking the law afterwards isn’t going to take anything off the mind of your father before he arrives there”
“He thinks he’s obligated to give some sort of a speech…it’s funny because he really didn’t know too well, either that or too much time has passed and his memories of spending time with him have lapsed”
“A real trip down amnesia lane huh?”
“Yeah, it’s a shame, there’s so many things that you think you’ll treasure forever, but the passage of time really leaves you out of touch sometimes”
Louise resumed work on her poem. Eventually, she printed it out and showed it to her mother, who approved of it in the obligatory prideful manner that most moms would, and sent Louise off on her way to school.
As she walked down the street, she carefully read the poem aloud to herself
“Death is a stinkhold
I tell you no lies
Once it’s applied
You’ll do nothing but cry”
Louise thought long and hard about what brought her to convey such thoughts to paper, a frightful situation experienced by the brave soul that was her brother Gene, stepping in to take the feared move on behalf of his terrified sister at the hands of her nemesis Logan, one of few men she had ever shed a tear in front of.
A humiliating moment that had brought a disquiet to her feisty soul.
As she mulled over her poem, she suddenly bumped into someone walking up towards her. Just as she was about to fall backwards and hit the concrete, this person reached out and grabbed her by the arm, propelling her forward and preventing her from collapsing.
Louise stared up at her rescuer. Regular Sized Rudy, his face still bearing a red hot handprint, Louise’s handprint, from their fateful valentine’s day encounter.
“Hey slugger, thanks for keeping me off the concrete” she said
“You going to shake my hand with that one, or shatter my face with it this time?” Rudy asked, pointing to her hand that he had clasped in his own.
Louise smiled, and swiftly shook it.
“You got your poem ready for school?” he asked.
“Sure do, come on, let’s exchange” Louise suggested.
The two did so, Rudy reading Louise’s out first.
“That’s a killer” he said
“Well it fits the theme don’t it?” said Louise, swiftly turning her attention to Rudy’s poem
It’s a very different sort of dark
When we deal with the loss of light
The moments we reflect most fondly on
Are our courage in the fight
As time takes eternal steps ahead
And as we move as one with it
We pray our kindest days before
Provide us with due credit
We reflect, we rise, we raise a toast
As winter turns to spring
A little early to call on the sun
But these times demand we sing
We close our eyes, we let our day slip
We know this procedure all too well
What we take from it is a moment
Where we realize there’s still much more to tell
The stories, the legends, the place souls lost to us hold
Our minds, our hearts, our spirits soar
As love decays grief’s pure cold
Louise was taken aback. The poem was elegant, beautifully composed, and above all else, hopeful.
“Do you mind if I use your poem?”
“For class? Sure I guess, least I can do for that kiss you gave me” said Rudy.
“No, not for class, my Dad needs some A-material to read at a funeral”
“Sure, if you think it’ll bring some life to that kind of party”
Louise gave Rudy’s face a tender stroke with the hand she had used to slap him
“When it comes to planting a note of dignity on death little buddy, you’re what I’d call the living end”
The other side of Rudy’s face began to beam as red as his other side as another kiss graced his lips and the merciless hand of Louise thrust itself upon his features.