Buried Yet Breathing5.

The next morning..
Several short hours later, the family rooster crowed. Mother hadn’t slept much more than maybe an hour, and her haggardness showed. As she stomped her way to the bathroom to finish powdering her nose, the family cat hid, shuddering by the bookcase.
Everyone else was outside in the back forty, mulling about and feeling dreadful. The old Minister tried making small talk with the family but no one was up for chit chat. “This is only part of my talents. If you all bear with me during this funeral, I’ll do magic tricks for everybody after the meal. Does that sound good or what?” Dead silence deafened all in attendance.

Little Edwin refused to go near the coffin. Henry and Caulfield sat beside Aunt Betty and her two dogs, both sitting on chairs. Both dogs wore ribbons attached to their collars, though no one knew or cared what for.

It had rained quite heavily the night before and since the grass hadn’t been mowed in months, everyone’s shoes and pant bottoms were soaked. No one smiled, out of all twenty seven in attendance.

There were piles of cut wood strewn all over; a job that Father hadn’t completed. A rotting birdbath served as the pulpit for the Minister to give his eulogy. The smell of feces from the neighboring dogs wafted in, wave after heavy wave.

Mother took a shot of whisky in the kitchen. She breathed deeply, then took a second, wiping her chin of the excess. She slapped both her cheeks consecutively and hard, then took a third drink. Her hands fumbled for the mouthwash bottle and she took a big pull from it, rinsed then spit into both sinks, all over the clean dishes from the previous day. She raised herself up off the stool, stepped on the running cat making him shriek, and then poised herself at the sliding doors. A huge squeak was heard as she threw the glass door open, causing everyone to turn around.

“Hanky!” Mother belted out for her eldest, as she needed to be escorted to her seat for fear of fainting. For the large, loud, violent woman that she was, with the littlest hint of fear, panic would overtake her in the wildest of ways. Today seemed like a panic sort of day.

She whispered in the Minister’s ear, then took a seat at the front. Henry went back to his seat, after first bumping a dog’s chair and the animal bit him on the bottom. He looked at his Aunt in a questionable gaze, which resulted in “Shut up, Hank. Sit on the other cheek.”

The Minister took his spot behind the birdbath and cleared his throat, a process which took ten to fifteen seconds, phlegm being coughed up in the process. A collective sigh of disgust came from all in attendance. “Ladies and gentleman. Welcome.”

He walked, slowly, toward the front row as he spoke. “Mother has asked me to keep this short and though I don’t know why, I must oblige her.” He stood in front of Mother, bent down and kissed her forehead. Immediately, she did the catholic cross on her torso, as though she had just been supremely blessed. Stepping slowly and ever so gently over the wood, he made his way back to the birdbath. Scooping up a handful of the stale, filthy old rainwater, he whispered something inaudible over it and then splashed it upon Peter’s corpse. A collective “Ahh” was heard from the audience. “May he rest in pieces… uh peace. Peace.” Upon saying the second peace, he held up two fingers and smiled, like some grey haired, unshaven pot head from the late sixties.

The Minister slammed the lid closed then painstakingly and during complete silence, he nailed the coffin shut. The grunting was loud. Each hammer swing brought a grunt, followed by heavy coughing. Farts were heard during the said coughing fits. The entire process took near ten minutes and by the last swing of his rusty, mini hammer, he looked near death himself.

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