George had passed away two weeks ago. He had died in a hospital when his body gave up on him, while being pumped full of radioactive chemicals through his body during the process of chemotherapy. And now he was nothing more than a ghost; a spirit, and he was overlooking the process of his own funeral.
He had seen it all, he had exited from his physical body and come into being as an ethereal spirit. He had seen his family members being informed of his passing. The viewing of his body at the hospital morgue. His mother, father and siblings all coming into contact with a degree of tears.
And now he was attending his own funeral. For the most part George had lived a sheltered life. He had attended work every day for the better part of his life, and every one of those days he had smoked at least twenty cigarettes a day. He was a pack a day smoker. He hadn’t really travelled, maybe he travelled interstate for a conference one or two days here or there. But for the most part his life had been boring and monotonous. He applied himself to a weekly schedule, travelled to work via the train and public transport network. Smoked cigarettes in-between the periods where he had to wait for something. And now he was dead. It hadn’t been a pretty ending either. He had clawed at his veins attempting to rid himself of the deeper burning sensation that chemotherapy had brought. But now, that pain was over. He was not sure what he felt now, he was still in the process of accepting his own death.
Witnessing the cars pull up and the different attendees arrive for the funeral was quite a surprise to George. He expected it to be a simple family affair. What shocked him was that some of his work colleagues, including his supervisor, had also arrived to attend the funeral. It was a small affair. Made up of no more than thirty people. George had kept to himself during his life. Hadn’t had the chance to pursue the opposite sex and through his adolescence had been left jaded and disfigured by the dance of the sexes that interplayed through the social economics of the human race. A family hadn’t been on the cards for his life, it had seemed. And now he sat overlooking as the mortuary staff prepared tea, biscuits and other snacks. Preparing the small hall that was located within the cemetery where his body would be buried. There would be no pall-bearing party or anything else of the like. He hadn’t been popular enough. But he had worked hard, that was one thing he had done. He worked in one of those chain office supplies stores. And he supposed that was why his work colleagues had been allowed the day off to attend his funeral. Because apart from them, there was nothing more to his life. His social life was seemingly non-existent. He would catch up with the odd person for a cup of coffee or some other chance encounter. But it hadn’t been a full and vibrant existence.
He didn’t necessarily regret that fact either. He was quite sour at the experience of his own life and because he had worked for the majority of it, he hadn’t had the time to enjoy it. And now. Well now, it was just that. Looking at work colleagues come in and find a space to sit down amongst his family members for the event that had been planned. A small display of his life. A few speeches and a slideshow. That’s what his life had amounted to and he was pissed off. If he could voice his rage and bitterness, he would. But he had held onto it during his life and suppressed such emotions by smoking a repertoire of cigarettes every day.
He saw all of the different people from his life come in and sit down. His father. That bastard was part of the reason he had become so bitter through out his life. All of the pressure that he had applied to him, the only way that he found any release was through the constant haze of cigarette smoke that he would leave behind all the time. Cigarette butts a plenty being thrown and stamped out on the ground and discarded.
Then there was his mother. His parents had divorced, she had helped him through the more difficult times. Lacking any partner his own age, she had helped him when he needed it. Not sexually, but with other things. But somehow it hadn’t been enough. Simultaneously, they both wept a tear for one another. His ethereal presence was felt at that moment as his mother turned her head in his spirit’s direction to look right through him.
His brother and sister. He hadn’t had too much to do with either of them. Maybe in their childhoods, but they had grown up estranged from his own life. They both had families of their own now. He had been the black sheep of the bunch.
His supervisor stood with another one of his fellow employees. They were discussing something. It had happened a long time ago. George had attempted to quit smoking and his boss had applied more pressure to him until he started smoking again.
The fellow employee that had been around at the time brought it up, “You remember that time he tried to quit. It’s your fault he didn’t, you bastard!”
“Shut up…” His supervisor whispered, “We’re in the presence of his family.”
Then there was the stoner. The habitual smoker of marijuana from the workplace. He was always good for a laugh, considering all the assumptions and miscalculations he would make in their conversations while he was alive. His eyes were bloodshot from a recent session, it would seem, as he found himself wandering straight to the tea and biscuits section and gathering a small amount of snacks so that he could watch the funeral procession, stoned off his chops.
There were some other work colleagues. Some that he had rarely spoken to, but who had decided to take the day off work rather than be chained to the workplace. The store would still be running, he was sure of that much.
And as his spirit watched on as his father delivered a speech concerning George’s life he felt a great bitterness and hate rise and flow within his spirit. This bastard was marketing himself to his work colleagues as the caring father. When really all that bastard had done throughout his life was berate and belittle George’s life choices and station in life.
His mother seemed to somewhat realize this and instead of crying she wore an expression of clear disgust.
His supervisor was looking around the hall and when he realized that nobody else was crying, he begun to shed tears. When another work colleague saw this, she asked him what the hell he was doing. He replied simply, “I’m crying because nobody else is.”
George’s spirit laughed at this, his supervisor didn’t understand the context of the situation. His mother refrained from giving a speech and kept her thoughts to herself.
His sister gave a speech recounting an incident throughout their teenage years in which she had stolen twenty dollars from her George and never told him and George blamed his brother. All of which had resulted in the falling out of each of the siblings. She was trying to ask for George’s forgiveness for the incident.
George stood there in shock and began hurling abuse at her, “You farkin’ bitch! You farkin’ bitch!” It wouldn’t be heard from his ethereal presence into the realm of the living.
Just then is when the figure of death appeared. The grim reaper, dressed in hood baring a scythe. It was then that death, himself, begun to belittle him, “Well, you don’t have much of an imagination.”
“Excuse me!?” George was perplexed.
“I’m how you imagine death… And you’ve imagined the most stereotypical version of me there is possible. It’s just a comment, you don’t have an imagination.”
“Hey buddy, fark you! This is my funeral and all of this shit is going down. Everyone’s a piece of shit except for my mother and she won’t say anything.”
“How did you die?”
“Cancer… Too many cigarettes…”
“Well, then you probably already realized that. That’s probably why you smoked. Look, it’s just a funeral. People are just saying all of this stuff to make themselves feel better. That’s all there is to it really. The funeral isn’t for you, it’s for them.”
“But it’s my funeral!” George was frustrated.
“Relax… It’s all over now. Life’s over, so don’t worry about it.”
George stood there and then breathed out. “Yeah, you’re right. Fark ‘em. Fark ‘em all. What’s next?”