Saturday, April 26, 2014

the funeral, from Lohbado's memoirs

a Lohbado decoration
    Inside the warehouse Lohbado saw three men and three women celebrating a funeral. The root syllable of funeral is fun. It’s funny to be confronted with something so final, to see somebody you knew reduced to a corpse and to imagine how you too will one day be a corpse.

    Lohbado remembered how the man used to wave his hands and nod his head. Lohbado knew well the sound of the man’s voice and how lines formed along the edge of his mouth. Crows feet spread from his eyes as they widened then narrowed, plus horizontal lines across the forehead. He could visualize the dead man dancing on the coffin. The corpse didn’t dance. The corpse was once a person with a whole set of hopes and fears, memories, opinions and beliefs.

    In their flowing black robes, the funeral officials in the abandoned warehouse looked like crows, or vultures gathered to eat human flesh. Lohbado watched from the shadow of a pillar. Sunlight beamed down from large windows along a far wall, windows divided into square panes. Thin wooden strips held the many panes in place in the large heavy wood-framed windows in the hundred-year old warehouse overlooking the train tracks.

    Lohbado quietly left the warehouse. He didn’t want to be noticed and have to answer questions. He didn’t want to be dragged into the funeral. It might be fun. Either way, to be noticed or not noticed... no big deal. It all gets forgotten.

    It’s fun to be there, but it’s also fun to leave. Lohbado climbed a barren rock sloping away from the tracks and the warehouse. Lohbado paused to look back. The tracks dissolved, like in a dream. The scene changed. He was half way up a granite escarpment overlooking the sea. He gazed across turquoise water to a golden horizon where the sun was going down. Sunrise tended to be more pink, sunset more gold. Lohbado often got up before sunrise and often paused to enjoy sunset.

    The escarpment turned out to be higher than expected. Each time he reached the crest of the rock hill, another steep slope appeared. As he climbed, the sky turned from gold to purple and crimson twilight. It was starting to get dark by the time he reached the top. He sat in the shelter of a fridge-sized boulder for protection from the cold wind. After a few minutes, a man driving a quad appeared. It bounced over the uneven rocky surface and came to a stop. Lohbado got up to say hello. The man offered Lohbado a ride back to the village. He said he used to be an Elvis impersonator.

"I stopped being Elvis because the men would be jealous," he shouted over the roar of the motor and Lohbado hung on for dear life, "The men tried to beat me up after the performance. The women used to go wild. They'd hug and kiss me. That made some guys mad, so I quiet being Elvis. Jealousy is dangerous."

    Lohbado held on tight as the quad rocked and rolled down the steep rock hill. Lohbado gazed straight ahead as the quad kept tipping back and forth, as if it was on the verge of flipping over. Lohbado also kept an eye on the giant tires and huge treads of the all terrain vehicle. It took them about fifteen minutes to reach the bottom of the rock hill.

    A man staggered out of the bar as they drove by and shouted at them to stop. Elvis said, “Don’t pay attention. He gets drunk every day. It’s the mercury in the fish. It damaged the brain and makes people get mad. I don’t drink anymore, because I get mad when I drink. Last time I woke up in jail, dried blood on my face and hands. I didn’t even know who I’d beaten up I felt bad. I didn’t want to be that way. I was so depressed. That’s when I decided to quit. I fell off the wagon a few times. People start bugging me. I can’t take it any more. I get drunk. Then I gotta again. This time I’ve been sober for three months.”

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