short stories, writing

rain and I were friends [short story]

It was pouring down with rain. 

That was the least surprising part of my funeral. 

It rained the day I was born. 

It rained on my wedding day (and that was ironic because the marriage lasted all of three days). 

It even rained the day I got my first job. 

Hell, it rained the day I won and lost a winning lottery ticket. 

Rain and I were old friends. 

So I fully expected it to rain on my funeral. 

Water pouring and cascading on to my pinewood casket. 

Dripping and dripping they finally lowered me into the ground. 

That part was expected. 

I wasn’t expecting a huge crowd, but I counted more people than I’d seen in the past few years. There were old people, young people, kids, fucking kids. I didn’t know any kids so I wondered which forsaken inviduual had brought their offspring along. After some deep thinking I reasoned that maybe they’d been hoping to get some free food out of it at least. 

This wasn’t the funeral I had planned. I wanted it to be over quickly. Someone would pour a dash of whiskey on the wooden box and push the button that sent me into a pit of fire. 

After a few minutes, I’d be gone. 

Ashes to ashes. 

Dust to dust. 

Into thin air. 

Maybe afterwards, my only friend would drink himself into a stupor in memory of me. The next day he’d wake up in a pile of his own vomit and vow to get on with his life.

Obviously, none of that happened because my dear old mother had other ideas. Here I was watching a huge procession in the street. People I had never seen before carried my casket.

Worst of all, my mother delivered a eulogy full of lies when they got to the cemetery.

My son was a great man, is how she began.

(I ran away from home when I was eighteen.)

I will never get over this loss, she continued.

(I suspected that she would once she saw that I’d left all of my money to my half sister – same father, different mother – just to spite her.)

I will miss him until the end of my days.

(Like she missed me over the past twenty years?)

Yet, people ate it up. They sat there and cried because grief is contagious. It was like an electric ripple that ran through people in tandem, infecting them with its darkness. These people didn’t know me, but I was their chance to grieve. I was serving some kind of messed up purpose.

It’s a pity then that in life, I’d made a lot of enemies. The kind that I’d hoped my planned cremation would put off. If there was no service, there would be no targets. No targets meant no bloodbath.

Avoiding a bloodbath was obviously a priority.

However, as I saw my mother talking, and heard the revving of engines in the distance, I knew that shit was about to hit the fan.

I was faced with two options.

Play dead, or try to save a bunch of people that had no business being at my funeral in the first place.

In case you’re wondering, I’m not a zombie. 

I’m not dead either.

I’m also not alive.

Try working that one out.

The gunmen set sights on the gatherers fairly quickly, bullets raining down in synch with the raindrops. Screams echoed across the field, and once again, I wondered just what my mother had been thinking. An outdoor funeral? It was unfathomable.

Amidst the chaos, I set about directing those on the field. Agent Roberts had to take the east side. Agent Matthews took the left. Daniels, south. And me? Well, I was stuck here from my vantage point.

Watching.

There’s a good reason why I died. Why I killed myself off before anyone else could. In this business, it pays to be smart. I’ve seen so many good men flounder and fall because they didn’t know when to call time.

I knew.

Waking up to a bullet in my windshield wasn’t necessarily the first indication, but it was a start.

Blood on my walls? Well, that definitely got the ball rolling?

Getting shot in the back and finding out that I’d be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of my life? 

That sealed the deal. 

I knew than that the old me was dead. That guy was gone. I wanted to make it official.

In a way, this was my last act in my previous life. The final chapter. Bullets were flying, people were screaming, field agents were doing their jobs. The stuffy desy job that awaited me would never propel me to such heights so I decided to make the most of it. The angles were tight, everything was a risk, but I ran point like I’d never done before and the situation was contained within fifteen minutes.

My mother stood in a corner, huddled under a foil blanket, with something akin to excitement in her wide eyes. She would be telling this story for years, that I was certain of.

In a way, thanks to my her, I got the perfect send off. Adrenaline. Excitement. The sense that even in my diminished capacity, I could still help. I wasn’t useless. I could do this.

After thirty-seven years of providing me with nothing but disappointment, it was the least she could do.

© hiptobesnark 2017

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