Archive for July 11th, 2011

11th July
written by amber

At the Wrong Funeral

Dennis was late. He’d had trouble finding the hall, located in a part of the city unfamilar to him. Not in the best sort of area, in his opinion. The hoards of ethnic people on the street emphasized the change his country was going through, a change which disturbed him. But he knew that Owen, if he was still alive, would quote some statistics proving that immigration is good for business.

Someone at the front of the hall was speaking as Dennis pushed through the double doors, and a number of mourners swivelled to stare at him.  He didn’t recognize a single face. The man at the front was wearing some kind of flowing peachy-coloured robe, as were many in the congregation.

By the time he realized he was at the wrong funeral, a number of people on the last pew had risen to allow him to slide in and take a seat. It would be too embarrassing to ask them to get up again.

“Would anyone else like to say a few words about Ryushin?” the priest or whatever at the front asked.

A woman in a peachy robe rose and said, “Ryushin, or Owen, as I knew him, was the kindest, most wonderful man I ever met. He never closed his heart to me, even after I divorced him, and when he found enlightenment, he shared it with me.” She broke down and cried then, as Dennis slumped in his pew, mind literally boggled.

Owen – enlightened? Owen – the peachy-robed figure in the large photograph that Anna-Lucy now wept in front of?

Yes, Owen was – had been – a good man, but he also had been the toughest-minded CEO in the country, whose abiding principle had always been the bottom line. Hadn’t it? Things had changed in the last ten years or so. Dennis had put it down to mellowing. Success achieved to an incredible degree, Owen could afford to be more generous.

But it was unbelievable that the man had been sneaking off to chant or meditate or whatever these people did, that he’d changed his name, that he had this huge number of friends not one of whom was from the world of business and finance.

They’d played golf together, they used to spend time in bars until Owen swore off alcohol, which maybe should have been an indication, but Dennis thought it had been for health reasons, they’d known each other for years. Dennis knew he’d kept some secrets from Owen, but nothing like this.

It was true – you never could really know another person.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story posted every day on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section.

“At the Wrong Funeral” is one of the plot ideas I wrote down for myself when I first conceived of this project.