Sunday, July 19, 2009

Ten-In-One Part Two: "Do You Believe In Morticians?"

More cheese. I've got a weakness for this kind of nonsense...

Second Verse, Worse Than The First

This happened back when Mr. Blister lived over on tenth street and we had our music studio in his basement. On the fine and sunny Friday in question, he'd been dropped at my house by his wife for logistical reasons far beyond my comprehension, so we had to walk to the studio.

On the way, I spotted an interesting figure coming down the sidewalk toward us. She has a stagger in her gait, as if she might fall over. My eyes were better then, and I was able to see two things from a distance -- first, she was wearing a turban and dark glasses. Second, I wasn't able to guess what her race was. She was pink -- but it wasn't a shade of pink I'd ever seen on a human being.

She starts the conversation while she's still half a block away, just opens her mouth up and hollers, "Boy, do you believe in morticians?"

What I want to say is, "Believe in 'em? Hell, I've seen 'em," but before I can get my words in edgewise she hollers some more.

"I saw this on the TV news! Those morticians are making love to dead bodies!"

Now that I'm closer I can see that she is a piebald African American, her skin mottled in shades of bright pink and that pinkish tan that's labeled Flesh in a box of Crayolas. Her skin weeps serum, and a thick white fluid seeps out from under her sunglasses. Burns? A skin disease? Whatever it is, it doesn't look fun. This is someone who has some serious difficulties.

When she gets to us she grabs my arm and looks up into my face. When she speaks, it's still at maximum volume, and her voice echoes down the street.

"They fucking corpses, boy! What do you think of that?"

I pat her hand and say, "You get some of that in every profession. Somebody's always gonna have a sick motive. The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker..."

She lets go of me and cracks up. "Well, I just don't want that to happen to me. Think I wants to be cremated!"

The images that brought to my mind were less than attractive. A vivid imagination is sanity's second worst enemy. (Reality is number one.)

Mr. Blister and I walk on in silence for a while. He doesn't speak until it's safe to assume that the corpse-fucker lady is out of earshot.

"Holy shit," he says. "That really happened! I mean, it's not like I think you're a liar but I always figured you made that stuff up."

"Welcome to my world, man," I say. "Welcome to my world."

Up next -- Stewie the scar eater and Lobster Baby!


ninni said...

If an organism dies in a state of profound need or longing — one more severe than the standard-issue strife we all deal with — its soul may need assistance in order to be able to let go of its identity. Art, especially music, is the healthy, non-destructive means of encouraging this release. Art takes us out of ourselves; it does the same for souls.

what do you meen with this..from rudys blog

should we dye in a sertain Way

Sean Craven said...

Hey, Ninni!

Well, just to make it perfectly clear, this isn't my idea of what life and death are actually like -- this is part of the background for a novel that has lots of monster fights in it.

And it's there to explain some of the monsters.

The idea is based on the Asian concept of the 'hungry ghost,' someone who was greedy in life and suffers the torments of perverse hunger after death.

I expanded and shifted the idea a little bit in order to make it fit the themes of my story more closely.

In my novel, if someone dies with their lives uncompleted in a way that makes their lives wasted or tragic, they run the risk of becoming a ghost.

If that happens there are two ways in which ghosts can be removed from the world. The first is through an act of supernatural violence (and you'll have to read the novel in order to find out about that) and the other is through exposure to art of one kind or another.

Music is particularly effective, since (for the purposes of the story) souls are musical in nature -- they are singing balls of flame, and they can be caught up in rhythm, they can be brought into harmony.

The other art that will be shown at work will be a sculpted garden where souls can lose themselves and find themselves changed enough by the beauty around them to move on.

Again, this is fiction -- but it is reflective of some of my beliefs about life. I think we should always make sure the people around us know how much we care for them. I think that art does take us out of ourselves and acts to expand us. And I think there is something tragic and wasted in a life without purpose. The idea of the ghosts is just a way of dramatizing that perspective.

Also, I use 'em as an excuse for monster fights. Because I'm not writing a whole novel unless I get to write monster fights.

Sean Craven said...

And is it just me, or is there something kind of weird about the tone and subject of these comments when contrasted with the tone and subject of the post?


ninni said...

ΤΗΕ comment was actually yours in rudys blog. just forgot to mark " "The idea is based on the Asian concept of the 'hungry ghost,' 'someone who was greedy in life and suffers the torments of perverse hunger after death.'

i agree with this kind of, story. its impossible for me personally ever look any scary movies..but theoretically this is the thing..some of it near some kind of reality:)