Saturday, July 16, 2011

Entry #37

Death Day
by Charlene Watters


Today is July 15. Death day. My dad was first. He died nine years ago. Aunt Jessica was next, six years ago. Five years ago, Uncle Jeremy died. All on July 15. Dad and Aunt Jessica were taken by disease, but Uncle Jeremy's demise was odd in the extreme. Do you remember the man in Alberta who was decapitated by a flying manhole cover? That was Uncle Jeremy.

Dad has four more siblings left. They were pretty freaked at Uncle Jeremy's funeral. Twice is a coincidence. Three times makes it true. Once some time had passed, though, the old Shalako humour started seeping through.

They started having death day events. I went last year. Dinner conversation was somewhat twisted.

Uncle Jack: "You know if I get the news that I have something terminal, I'm going to off myself on death day just to keep the statistics interesting."

Aunt June: "Well, if I get that kind of bad news, I'm going to pick any day but death day to end it. Time to break the chain."

Aunt Jennifer: "Oh Juney, you're such a stick in the mud. I'm tempted to put a pillow over your face on the day, terminal illness or no terminal illness."

Aunt June: "You would commit murder just to keep a statistical anomaly going? You are so sick."

Uncle Joe: "Lighten up Junebug. No one's going to kill anyone."

It's almost midnight. Looks like they made it through another year.

Wait – I hear the phone.

Shit.

22 comments:

Aerin said...

OMG, I can SO hear my siblings and I having that conversation.

That's my new personal motto: "Would commit murder just to keep a statistical anomaly going."

SzélsőFa said...

aw, this is creepy and funny at the same time... ;)

j a zobair said...

Great sense of humor in this. I love their banter. And that ending--I'd hoped they'd made it through!

Joni said...

Macabre humor. The dialogue makes the piece. I really like this one.

Precie said...

This seems so real to me. So sad about the end...I keep hoping the pattern will break.

Clara said...

Priceless!!

Mikki said...

Oh, the humor of death. I agree with the other reviewers; the sibling banter was priceless. Great use of dialogue to emphasize an interesting twist.

Thanks for sharing!

Aimee Laine said...

Wait – I hear the phone.
Whoops. ;) Traditions just can't be broken. :)

Peter Dudley said...

I've nothing to add beyond what the other comments say. Great dialog, strange situation, killer ending.

fairyhedgehog said...

I loved the dialogue in this; it's just how people really talk (but funnier). And the ending - we're not totally sure it's happened again, it could be anything, even a wrong number. But it probably isn't.

This was fun to read.

Dottie (Tink's Place) said...

Some traditions are never meant to be broken. Death Day appears to be one of them. Made me laugh.

Dottie :)

(loved the last line!)

Jade L Blackwater said...

hee hee! Such a great story!

My only, tiny suggestion is a single word choice in here:

It's almost midnight. Looks like they made it through another year.

For the narrator to say "they" instead of "we" makes me think that s/he is in on the gag and is exempt from the curse, or is somehow a dead/undead observer. Just a thought...

excellent story, this one made me laugh.

bluesugarpoet said...

Flying manhole cover - I love trying to imagine just how that transpired! I love your take on the prompt. :) Jana A.

Old Kitty said...

It's brilliant that I'm worried whose turn it is this time round! I hope it's not June - I like her!

Thank you for such a wonderful story - I;m hooked! Take care
x

Richard Levangie said...

It sounds like you've been eavesdropping on my colorful family. Terrific dialogue!

C Sonberg Larson said...

I like this story! The last lines leave you with that "Oh no!" feeling.

Aniket said...

I'm just so glad I didn't miss reading this. I'd lost track of what all i've read and what are remaining. I'm trying to catch up now.

I absolutely loved the dialogue here and I'm a sucker for dialog driven fiction. Of the one's I've read so far, this surely makes to my top 5.

Thanks for such a fun read.

JaneyV said...

Charlene - it's like a typical 2-drinks-in conversation in my family. I think the dialogue is perfect. I love the humour of this piece. Well done.

Michael Morse said...

This is one of the first I read, must have forgotten to leave a comment, glad I came back, i really liked the way the family deals with this, so true!

rocky wing said...

"Do you remember the man in Alberta who was decapitated by a flying manhole cover?" this is when i knew it would be one of my favorites. so many great words in it--a perfect image yet still enough holes for us to be imaginative. and how you placed it as a question gave it infinite power. the twisted conversation was great.

Charlene said...

I just wanted to say thanks everyone for commenting. I really appreciate the feedback. @Jade: it's funny, I never thought of the curse as applying to the whole family - just the one generation. Maybe the phone call is about a cousin or a sib. Yikes!

jason evans said...

What a delicious story idea! I love the family dinner conversation. Solid writing.

Congrats on Forties Club!