I passed a corpse on the way to work this morning. He was standing on the corner of Keil and Riverview smoking a cigarette. He wore a frown and a crisp black suit and every other moment consulted the gold watch he wore around his left wrist.
“Shouldn't you be, I don’t know, buried or something?” I asked.
“You would think so,” the corpse replied. “Unfortunately, my death came at a most inopportune time.”
“Yes,” I said. “I suppose death would be inconvenient.”
“Oh not for me,” the corpse said. “It came at a very good time for me. I was in a great deal of pain, you see, and death eased that considerably. No, it came at a very disagreeable time for the family I left behind. See, my youngest son is on holiday and simply can't tear himself away from his friends and his fun. My only sister is sailing the Caribbean and, given that I died during an extremely cold winter, has nothing appropriate to wear to a winter funeral. Can you imagine showing up at a funeral wearing nothing but a blue and white floral bikini? How embarrassing!”
“So you've not been buried yet because members of your family are on holiday and don't want to come back for your funeral just yet?”
“You make them sound so self-centred,” the corpse said. “I mean, it’s my own fault for getting sick and dying without first consulting their social calendars!”
“What are you going to do?” I asked.
“Why, I’ll wait until my burial is convenient for everyone, of course!”
“Sorry, but the whole thing seems very inconvenient for you.”
“Nonsense,” the corpse replied. “My calendar is completely free for the foreseeable future.”
He offered me a cigarette but I declined. “Those things will kill you,” I warned him.
“Tell me about it.”
I wished him well, all things considered, and continued on my way to work. Six weeks later he was still standing on the corner of Keil and Riverview, and if I'm being honest, he looked terrible.
published 21 June 2014