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Dear Drama, or, 24 hours in Purgatory

The Preamble
Strictly speaking, it was more than 24 hours, starting the night before. Or even the night before the night before, upon which hapless hour Elvis Diary phoned up and asked if it was possible for larians to cut a cd with the funeral tracks on it. He said yes, then discovered that his cd burner was up the swannee. Never mind, my brother could do it, no worries said the bro. I got round to my brother's place. He had no cds, only dvds - does that make a difference? Seems it does. OK, I thought, I would go back to my place and get some of Larians' blank cds. A quick phone call revealed that his cds might actually be dvds too.I began to wonder whether, when asked the question 'Can you burn a CD for me?' if one has neither a working cd burner nor blank cds, the correct answer might not in fact be, 'No. No, I am sorry, I cannot burn a cd for you.' For there is nowt wrong with a refusal given in enough time to find remedy...but that's not where I was. This was at 8pm Wednesday night,with the funeral at 3.30 the following day. The musical neighbours were out, the neighbours beyond them possessed no blank cds. According to my brother I was wandering up and down the street waving my hands in the air with one finger pointed upwards, softy lamenting 'I had one job to do...one job...' Personally I can't recall much about that moment. Sanity only returned after a taxi dash to the huge late-opening Tescos in Lewisham. Blank cds became bought cds became burned cds. We were fine. I went home and tried to sleep.

Drama Day

Words, Transport, Fabric, Flowers
Woke up early, got dressed, learned that Daft Bint had sent out a facebook message to all her friends banging on about how the day would be very hard for her because of someone at the funeral. Natch, it reached me pretty much the minute people saw it, and wanted to warn me that she was building up to some kind of maddened burst. I rolled my eyes a bit, but was more worried to find some sewing unravelled off my newly bought dress for the occasion. It was so new, I hadn't even taken it out of the bag. Aware that the tube was not working, and allowing an extra hour for everything, I decided that rather than trying to sew it myself - badly - I would take it back to the shop.

I missed the bus by seconds. The next bus only took me halfway. Found florist, time to buy flowers... only in the killing heat, with everything disrupted by the strikes, flowers were bound to suffer badly on public transport, and there would be no point spending £20 odd on blooms to have them ruined before the funeral. You can have them placed in this water bag affair, but the florists charge you extra - and sometimes quite a lot - for that. Q time finding flowers beautiful enough for him, but tuffenuff for hours on buses and trains. Florist helpful. It worked.

Finally got a bus to the shop. They had neither a replacement dress nor needle and thread with which to repair the glass bead. One of them dashed off to a Poundland, came back with needle and thread and repaired it herself. She took her time, but did it really well. This kindness may well have been a high point of my day.

Desperately Seeking Tooting, Shopping, Also More Words
Overland Lewisham to London Bridge, London Bridge to Balham, collapsed in the taxi at Balham, got to Elvis Diary's. In that time, I got texts and phonecalls: Could I bring wine for the wake, could I go to the restaurant shop in Tooting that does the excellent hummus and buy some for the wake, could I get two Turkish flatbreads for the wake, could I get a few bunches of blue flowers for the funeral, She Who Loves Him had left her keys in her yoga bag which she had left in the house, so she couldn't get in to get her dress, the lady was distraught, her mother-in-lawish was coming with the key, she came with the wrong key, less than 2 hours to go from Hampstead, she wasn't going to make it in time. Because she was one of the four queens, the service would have to be altered... None of these were huge issues but with the tubes not working and the buses slow because of congestion and the trains slow because they're rubbish, and the heat, by the time all was said and done and I was at Elvis Diary's house, I wanted to go to sleep.

Q comments about Daft Bint's cry for succour in a time of nothing much actually going wrong. I said something like, 'Oh not her wayj and pain again! Look, if it's so terrible, she won't be turning up to the party will she, cos it's optional - Oh wait, there'll be pies and wine, so she'll get over it somehow!' From the ear to the text, maybe I shouldn't have said it in front of Elvis Diary's guest, because it seems that the comment reached her. I don't hold the goss against people, they can't help themselves. What are we for if not the sport and amusement of our friends? But if I hadn't been exhausted, heat raddled, and very hungry having eaten nothing all morning, I might have been more discreet. It's not even fair really - it's not as though pies and wine are necessarily the most efficient Daft Bint bait - one would get faster results with a fiver on the end of a fishing line. But I didn't say that. My manners resumed on the application of tea. Another cup and a spot of breakfast, and I'd have been positively saintly.

The Funeral, and Downright Bad Behaviour
Still in the food free zone, twas time for the funeral itself. We all looked nice, She Who Never Visits turned up with headbands that looked thoroughly charming, so we all wore them. The funeral music worked, the flowers worked. People always take longer than you think they will though, and it's hard to gauge when you have half an hour and that's it. We were already running late when the strangeness began to manifest behind her eyeballs. There was supposed to be a hymn to Hecate...for no reason, Mark was not a devotee of this goddess...but Daft Bint is, and Mark would come to her Hecate celebrations which also fall on Daft Bint's birthdays. This gave her license to bamble on happily about herself and how her birthday falls on Hecate's feast day and and and... it had nothing really to do with Mark, and shouldn't have been in the service anyway, but it added to the delay and we had to cut his best friend's eulogy out completely.

After the ceremony, we were all leaving and everything had been packed away, when one of the crematorium staff came up to me with a book. 'This does not belong here...' they explained kindly but sternly. It was a copy of Daft Bint's self published collection of spells and photographs, and makes mention of her workshops. She had taken the opportunity to leave a little marketing flourish in the place where you find no business cards. The crematorium does all sorts of funerals, though it is ostensibly Christian, and it is very tolerant, but this was highly inappropriate. I apologised to them, and just thrust the thing into her hands, because no words came to me, beyond, 'Yours I believe.'

Happy Ever After
The evening was sweet. Bubbly flowed, food was munched, all seemed happy. Best friend, unfettered by time and decorum, and enhanced by wine, said everything he wished to about Mark, including the giant penis story...Mark's sister was warned in advance and laughed like a drain at it. She and her lovely husband invited me up to the Island of Tiree where they live; a place of wild hares and seals. It sounds truly beautiful.

And now it's done, all done. Mark, I have to leave this story now, I have to come back to my own life. We did what we could do and I hope it was enough. May you be eternally happy, and if you ever look back on us, with all our quarrels, our follies and our mistakes, remember it was a hot day, the tubes were on strike, and we were just a bunch of idiots who loved you.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153044289351172&set=p.10153044289351172&type=1&theater

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
yapman
Jul. 10th, 2015 08:31 am (UTC)
The love you had for Mark has come through beautifully in your writing. The madness of all the people who loved him, as well.

Thanks for sharing this with us.
smokingboot
Jul. 10th, 2015 08:33 am (UTC)
Oh we are just a bunch of lunatics! But thank you for these words, you are very kind. And we did love him X
yapman
Jul. 10th, 2015 09:13 am (UTC)
I sometimes think your life would make an excellent SitCom, in the style of Episodes, or Miranda.
smokingboot
Jul. 10th, 2015 09:23 am (UTC)
Thank you!
That's real flattery Yapman, I love it - Miranda is so clever! :-D Never seen Episodes though...

Edited at 2015-07-10 09:24 am (UTC)
yapman
Jul. 10th, 2015 11:19 am (UTC)
Re: Thank you!
Episodes is brilliant, I highly recommend it.
nyarbaggytep
Jul. 10th, 2015 12:59 pm (UTC)
I am glad it went as well as it could - and wish him peace.
smokingboot
Jul. 20th, 2015 10:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you Cam. He probably wants some peace from us!
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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