It was a somber affair. The coffin was ornate and the attendees were adorned in black as befitting the occasion. The floral arrangement on top was also particularly well done. And the coffin itself was, among other things, far too short.
Im tellin ya, its teenager in there, Fred said, pointing at the coffin.
Oh, it is not, Cathy dismissed him with an impatient wave. Standard length for a teenager is exactly 3 inches longer than that one.
Fine, its a very short teenager. Fred turned to nudge his friend Roger in the ribs. Look here, Rodge, I bet you a fiver. He took off his hat, putting the bill in it.
Roger gave a small sigh and reached in his pocket for his wallet, muttering. You know, this was a lot more fun when we could actually use the money. He looked in the wallet. I only have a ten.
Ill owe ya, then.
Yeah, youll owe me, Roger muttered again, putting the ten in Freds hat along with the five. Theyve been shuffling the same 15 dollars around for 67 years now. It seemed no one who had come through here in that time had change for them.
Youd think being dead would put a stop to most disgusting habits, Cathy said irritably, shooting Fred an annoyed look. Fred merely smiled.
Miss, bein dead aint gonna stop me from gambling. Its one of the fundamental joys of life, it is.
Well, since life itself is no longer available, youd think its joys would leave too.
Fred scowled, taking a deep breath to retort about how insensitive Cathy was being, him being only recently dead in the last century, and whatever happened to her kind and generous nature, hed like to have that lady back if thats alright. But he was cut off by Rogers simple statement of the possibly-teen is coming now, and Fred wheeled around to look at the funeral. The last bit of dirt was finally hitting the mound, and, sure enough, a young man emerged, vaguely transparent. He looked at the people around the grave, and then looked at the tombstone, and finally at his feet.
Aw, shit, he said.
Hey! Look here, kid! Fred yelled over. The boy looked over to the three vaguely transparent, well past middle-aged people sitting comfortably on a bench near the ceremony. Fred motioned for the boy to come over, and reluctantly, the kid left behind his recent grave. Look here, kid, how old are ya, anyway?
Uhm, fifteen, the boy said, then shot a confused look back to the funeral. Um, look, I just found out I died, so if its alright with you, Im gonna go wander off now.
But your coffin, it was three inches short of the standard size! Cathy protested.
Was it? the teen asked sourly. I hadnt noticed.
Roger sighed. Look, were here to welcome you. Whats your name, kid?
Milo. And youre doing a terrible job of it, by the way.
Yeah, and you just cost me a fiver. I figure were even, Roger said, being handed the five by Fred who put his hat happily back on, the ten still in it.
Right. So, welcoming committee, what do I do now?
Fred shrugged. We wait.
For the day we all wait for, Cathy said grandly. The day we can reach the great
beyond. The day hiding at the end of the week.
And not Sunday, Roger said sourly. Id have been long gone if it was then. And probably still have my ten bucks, too.
Look, if yer that sour about it, Ill just give it to ya back, yeah? All you have to bet in is how long it takes this one, Fred pointed at Milo, ta figure it out.
Look, if its not Sunday, and its not Monday, how about midnight on Sunday? Its shown as a bunch of zeros on the clock, isnt it? Milo said irritably. Spending eternity in the company of these three wasnt looking too enticing. So try again then.
Huh, Cathy said. That
makes sense. That might be it!
Yeah, Roger said. Thats probably it. He didnt quite sound as excited as before.
Look, though, Fred said slowly. We got the Wednesday funeral to welcome too. And itd be irresponsible of us to leave that poor recently deceased soul to fend for himself.
Very, Cathy said.
And then theres the girl on Monday next, right? Roger added.
Havent you been waiting for this since forever, Milo asked.
Yeah, Roger said, smiling, but when you add to infinity, nothing really happens. Whats a few more days?
Weeks, Cathy corrected him.
Years, Fred said happily.
Right, Milo said uncertainly, and turned to look at his own grave. The flowers were pretty, at least. Fred tapped him on the shoulder.
Say, do you have change for a ten?