[Just had to write something, regardless of how silly or lame]
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It was a very short funeral – what was there to say about a boy who died terribly young at twelve years-old, leaving this world without any sort of meaningful accomplishments to define his existence? The priest, glistening beads of sweat ebbing down his wrinkled forehead, read monotonously from a small black book with gilded pages as his assistant, an alter boy no more than fifteen, cooled him with a small folded paper fan. I stood beside my mother, an abnormally tall woman at six foot three, her long fingertips wrapping tightly around my hand in condolence.
Marty and I had been best friends since kindergarten; well, since I was in kindergarten and he was in grade two. Though my mother found it odd that someone two full grades ahead would want to associate with younger, less mature children, she found Marty well-behaved, possessing an awkward innocence heightened by two fleshy dimples on his cheeks. Marty was also a strange boy. Once, when he slept over, my mother woke up at six in the morning and found him hanging over the bath tub, still in his pajamas, soaking his head in a cloudy pool of water.
‘It’s Epsom salt, Mrs. Morris. The worm that lives in my ear likes it.’
My mother, crossing her arms and taking a fat drag of her cigarette, was at a loss for words. Later, we’d learn that Marty was fond of phonebooks. He enjoyed opening them to random pages and selecting the strangest name he could find. Teodorowycz. Fung-Lee. Brewticka. Masslofski. These names appealed to Marty. One by one he would call them, putting his finger to his lips as he dialed the numbers.
‘Be quiet, Gordie. This is important stuff.’
‘Yes, is Mr. Plestick there please? Yes, I’d like the secret password, please. Yes, that’s right – the secret password. What? Oh, no, sir, is this Mr. Plestic at 555-8367? Then I have the right number! Now, if you’d be so kind as to give me the secret password…hello? They hung up!’
Marty firmly believed that one day someone would give him the secret password, and that this codeword would be the key. The key to what, he never said. He simply called and called and called, twice a day, until his unfortunate demise at the hands of a drunk ice cream truck driver.
I heard sobs and the sound of blowing noses as they lowered Marty’s casket into the ground. I tugged my hand loose from my mother’s grip, whose eyes were by now glazing over, and ran to the car. By the time I came back they were just starting to shovel the dirt onto the grave.
‘Wait! Wait!’ I cried, brandishing a thick yellow phonebook over my head. With whatever force my chubby prepubescent arms could muster, I knifed my way through the black throng of people and threw the phonebook into the grave. My mother, upset at losing our only phonebook, ran to my side.
‘What’d you do that for?’ she growled. ‘We only get one of those a year.’
‘Marty always liked phonebooks,’ I responded, smiling.
‘Who’s he going to call, Gordie? He’s dead.’
Realizing my error, I took one large step and dove in after it. Someone had to get the secret password, after all.
"Imperious, choleric, irascible, extreme in everything, with a dissolute imagination the like of which has never been seen... there you have me in a nutshell, and kill me again or take me as I am, for I shall not change."
From his Last Will & Testament, Marquis de Sade