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I

The Funeral


Tom’s funeral was dreary and desolate, with the attendance containing that of Gillen, Jarvis, Cornelius, Courtney, and the priest giving the short and positive eulogy of the excellent life, which was that of Tom’s and his fifty-two years of loyal residence to Copeland. Oh Copeland, a city of many loyal residents, it would seem to have a spell that would make the people unable to leave. Nothing grand, nothing original that could not be exceedingly greater than any other city, nothing clever, nothing masterful, nothing beautiful, nothing. So it would seem to be but empty and lost. Though it was everything still somehow. The most hidden of all contained diamonds in the ruff. The people had preserved for themselves, the greatest secret of all. Peace might be the reason? Maybe the tranquil silence of the community’s heart? No outcries, no battle, no confrontations among fellow residents; again there is nothing.
With a kerchief to her eyes and nose the entire procession to suffice and clear away the evidence of her cries, Courtney sobbed for the half an hour-long occurrence. Jarvis sat with his fist pressed in firmly with his chin as a prop to his head, and Gillen didn’t pay much heed to the entire ordeal for more than ten minutes. All that was on his mind was what to do? There seemed though to be an abyss for a place, which was for processing ideas; a great chasm in Gillen’s mind for not one spark could ignite the thoughts that would get them out of this mess in which they had now arrived.
“He was a loyal man to his city, and his wife Courtney, whom he was wed to for twenty-two years. He never was able to have any offspring, but the humble people of the Copeland community were his children. Everybody looked up to Tom as a father figure,” Gillen managed to catch the short piece of Tom’s eulogy before he lost his concentration again.
They had no way of making their money now, no way of paying the rent to their homes now, no way of purchasing foods now, and no way of buying for their own personal pleasures now. But of course that meant that there was every way to do nothing. Have nothing.
The funeral was soon over, and the natural thing that the sky should do was rain, which it did.
“You’ll be alright then, Miss Goosander?” Jarvis asked as he laid a concerned hand on her shoulder.
She thanked the priest and presented to him the handful of silver coins-that was required to be his cost- and turned to the two standing there. Jarvis had deep pity in his eyes for her, and Gillen was still simply sitting in his chair, hunched over and twiddling his thumbs.
“I’ll be fine,” she said as she shifted her gaze to the dead and yellowish grass of the graveyard. “Thank you,” she added hastily, trying to maintain her manners.
Jarvis nodded.
“If there’s anything that I can do for you, Gillen and I would be more than happy to lend our assistance to do what we can. Isn’t that right Gillen?”
Gillen made a noise that was more of a grunt than anything.
“Oh yes, of course.”
It was rather obvious that all of his attention was on the twiddling of his thumbs; but Jarvis knew him well, and he could see from his creased eyebrows and narrowed eyes that he was thinking more than anything else; something was troubling him, it read plain on his distressed and haggard face.
“I think I shall take my leave and return to my home. I will see you at work tomorrow,” Gillen said absentmindedly.
“We don’t have a place of work! Remember Gillen? Tom is dead! Do you remember that?” Jarvis said heatedly; even this was beyond the manners that Gillen had.
Gillen waved a hand carelessly.
“I must think Jarvis. I must think.”
Jarvis wiped away wet, tear-stained cheeks. He was rather vexed and his shaking fists gave him away to Gillen. He would watch what he said. Even in the void of his thoughts, Gillen knew that in order to upset Jarvis, it would require some very unwise thinking and would upset him always, for a good reason.
“Then go think,” Jarvis said starkly through his clenched teeth, his jaw muscles working away while clenching and unclenching. “But about what, might I ask?”
“This isn’t the only damn job in the city! I see the signs in the dirty old shop windows. Opportunities are not limited to just Tom’s shop!” Gillen replied, now just as enraged as Jarvis was. “Even three years ago I was well informed about this knowledge.”
“Maybe not,” Jarvis said just as snappily, “but I’m willing to bet my fortune over the fact that it is the only job that we could ever obtain!”
“Your fortune? Ha! Damn it Jarvis, we’re back to nothing! We have nothing now. We’re right back where we bloody well were three years ago.”
Jarvis puffed out his chest.
“I at least can maintain my dignity,” he said with pride.
“Your dignity? Jarvis, listen to me, people don’t consider men lying in the streets, begging for their pay to have much dignity, in case you have forgotten?”
Jarvis opened his mouth to reply, but hesitated. Then he thought for a moment on the words that rang around his head.
“I have not forgotten,” Jarvis said sadly. “I must go think,” he said suddenly. “Yes. Thinking will be the right thing to do.”
“Where will we meet tomorrow?” Gillen said casually now that the tone of the conversation had declined back to a formal chat.
“There’s a place at the corner of Clover and Main Street. We can eat there and discuss our situation. Hopefully we will be able to come up with something. Think it over tonight.”
“Sounds fine, I will.”



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The following comments are for "The Companions: Chapter 2: Part 1"
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