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April 13th 2009 print

Michael Connor

Tracey’s funeral

Sad news, I’m afraid.

I saw Tracey the other day. She was looking very well. She’d been to a funeral. It was very nice, she said.

Seems it was a friend of her mother’s who had died. One of those bloggers she associates with on that funny site she gets into at the library. I asked what she died from and Tracey said the doctor said it was called “explosive vitriol”. Female bloggers of a certain age get it. Menopause, blogging and then “explosive vitriol”, said Tracey. It seems bilious acids just build up and up and then explode internally. A lot of them go off with it in the blogging season, said Tracey. When was that? I asked. After life, said Tracey.

The funeral was at the new funeral parlour. The one that’s up behind the old Mary Magdalene Retirement Village and Hospice. That’s run by the Hari Krishnas now. They bought it from the Catholics when they closed down. Anyway, the funeral parlour had run an opening special on the internet and the lady blogger had bought a special introductory package just before she died. It was very convenient, said Tracey, otherwise no one would have known what to do with her left over bits.

Tracey’s mum really enjoyed the ceremony. She always does. She’s got Alzheimers and had forgotten why they were there but enjoyed the outing.

It had been three weeks before the lady blogger was found. She dropped off over her keyboard when having a blazing row with another blogger who had called her a “cultural pastiche”. The ambulance drivers had to use an airtight thing like a big Tupperware container to carry her away for the autopsy, Tracey said.

She didn’t have a family and there wasn’t a DVD of her life to play at the funeral. The funeral directors were very thoughtful about that. They put on an old DVD left behind from a funeral the week before. It was very interesting, said Tracey. It was the life story of an old lady who had died. She had lots of kids and had belonged to the CWA. It was very informative and even had a recipe for pumpkin scones using butter milk.

Things got a bit messy though when the soundtrack played Land of Hope and Glory around the bit where the dead old lady had been sent an email by the Queen for her ninetieth birthday. Tracey’s mum, who had been pretty well behaved up to that point, insisted in standing to attention and singing along. She was word perfect, said Tracey. Which is pretty remarkable because most of the time she doesn’t remember her own name when Tracey wants her to sign withdrawal forms at the bank.

The coffin sounded especially interesting. It was part of the cut price deal and was a special cardboard biodegradable one. Environmentally friendly, said Tracey. They’re made by a local bikie club who got a small business grant to set up a co-operative in the old video shop which went broke. They employ recently released offenders from the maximum security up the road and train them in cardboard coffin making to help them reintegrate into the community.

Unfortunately, the blogger lady must have defrosted in the heat and Tracey said the cardboard started leaking a bit while the DVD was playing. There was a sort of damp oozing stain on the side that kept getting bigger and bigger. It was a relief when it was over, said Tracey.

Anyway, some bloggers from the next suburb had turned up. They wore Birkenstock sandals and pilled pullovers (over their jamas). It was very interesting, said Tracey. They made a guard of honour with their open laptops when the dripping coffin was carried out to the incinerator.

Sad thing life, isn’t it? said Tracey. Not at all like you read about on the net.