Posts tagged ‘Day of the Dead’


All Souls’ Day

by mdjb

“How was your Hallowe’en?”

“Well, as you know, I spent it with Edgar P. and James J. who might have been Friends of Bill W. in their dotage if they’d hung around long enough. It was Jim’s idea to get bashed at Byrnes’ place, but Edgar remonstrated because he said the last time he’d spent an evening there he woke up in some godforsaken hospital in Baltimore and couldn’t remember how he’d gotten there or why. Nobody would speak to him, but he overheard a nurse saying they’d found him in a heap on the street. It was his second out-of-body experience, and he never wanted to go through that again.
“Jim said we all owed it to him because none of us helped him celebrate the centenary of Bloomsday. And you were missed.
“‘Oh, let it go,’ I said, ‘It was five years ago, for godsake.’
“I had to go to the Cracked and Dry Relief Fund to borrow enough to relieve cracks and dryness. By two a.m. we had spent the last of it and they were asking us to leave. By three, when we began baying at the moon, we were forcibly ejected.
“I would just like to mention here – that C ‘n’ D Fund never truly refreshes nor gets refreshed. Once it goes dry, I’m thinking of changing its name.”

“To what? The Hopeless and Empty?”

“Funny. Anyway, Jim was complaining about never being paid attention when he had really important things to say, and damn, if Edgar didn’t choose that moment to invite us back to his place to try some wine he said he had in the basement. I declined. Jim said, ‘You see what I mean? No one ever listens.’ ‘I’m listening,’ I said, ‘But it’s hard when you get like that.’ ‘How d’yer mean?’ he asked, ‘Sounding verbose?’ ‘Cranky was more what I had in mind,’ I said and then he clammed up. He wouldn’t utter another word for about forty minutes. It was all mood and eye movement, and with the morose one in the other corner complaining about some thumping noise nobody else could hear, the evening was going rapidly downhill.
“There were signs that it would dissipate earlier than expected when Edgar raised a toast to all future indulgences being held in the same venue based on the expansive display of character on the part of the proprietor, just around the time he delivered another round and said, ‘Gents, these are on Marie Antoinette,’ and nodded toward the queen herself who was at that moment inhaling something off an extended fingernail. She smiled at us, but really, she looked like pre-reformed Drew Barrymore more than Kirstin Dunst. We all nodded thanks.
“After playing coquette from a distance for about twenty minutes, she finally walked over to the table and we got a better idea of why she’d bought the round. It was a cinch she was going to be going home alone. I think she may have been the first to start the baying.”

“So they asked you all to leave?”

“Well, near as much. We’d spent all we’d brought with us, and when Marie Antoinette realized none of us were buying she stopped also. Surprisingly, it was Edgar who silently motioned cajoling her to spring for another round, and then he brought up the basement stock again, but you know how he gets when he’s off the wagon; he’s likely to get you under it.
“Jim said Nora was going to kick his arse six ways to Sunday when she discovered what he’d done with the pin money, but he was baying as loud as the rest of us when Marie bent over and bared a mole-studded buttock toward all of us in the back. ‘Ah, a full-orbed moon,’ Edgar quipped, and I knew he’d used that somewhere else. ‘Helen,’ he said when nudged by Jim. ‘Reminds me of Helen.’ ‘What a thing to say, man,’ Jim retorted. ‘I meant your remark about Nora,’ Edgar said, when he thought he’d been misunderstood, but I could tell Jim was enjoying the reference as he’d first read it, the randy old bugger.
“So there we were whooping and baying and generally misbehaving when this big brawny Dickens character comes over and lifts me and Jim by our collars, drags us out the front door and deposits us on the pavement. I almost felt the corporeal urge to upchuck ‘You’ve passed last orders, mates,’ was all he said.
“A moment later, Edgar came out seemingly of his own accord, brushing invisible lint off his lapel. ‘Gentlemen,’ he says, ‘the invitation still stands.’ I passed again because I knew I had to visit Zelda this morning, but I think Jim was willing to test his fortitude, and Nora’s patience.”

“You’re a pip, Scott. Thanks for taking the mick off my hands this year.”

“So, what’d you get up to, Ernest?”

“Oh, my usual level. No matter what you might hear, I always get up to my level.