From the Archives: The Death of the Father (1984)

in Culture

My father’s funeral was a cold hamburger. I sat across from the funeral parlor in Alhambra and had a coffee. It would be a short drive to the racetrack after it was over. A man with a terrible peeling face, very round glasses with thick lenses, walked in. “Henry,” he said to me, then sat down and ordered a coffee.

“Hello, Bert.”

“Your father and I became very good friends. We talked about you a lot.”

“I didn’t like my old man,” I said. “Your father loved you, Henry. He was hoping you’d marry Rita.”

Rita was Bert’s daughter. “She’s going with the nicest guy now but he doesn’t excite her. She seems to go for phonies. I don’t understand. But she must like him a little,” he said, brightening up, “because she hides her baby in the closet when he comes by.”

“Come on, Bert, let’s go.”

We walked across the street and into the funeral parlor. Somebody was saying what a good man my father had been. I felt like telling them the other part. Then somebody sang. We stood and filed past the coffin. I was last. Maybe I’ll spit on him, I thought.

My mother was dead. I had buried her the year before, gone to the racetrack and got laid afterwards. The line moved. Then a woman screamed, “No, no, no! He can’t be dead!” She reached down into the casket, lifted his head and kissed him. Nobody stopped her. Her lips were on his. I took my father by the neck and the woman by the neck and pulled them apart. My father fell back into the casket and the woman was led out, trembling.

“That was your father’s girlfriend,” said Bert.

“Not …

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Author: High Times / High Times

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