Wednesday, October 08, 2014

The Skeletal Couple--part 2 of 2--Copyright Kyi May Kaung

The Skeletal Couple--
excerpt from my novel 2131.
Copyright Kyi May Kaung

I combed the cemeteries of the New World, and finally I found them right near me.
Right at Amenhurst cemetery, a block from where I lived.
There they were, Rust and Rawe.  They were quite amenable to talking business with me, a living person.
At first I was quite nervous, not so much because they were no longer living, but because they were both from a different time and place, so to speak.  And perhaps they were followers of Christ, and that was why they were still around in their original forms, awaiting the Judgement Day, whereas in my case, as a Buddhist, still being around like that in Samsara would be considered a kind of Limbo.
If we were still revolving in different reincarnations in Samsara, the Whirlpool, then we would never be free. 
Both Rust and Rawe tuned into my thoughts instantly and started to laugh.
Like couples who had lived together a long time, they looked alike, I mean, much more so than all skeletons look rather alike.
They were about the same height and build, only she was much shorter.  They still retained what looked like their original hair and teeth, though Rawe’s red hair now looked sort of coppery.  Rust’s black hair was faded and streaked with the white hair he had when he died.
Their laughter came directly into my head, not through my ears, and it sounded like rooks or crows cawing.
Rust placed his skeletal arm affectionately on her shoulder.  I could see his wedding ring, and looking at her hand, did not see hers.
She said, “I had to leave it behind with Berm customs when we were deported.  I could not get it off.  I was so distraught.  Finally, I got it off and left it with our embassy in Berm to send it on later, but the man I handed it to died, and we never got my ring back.”
“Not that it matters,” Rust said, “We’re hitched together for life, I mean, death.  Death did not us part, ha ha.”
Rawe struggled out from his embrace, set her jaw firmly, and stalked off. 
He walked behind her, aping her walk, caught hold of her hand and brought her back to the big tombstone with the stone angel on it near which I was standing. 
They even walked alike, with the top part of their skeletons in a sort of chic slouch, their hip bones thrust out, the way hippies in the 1960s used to walk.
To make me understand they were just joking, they threw their heads back, cuffed each other under the chin and chortled with good humor. 
Then they fell back on some straw littered over a grey tomb.
“To cushion our old bones, dimwit,” Rust shouted over at me.
I firmly clamped my open jaw shut.
They were a pile of tangled bones for a while, rattling with good humor.
Finally, Rust, as the man, took charge again.
He wiped his right eye socket with the bones of his right hand, and his left socket with his left, and tried valiantly to get a hold on his own runaway sense of humor.
Finally, he sobered up enough to stop shaking and rattling.
“What can I do for you, Dr. Khine.”
“Fire away,” Rawe said.
Looking at her bones, I got a sense of what a great beauty she must have been in life.
“And with my red hair, I eat men like air.”
I found it hard to start.
“I know no religion condones death or suicide,” I began, “I would not ask this except that we are fighting a losing battle and—”
“No need to explain.”
“Well.  Well, I need your help in compiling a hit list.”
“Hit list.”
They did not seem at all perturbed.
After all, they were already dead.
What could hurt them further?
“I know you must know a whole lot of people,”
“Correction, the remains of what was once people.  The ghosts.”  Rust corrected.
They looked like very lively ghosts to me.
Handling their retirement well.
“I need your help with the lists.”
I did not think they would agree so easily.
They said I did not need to show them a sample contract.
In fact, it was U.G. or underground work anyway, (they laughed some more at this), so why bother writing anything down.
They said they’d start collecting data pronto.
I had not known all the other occupants of the above-ground crypts and underground graves were eves-dropping on our conversation.
When I did high fives with both Rawe and Rust to celebrate our agreement, a whole forest of skeletal arms rose out from everywhere and shouted,
Copyright KMKaung

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