Funeral Home Christmas Tree – a short story by John Ian Bush

It’s funny how people act in the coffee rooms at funeral homes. They’re all sad or they act sad out of respect. They all drink coffee and eat the cookies that they put out on the table, and they talk about how the body looks for a while, then they start talking about politics or the weather or some damn boring thing. It happens at every viewing I’ve ever been to. I even do it. I sat there the other night at my great aunts viewing and I nodded my head when people talked about how natural she looked and all that, and I ate three big cookie, then I looked down at my gut and was disgusted because I’m a damn glutton.

Anyways, two things happened when we all left the funeral home: the first thing was I offered to be a pallbearer. It was my great aunt Margret’s viewing, like I said, and my grandma said that me or my brother ought to be pallbearers. My brother’s real nervous about some things, one of them is being around dead people. He was afraid he’d drop the casket or something, so I offered to do it, but Margret’s niece said no. She told my grandma later that the reason she said no was because I looked like a clown because of my hair. I have long shaggy hair that I dye blood red.

The second thing is that I noticed the damn Christmas tree in the corner near the door in the lobby — it’s getting close to Christmas now. It was tall and green and decorated in bright

white lights and silver tinsel and big red bulbs with the names of all the dead people who were shown there that year written on them with permanent marker. I saw Margret’s name in the center.

I thought it was sort of strange, decorating the tree with the dead. I think that funeral homes are strange altogether. When you die everybody you ever met practically comes and cries and get all sad at the site of your leftover meat.

When I got back home I started over to my friend Darren’s house.

Darren and I have went to school together since fourth grade, but we just started hanging out this year because we’ve always ran with different crowds. His friends are the kind of guys that wear gym shorts all year long and lust after Air Jordans and Beats Headphones and try to punk out everybody so they can feel tough. Plus, we’ve never had any classes together or anything until this year, but Darren’s probably my favorite friend.

The only problem with us hanging out is that he smokes a lot of weed and he’s got me smoking a lot too. Last weekend we blew fifteen bucks on weed, smoked it all and stayed up until four listening to The Beatles.

He’s never listened to much music outside of rap, so I’ve been trying to show him some good stuff. He always acts like he likes it, but he’s probably just entertaining me. He’s probably just telling me he likes it because we’re friends and he’s nice. Darren’s a real nice sensitive guy under all that wanna-be-thug shit he’s always doing. He’s nicer than me in a lot of ways, like when he’s listening to rap and I don’t like it, I tell him and bitch until he turns it off, and when he turns it off, he isn’t even mad about having to doing it because he’s real considerate. I wish I was that considerate.

Anyways, Darren and I ended up going down to the cemetery and smoking a fat joint. I told him about the funeral home Christmas tree and he said that the funeral home was retarded.

“They won’t be putting my name on some damn bulb,” he said. Then he talked about the rapture through the rest of the cemetery. He told me that we weren’t going to have to worry about funerals because we weren’t really going to die because we were going up in the rapture. Darren was always talking about the rapture. He never went to church, but he had all the faith in the world that the rapture was going to happen at any minute and he had all the faith in the world that the two of us were going.

He told me once that I’m the only friend he likes to talk to about the rapture. It was probably because I’m the only one

who will even listen. I don’t believe in the Bible, but I don’t mind talking about Bible stuff if I care about the person doing most of the talking.

If Heaven exists, Darren will go because he’s nice and sensitive. If there’s a Heaven, Margret’s there because she was a real sweet lady. It’s a nice idea, the idea of Heaven, I mean. I guess I’d rather float up to a cloud kingdom than to get old and die and be buried in a boxes.

Anyways, I’m not sure why he thinks I’m going to Heaven.

Once we got out of the cemetery, we saw this old tin can in the middle of the street, and the street was empty because it was about nine at night or later and it was cold and everybody besides the two of us were inside around heater and wrap in blankets, probably. Anyways, we started kicking the can down this alley and we kept falling down and laughing because we were stoned.

We kept on kicking the can down the alleys until I had to piss. I went behind this old white shed, unbuttoned my pants and

unzipped and started pissing. There was this Oldsmobile behind me, it was parked on the other side of the alley, I thought it was empty because it was dark and I couldn’t see through the

windows. Well, somebody was in it, and halfway through my piss, whoever it was  beeped the horn and scared me half to death,

and I ended up pissing down my leg. I zipped up my pants and Darren and I got the hell out of the alley as fast as we could. It was funny, though. I didn’t even mind the piss on my leg that much.

Published by


Modernist writer and poet.

2 thoughts on “Funeral Home Christmas Tree – a short story by John Ian Bush”

  1. Sheesh, made me shiver to think of my name being on a Christmas bauble when I eventually pop my clogs……no thank you very much. This was a brilliant read.

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.