“My own viewing and they have the cojones to glue my eyelids shut.”
I turned away from his casket. The voice behind me wasn’t familiar. But the ire infused mirth in the words told my heart’s ear that the body being viewed by friends, family (and by pretenders trying to pass for the former) was only soulless meat.
“Want a spin?” he said.
“These bones were made for dancing,” I answered, but cocked my head towards the black and white teary gathering. “You know anything lively will piss them off in the current situation.”
“Fuck ‘em,” he said, extending a hand and spinning me around and around, until I was clad in a blood-red dress with spaghetti straps and tiny polka dots sprinkled blackly around the hem.
Two young women, one in tight white leather and the other in very little of anything, began to argue over his casket.
“He loved me,” said one.
“In your heifer dreams,” said the other, snatching a handful of straight blonde wig.
He picked me up by the waist, and we leapt-danced into the middle of the fight.
“Tell her you loved me often,” said one.
“I did,” he told her with a grin.
“Tell her you love me best,” said the other.
“I did that, too.” He winked before gliding us out of reach of clawing shrieks.
“You are still a scoundrel,” I said.
“I died, but I’m still me. Always me; no one changes me without my permission. You should know that, brujita.”
“I’m a big one,” I said, as I always did when he called me little Witch. Then I stopped laughing, and told him, “They’ve been trying to pray you into an angel.”
“Ha!” He twirled me closer to him. I grinned at his teeth made of light. “I would look ridiculous with wings. A flying Cadillac or no one’s getting miracles out of this baby.”
I was quiet for a while.
“Plotting, sister of mine?”
“Wondering about eyeballs and Universal Truth,” I said. “Someone said I might be able to find my answer, if I were to look into the empty fullness of your eyes. Would you—”
He opened his eyes before I finished asking. “Anything for you.” His eyes were full of books, frogs, and skulls surfing powerful wee waves made of letters.
“What does it mean?” I said.
“I know what it means to me.” He tapped the tip of a finger of light between my eyes; then pressed a hand over my heart. “But only you can see through your eye.”
“Will I remember this when I wake up?” I said.
“And who said you’re sleeping?”
I blinked until my brother’s casket came back into focus. The funeral home was still bursting with black and crying. A pretty woman in a white leather suit and gold stiletto shoes jabbed a finger at a mirror image of herself in a micro mini dress. I grinned (and perhaps cackled), letting the words dancing in my mind’s eye spin and spin until they morphed into this story.
for Imaginary Garden with Real Toads (Trolling The Cosmos for Breadcrumbs…). Corey, thanks so much for the opportunity to write a bit of fiction. I tried the ancient Aboriginal stone carving idea, a poem, an incomplete sentence, even a billboard! But this tale sooo wanted to be prose.
Dancing with a Ghost, by Lucille “Rusty” Umali