As soon as the smoke from the funeral clears

Orlando, Florida. Aunt Beverly died on Monday and today is her funeral. All her life, she wanted to Entertain, but she never really got the chance. Since the earliest photo of her in 1955, her photos were never completely candid: she’s grinning, or hamming, or posing, or preening, for the camera and the nonexistent audiences behind it. Aunt Beverly could sing, but not as well as some, and she couldn’t dance much, or rather not at all, and opportunities for girls and women who sing some and dance less in rural West Virginia were slim, so as a result, said Troy her boy in her funeral oratory, “she missed her calling in life.” Over her later years, she developed fibromyalgia, which I am told, is a disease that was only so named starting in 1990. Before that it was usually referred to as “it’s all in your head.”  It’s a non-specific, general, fleshy, agonizing sort of non-specific pain, that covers your entire body and eventually just makes you want to die. Several years of fibromyalgia, and she wanted to, and she did. I expected Dad Bill to be a wailing mess, like when Grandmother Byrd died, but instead his funeral oration was coherent and loving and funny. He’s a lot more fun to listen to, now that he’s off the pills and booze. The cousins, Troy and Jeff and Dean, are all aerospace engineers. Jeff and Dean have military backgrounds as well. And so when Jeff and Dean got to the podium to give their oration for their dead mother, they began in dry to-the-point NASA tones: “I won’t rehash the previous details that have been stated about her…”  The Byrd family’s not Jewish, and thus we are all entombed within fine open silver-plated caskets, bedecked in white flowing pillows. Aunt Beverly was dead, but she was beautiful nonetheless, with flowing white hair and a snapshot beside her, where she is smiling widely and beckoning toward the camera and the invisible nonexistent audience. She was sent off in an ocean of flowers, a large poofing swath of overflowing bouquets of roses and a stack of pallid white fainting wailing carnations, and a show choir of blood-red poinsettias, and we all cried a fine and decent cry. Now she is dead, all her children are without a mother, and I am down one aunt.

I have come down with a screaming head cold, probably acquired from kissing a lesbian several days ago. Lesbians are highly infectious generally. Back to MCO and through security. A Georgia peach in a miniskirt is toodling a poodle through the metal detector. “My little dawg had to wait so lawng that he ended up makin a mess, raht thair, in the security lahn,” she tells me. “An I had to clean it up with tissues, and I was gawna thow it away, but the security lady said No, you gotta run that threw the metal detector.”

“Wait a minute,” I asked. “You’re telling me, airport security required you to run your dog’s shit through the metal detector?”

“Oh, yeah,” she said. “They wouldn’t let me thow it away.” I sneezed.

The walk down to the gate was twenty miles. I could barely breathe. I was sweating, my heart was pounding, and snot was actively running down my face onto my shirt. Yes, this is very gross, but this blog focuses on the facts and the facts are that snot was running down my face onto my shirt. And as I was toting and snotting down the halls of Orlando International Airport and looking the least hot that I have ever looked in my life, I spotted this chick reading In Style magazine and I fleetingly thought, Damn, I?m a model in that fashionable magazine. Whereupon I sneezed on her.

Leave a Reply