With each handful of soil, or stub or two broken off a stick mixed in with a pebble; all that I toss on the pine slab below, I know will someday be me. As the debris, energized by the gravity I introduce, explodes on the coffin below, the soul in the grave down there should soon be transcending to be free.
I wish I could believe. That is why we are here. I wish I truly knew how the spirit lives apart from its fleshy bag. That is why I undertook this experiment. The truth to the meaning of life is not necessarily in purpose or design; it’s in knowing how the ghost flows and why it allows the body to rot as in the box below.
With my prayers done, I pause next to pray for her peaceful repose. An attractive girl, an aspiring musician whose performances are tonight limited to clanking glasses; and an avid Goth, whose only vices involve liquids and solids but of the recreational kind; a comely girl of twenty-one or so with deep green eyes; thick brown hair, and as smooth and shapely a set hips and as pleasing a bust as a man could ever dream for.
Sober or otherwise, no matter her manner of dress or hairstyle; she is the kind of girl, who on every glance will always trick a man into repeating puberty. She likes her cigarette breaks too. So in between her work of avoiding tending the bar she was hired to pour out, I could have simply slit her throat in the alley and observed. But I don’t have the stomach for all that blood and well, I do have some preliminaries in mind.
I did consider it though as she has the personality of a canker sore. But for a bag of pills she’s known to reciprocate enthusiastically in the front seat of a car, and that’s what I counted on. God gave her tits but not eyes in the back of her head.
Her passing out was swift, almost simultaneously after coming up for air. High from a mouth full of muscle relaxers and semen she was all gulp and didn’t put up much of fight over the rag fashioned in Chloroform.
Fitting snuggly into the coffin I built with all the scrap wood and metal I have been saving over the years; I felt some measure of vindication for having purchased a station wagon two years ago.
I had enough time to get to the burial site before screwing the lid down. It wasn’t until I started re-filling the grave that I first began to hear muffled screams, shouts, kicks and fists beckoning for release. You would think that being a Goth, lying in coffin would be a turn on.
Out on the far edge of town the work is industrial and anonymous and closes at five. One thirty in the morning wouldn’t draw a crowd let alone a single police car. Thick woods buffer the residential from this area and the flicker of a light would only be mistaken for a passing car on the highway.
With each handful of dirt I wait for her spirit to subdue her physical form. As I begin to rain down shovels full, I hear less and less. I am waiting to come face to face with her spirit. I am waiting to see an orb or a shadow burst free from her mortal slumber.
And I wait.
Perhaps I am too anxious. Perhaps I am too nervous to undertake such an important experiment.
But as it has been said ‘everything in time’.
By my third cigarette my aching muscles begin to soothe in the cool night dew. My sweat begins to dry and the voices finally stop. The pounding too is silent. I am disappointed that the only mist I see around the grave comes from my own breath. I am heartbroken that no light rises out of the mound of dirt.
The meaning of life then must squarely be in the present.
No matter, I have learned my lesson and accept death’s terms.
Following my rest and revelation I believe it will be time to dig my companion up out of the cold damp earth and bring her and the coffin back to the warmth of my home. But unlike the first time I met her, months before I chose her to aid me on this most important of scientific journeys, this time when I tell her I have nothing to offer other than undying love and respect, she won’t be so inclined to sneer at me and say ‘no’.
By Joseph J. Patchen