Risen from the Grave
by Tony Owens
the sweat from his brow. The mourners had gone;
the priest was back in the rectory. Time for work.
One shovelful of dirt on the coffin lid
the dull thud of finality, though Paedric was not
in a philosophical frame of mind this morning.
The high ambient temperature and a heroic intake
of whisky the night before had put paid to any
attempts at higher thinking.
Was that a
knocking? Surely not. John Francis OMalley
had been dead for two days. A perforated ulcer
finally did what any number of bookies, debt
collection agents, loan sharks and jilted lovers
had desired to do these past twenty or so years.
He turned to
grab his water bottle (though water in name only)
and was startled to see the aforementioned
OMalley sitting atop the casket, brushing
dirt off the lapels of his burial suit.
you old soak. Close your mouth. Its open
like the tomb of our Lord on Easter Sunday."
gravedigger glared at him. "Death certainly
has failed to put a civil tongue in your head.
You startled me."
tried to stand up. "Me back is killing me.
Its a bit cramped in there."
thankful they didnt cremate ye. Anyway,
what are you doing, showing up like youre
cock of the walk? Have you no sense of decorum?"
business. I think I might have left the gas on at
an eyebrow. "Be off with you. Youre
more irritating dead than you were alive."
your sense of humour, man? Im just pulling
your leg. But it is unfinished business Im
about. I need a favour."
Paedric said suspiciously.
do you have any ciggies on you. Im gasping."
Paedric took a
near empty packet out of his overall pockets and
handed it to the late John OMalley. The
latter smiled ruefully. "The doc told me to
give up smoking ten years ago and I did. What a
waste of time that was."
out with it. Whats the favour you be asking?"
you apologise to my darling wife for me. I
suspect she knew about me and Maureen from the
she knew. Dont be daft man. I have a second
cousin three counties away who knew about you and
sure thats true. And while youre at
it, could you have a word to Maureen too. She
didnt know I was married."
should whisper in St. Peters ear too.
Youll need all the help you can get where
He leaned over
to take a swig from his bottle and when he looked
back, he was alone again. He peered into the open
grave. Not a soul, literally. He sighed and
reached for his cigarettes. Gone!
blast you John Francis OMalley. If you
werent dead already
" He sighed. It
was getting dark. He started shovelling again.