The Wax Conspiracy

Halfway before the ferryman

Friends waiting outside jostle for a look-see. The fat one stands on his dog's shoulders, angling over the shadows of the mausoleum but without luck. Shlurp and tinkle later and a boy runs out with two copper coins. Now they can hit the arcade. Now they can get one back over those damn carnies.

The boy hands the coins off to another who pulls out his pocket knife to open his other pants pocket holding a spoon. Spoon boy scrapes off the skin still attached to the coins and then hands them to Fatty. Fatty kneels down besides his dog and rubs the coins against her fur, cleaning off the remaining flecks of blood. This brings demulcency to the dog, calming her of the tongue-speak and adds a glistening to the coins. As good enough as near brand new, the three run off with the coins into town.

Hours later at the tomb, a woman shrouded in heels and wearing pangs of sweat leans in toward the door, pushing it ajar just enough to sidle through while breathing in. The moonlight coming in through the grated windows is enough to show the body is without its two coins. Disappointed, she takes out her pen and writes "Malacca Straits" on the inside of the lapel, crossing out "Humpty Doo". "Can't cheat a full ride on my watch," she says to herself as she squeezes back through the gap.

The crowd pours out as the last of the dry tears are capped back into their flasks. The man with the shirtless pants collects coins from pockets of those leaving for their desk jobs. As the last of the cars drive off, the gardeners tip over the barrels of compost into the grave, ready to fill again. Over behind the mausoleum plays a young stereo attached to a much older man as the two listen to Robert Johnson wail on about making a deal. There are no batteries and the cord was ripped off a long time ago. He stops the song as the gardeners finish topping the plot. He walks over and pats the top with a shovel, making sure it's packed in loose and tight.

The man with the shirtless pants walks into the parlour as he reaches into a sack by his side. The clink around the dark of the bag speaks of buttons and credit cards mostly, but he manages to pull out two copper coins. Peering down into the case he gently brushes aside the woman's bangs. Uncapping a fresh tube of wood glue he dollops a spot onto each of her eyelids before placing the coins.

There, he says, thinking to himself, maybe this poor sap will make it all the way.

Ethan Switch

Written on Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The Wax Conspiracy

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