Note: A fellow Open Salon writer, Dom Macco, came up with an idea awhile back about a fictional character named “Carl” who has recently died. In the story, other fictional characters have been asked to prepare eulogies for Carl’s funeral, but each has little or no actual knowledge of who Carl was. The only thing anyone does know about him is that he was a good man. Dom and Alysa Salzberg selected other Open Salon writers who have kindly gotten together and written pieces in an effort to help put Carl together as a person. The following piece is a contribution to that larger work.
Testing! 1-2! 1-2! Is this damn thing workin’?
Well, slap my ass! Here I am in church talking on a microphone and lightning hasn’t fried me crispy yet. Still could happen, though, so get ready to duck, my bitches.
Before I start, just let me take a pause for the cause here…Anybody? Anybody? I’m sharing. Good for what ails you. Come on now! Get some guts y’all. I bet this is one of those damn dry bible thumpin’ counties since none of you are…Well, now, there’s a brave fella. Good for you, my brother! Sorry it’s not Stoli, but it’ll get you there.
Ok, people, I am here to...No sir, I would NOT like to sit down and I would caution you not to touch me again.
I am not drunk. I am pissed. Big difference, unless you are a Brit or something.
ANYWAY - I digress.
Hi, y'all, I’m Bernice.
I came here to bury this Carl.
My God, this here is one ugly son of a bitch, don’t y’all think? From his fake picture on the net, you’d have thought he looked like Clooney or someone. And who the hell told you he was a good man, mister preacher guy?
Ok, here we go.
I’ve buried about eight Carls. Every one of them was duded up in Sunday suits, wearing make-up probably the first time in their lives, and stretched out sportin’ a mortician’s grin just like this’n. Every Carl I saw lowered into his individual eternal dirt bed gave me comfort knowing someday I’d see my Carl wrapped up in a satin lined box too.
But none of them were my Carl.
Oh Carl, Carl, Carl! Bet you didn’t think I’d find you ever again, did you, you big bastard? I knew so much about you, and I knew nothing at all.
Y’see, I never met my Carl face to face. He was my web lover. We chatted and PM’ed and called each other on the phone, traded photos (mine real, his fake), every damn day, but never could meet up due to circumstances beyond his control. It was always something for him like a mandatory court appearance or an unexpected propane explosion or he had a molar he needed to pull out that would block our plans to meet.
Then one day, lucky me, a fantasy football pal of his was revenging on him and sent me a real picture of the real Carl, naked. I decided to ease off the relationship right then and there. Lordy, what an ugly mug. Among other things. Still wondering how his fantasy football pal even got the photo. - - -
Anyway, when I bugged him to pay back money I loaned him, he vamoosed from the internet, disconnected his phone and went off the grid.
But I had a hunch. I am not stupid, y'see.
I just knew my Carl would go slinkin’ back to his home town, change his last name and lay low living off what money his ever expanding internet stable of lonely pathetic women would send him. Cash. Wire. PayPal. Just like I did when I was his “one and only,” the scum bag.
Damn, that asshole could cry on the phone like someone was yanking out his short hairs one by one when rent was due. I felt so sorry for him sometimes.
He’d say mean greedy lawyers were holding his inheritance check, or someone stole his identity, or a bookie was going to break his legs and burn his man parts with lit cigarettes. All bullshit. But I, and a bunch of deluded web bunnies I didn’t know about, would pony up. He would be all “Oh, I love you, you’re beautiful, wonderful, my only love…I’ll pay you back, I swear” and crap. Butter wouldn't melt in his mouth!
If the cryin’ didn’t work, let’s just say that when you visit the Phone Bone Hall of Fame, he gets a gold medal mention, if you know what I mean. He was a genius at firin’ up some amazing long distance earth movin’, toe curlin’, howl at the moon……
Take it easy, Mister Father Pastor Rabbi Imam Whatever sir. What’d I tell you about touching me? Lay off! You just go sit down your own self and pray with your face all frowny and intense and everthing like you do. You're going to need it before I'm done with this... I’ll just keep that part to myself since we’re in church and all.
Anyway, I digress again. Your fault. Quit distractin' me damn it!
Even though he vanished, I knew Carl was going to die pretty soon anyway.
If you piled all his complainin’ up into one big festering load, it’d go something like this: His blood pressure was so high he was going to explode through a blow hole up top of his thick skull just like Shamu at Sea World. I'm surpised he's not levitatin' right up out of that casket right now the way he blew the numbers off a pressure cuff at the Piggly Wiggly.
He was one snit fit away from a super nova.
Also, he chain smoked unfiltered t’baccy and weed, drank tequila with the worm, and was the best 300 pound example of what a steady diet of Big Macs, pizza, and livin’ in the basement of his friend’s mother’s trailer home can make a man. He hated doctors like he hated salad so he never saw one. He even made a production out of swallowing Tylenol tablets, all gagging and coughing; as if anyone could’ve gotten their arms around his big pasty lard ass to do that anti-choking maneuver thingie.
Can you say dead man walking? Yeah, it’s funny. And it ain’t.
Once I figured out him out, it was too late. He was in the wind. More like makin’ wind, the big airbag asshole.
So, how I got here? I just started watchin' the obituaries and went to every Carl funeral in a 200 mile radius of his home town. Easy peasy. I figured it was a matter of time before he popped a vessel in his head or a psycho ex web betty stabbed him, and he’d end up in a XXL sized box like this’n.
I was right.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you my Carl.
See? Here’s that real photo of him naked. That’s him isn’t it? I’m thinkin’ it’s him. Well, I am positive it’s him, even if you ain't.
Excuse me a second while I get these cuff links and watch. He owes me.
Also eulogizing Carl: