I tried a new ortho. mattress…rubbish! Still can’t sleep, and my back is killing me! Desperate, I walked into ‘CROOK BROS. UNDERTAKERS’ located in the Goldhawk Road, London, W11. Business must have been slack for I only smelled life and not death.
“Can I help you Sir?” a young-looking mortician asked.
“Indeed you can,” I replied. “I need a coffin off of you.”
“My condolences Sir. Might I enquire as to who has passed?”
“Err, no, you don’t understand,” I said. “NO one has actually passed away.”
“A member of your family is ABOUT to then?”
“I have no family,” I replied. “I was suckled by a jackal and the jackal has since been released back into the wild. So you see, I am quite alone.”
“Then what precisely can I do for you?”
“I told you,” I said. “I require the use of a coffin!”
“Use of a…”
“I mean, I’ll BUY one.”
“Then if you would like to follow me into our showroom?”
“Oh, I would. I certainly would!” I did too.
Why I could hardly contain myself. What a place to have a hard-on! There were coffins to the left of me and coffins to the right of me. The place was one big COUGH‑in; Oak, Rosewood, Walnut, Cedar, Knotty Pine, Mahogany, Acacia, Cyprus, Lebenham and Olive Wood. The rain forest at my fingertips, I was spoilt for choice.
“I’m impressed,” I said, and truly I was. “Got anything ASBESTOS lined?” I got that look again. “Hey, I’m a heavy smoker,” I replied.
“Naturally Sir, some models are more expensive than others.”
“Well,” I said, “One cannot put a price on comfort!” Introduced to the Eternity ‘Slumberland’ range of caskets, I viewed the ‘Cumberland 2002’, the ‘Windsor 1160’, the ‘Kensington 560’, the ‘Knightsbridge 420B’ and the ‘Mayfair 1220A’. They SHOUTED quality. How come dining room furniture isn’t made to the same high standard, huh? Running my fingers along a lacquered Rosewood casket, I asked the mortician if he minded me trying one out for size. I slipped off my loafers.
Twenty minutes later and I made my choice. It would be the Kensington 560 knotty pine casket for me. Why knotty pine? It matched the skirting in the bedroom.
Home…garage…coffin…stairs…bedroom. Phew! Tired, I retired to the coffin for three whole days and three whole nights only to spent most of the time tossing and turning. Can a casket be TOO comfortable? I would have tried counting sheep, but after that last foot and mouth epidemic, I couldn’t find any. Necessity still being the mother-f**ker of invention, I decided I needed something with a HISTORY attached to it.
Dressed in old clothing, I headed off towards the Spanish and Portuguese Jewish Cemetery, located in Merton, Surrey. After my father Jack had cremated himself in his laboratory his remains had been buried there, but unable as I was to recall the exact row and plot number, I was unable to pay my respects to my former Daddy.
Equipped with shovel and torch, I hid behind a headstone and waited for the conclusion of a stone setting ceremony. Who was under my feet? ‘Here lies ‘Little Mo’ Finklebaum, the Mozart of the accordion. Both his good counsel and his music will be sorely missed by family and friends alike. God bless Mo. Death is only the beginning.’ That’s easy for the living to say!
Once the Kaddish had been recited, the deceased’s family members and friends each placed a pebble on the grave and then left. With nine horizontal lines and nine vertical lines the set up reminded me of a Wei-Ch’I board (Go). But for the fact that the pebbles were indistinguishable, I would have made a winning move.
It was dusk and I worked swiftly. Little Mo could stay buried. I dug up plot number 12, row 76. As luck would have it the casket was knotty pine too and by the looks of it, woodworm free. Easily embarrassed in social situations, I hoped the occupant and I were not acquainted.
I jumped into the grave and prised open the lid. The deceased was thin, very thin. It was in fact a skeleton. Highly inappropriately, he or she had been buried with a copy of Dickens ‘Great Expectations’, together with a gold pocket watch and a carton of Benson & Hedges, no lighter. It bugged me how so many smokers carried cigarettes, but no lighter.
Closing the lid, I lifted up one end of the coffin. Leaning it up against the grave wall, I got hold of the other end, lifted that up before pushing the casket out of the grave. Jumping out, I regarded my new sleeping quarters. My, my, it could have been made to measure for me! Opening the lid again, I tipped the skeleton into the hole in the ground. As luck would have it a kneecap came adrift and landed by my feet. It appeared to be titanium. Buffed up, I decided it would make for a useful ashtray. Hey, a smoker can never have too many ashtrays about the house. Having re-filled the grave, I dragged the coffin back to where I had concealed my car.
Home…garage…coffin…stairs…bedroom! Boy, I was getting good at it. Busying myself with a can of ‘Mister Sheen’ and a rag, I shined my bed. I’d fit a draft excluder and a cat flap at some later date. Task complete, I placed two 75 litre bags of compost inside it to act as bedding and finally got to try the coffin out. Initially I was unimpressed. It felt…LUMPY. I reached into my pocket, took out the ashtray and threw it out onto the carpet. Result? FAN‑BLOODY‑TASTIC! Coffiny was comfortable and roomy. With only one previous occupant, and with probably less than one hundred miles on the clock, (from the mortuary to the graveyard), I felt I had acquired a bargain. Well, I had. David slept like a log.