the friendly departed

one time i had a dream that it was the holiest all souls' day ever.

i even went to the cemetery to visit my friends who are still dead. i tried to get them as many indulgences as possible, so i intended to visit the tombs every day for nine days. on one of the days, the pope was there. he didn't make any speeches. instead, he let the dead people do the talking. 

they told me a story about a well known pianist. the dead people told me he was buried in that cemetery. they sent one of the posse to go get him. in about five minutes the two of them came back together from over the hill and around the bend by the tree. the pianist was shorter than i remembered. everyone called him "maestro" and joked about him being too busy tickling the ivory to have time to visit them. he laughed. then, they got him to play a popular song from back in the day. although the execution was excellent, he hummed while he played it. and i think that detracted from his performance.

it was nice to visit them, and they seemed to delight in having me visit for the week. however, on the fifth day things got spooky. it was dark earlier in the day, because of the time change, and i was a little late getting there. i arrived just before sunset around 4.30. as i was walking to one of my friends' graves, i noticed a huge pile of dry, brown, dirt. it was about 7 feet tall. when i got closer to the tombstone where my friend is buried, i noticed the dirt was from a plot that the gravediggers had opened. it was a spot in the row in front of my friend's grave. 

i decided i didn't want to go any further. i'd leave a stone on my friend's grave another day. even though it was probably empty, and opened for a funeral being held the next morning, i didn't want to get too close. there was no one else in the cemetery, except for the dead people, and it wouldn't be good to slip and fall into the grave.

i walked down the path to the gates of the cemetery. on my way i passed the pianist who was carrying his sheet music on his way to a gig in a different part of the graveyard. he was dressed in formal black tie. when he saw me, he stopped walking, and said hello, but i could tell he was in a rush. he was floating somewhat impatiently, which was extra eerie. he reminded me he was born in 1929.

the pianist said it was too bad he wasn't going to be around for old homeys' week -which is coming up soon, by the way. he told me to eat a banana to remember him. 

outside of the gates, hanging out by the fence, there were some slouching teenagers dressed in flannel shirts. some of them had their hands in their pants pockets. they were drinking cans of cheap beer and coffee out of paper cups. one guy was nibbling on a cheeseburger wrapped in yellow waxed paper. i walked past them as i left. one of them remarked to the others "that dude looks creeped out." they laughed.

<<maybe he saw a ghost.>> one of the girls said. a few of them laughed, but most of them groaned. i kept walking. i didn't want to get into a conversation, so i didn't bother to warn them about the open grave.

when i got home, before i went inside, i washed the cemetery dirt off my feet and washed my hands with soap in the side fountain.

i decided not to go back to the graveyard at twilight anymore.

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