Dedicated to all those we have lost.
"Dearly beloved," Jill began, voice low and uncharacteristically solemn, "We are gathered here today to mourn the loss of a great woman."
The sounds of wailing and anguished screaming rent the air as the gathered mourners viewed the body: though staticky and tinny, the cries of "Spooky Halloween Sounds, vol. 3" emitting from Jill's boombox were no less fitting expressions of grief and pain than befit the occasion.
Jill's dearly-departed vibrator, fluorescently purple, glittery, and textured For Her Pleasure, lay in repose on the kitchen counter, nestled in a beautiful shoebox coffin lined with delicate crumples of used birthday-balloon wrapping paper.
Jill flicked the tape deck to silence, and Amber and Jesse viewed the body with reverence for the honorable life it had lived.
After an appropriately respectful moment had passed, Jill briskly continued, cueing her acetate mourners to resume their desolate moans and wails (and howls, and bone-rattling).
The other mourners crowded in Jill’s little yellow kitchen were all, of course, dressed in solemn black as the officiant had demanded: Jesse in formal Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers sweatshirt and tie, Amber in a torn Violent Femmes t-shirt and dog collar, and Jill in a dress better cut for the club than the funeral home. Admittedly, the former was probably more the deceased's style, anyway.
Jesse stood beside his grieving girlfriend, comfortingly rubbing her arm as she embarked on this most difficult task, and holding some tissues at the ready in his other hand in case the sorrow overcame her. Jill glanced at him with a grateful, sad smile before forging into her speech. "Today is a day for celebrating the memory of Claudia..."
"Claudia?" Amber asked, eyeing the sparkly silicone body of the deceased.
"She was a woman, obviously," Jill answered, all her faux-solemnity gone in a moment gleefully glib. "Only another woman could so perfectly understand how to pleasure a girl."
She tilted her head up and shot a look at her doting boyfriend. "No offense, hon."
"Some taken," Jesse laughed, and Jill kissed him on the cheek, whispering something hotly suggestive in his ear before rustling a crumpled paper out of her bra.
"Maya Angelou once wrote," she began, full melodrama, 'I can accept the idea of my own demise, but I am unable to accept the death of anyone else. I find it impossible to let a friend or relative go into that country of no return. Disbelief becomes my close companion, and anger often follows in its wake. I answer the heroic question 'Death, where is thy sting?' with 'it is here in my heart and mind and memories.'' My girl Maya knows how it is. Claudia's body may have failed and it may be hard to imagine going on living life without her, but," she sniffed, "Her memory lives on forever."
She turned suddenly to her best friend. "Amber, would you like to say a few words?"
"Me." Amber raised her eyebrows at Jill, who nodded vigorously.
"Well," she started, lips fighting a smile, "Though I never had the... pleasure of making her acquaintance, honestly I do know more about Claudia than I ever needed or wanted to,” Amber laughed. “She was known to all as a devoted and loyal friend to Jill. A generous lover, a constant companion, and a reliable drain on her electric bill, Jill loudly sang her praises, sometimes even figuratively! Even I could not compare to the wonderful friend Claudia was to Jill. May we all aspire to be a little more like Claudia, though sadly we can’t all have her good looks."
Eulogy duly finished, Jill gave her friend a nod in acknowledgement, serene and holy. "Amen," Amber tacked on, leaning back on the fridge.
"Oh, it's a shame Mrs. Petersen couldn't make it to the funeral," Jill sighed, ruing the absence of her favorite archenemy, her prudish landlady. "Someone so familiar with how dear Claudia was to me having to miss the opportunity to pay her respects," she continued, sweeping a hand over her head, "But I'm sure she sends her warmest wishes in my time of grief."
Sadly, Jill turned to the other mourner. "Jesse, would you like to add your own remembrances?"
Jesse grinned with fond delight at his girlfriend's shenanigans. "Oh sure, what isn't there to say about Claudia?" he began with a smooch to the top of Jill’s head. "What a great woman... Jill and Claudia and I had such wonderful times together. It's not often you find a friend who fits in so well, someone you have such a good feeling about, someone with such great vibes." Amber cupped her hands around her mouth, softly booing his puns. "She will be truly missed by all who knew her intimately. Indeed there is an emptiness... a gaping hole... in our hearts where once there was Claudia." Jill turned around to leer at him and Amber rolled her eyes at her friends with a smile.
Jill closed the lid on the coffin and gathered her loved ones near as she reverently dumped the shoebox in the trash. They all looked at it for a moment before Jill spoke again.
"OK, Irish wake! Who's drinking?"