I was at dead uncle Arthur's funeral. The service had just finished, and I was sat outside on one of the
benches, having a fag. A figure came shuffling over towards
me; it was my dim-witted sister, Anne. She came
and sat down next to me.
thick that she’s forgotten over the years that she is supposed to hate me
“Hi.” She said. I smiled and nodded, but didn’t say anything; it’s always
fun just to
let Anne do all
the talking. “Poor uncle Arthur eh? Where do you think he’ll be
then?” She asked.
coffin, being burnt.” I replied. I looked at the end of my cigarette as I
uncle Arthur's cadaver.
mean that. I meaned (sic) where do you think he’ll be now like, his spirit and
haven’t the slightest.” I stated.
I was watching this programme the other night, and it said about a lot of
when they die.” Said Anne. I looked at her, slightly confused, and wondering
this curious statement had to do with the whereabouts of the spirit of our dead
mean posthumous recognition of their contribution to society?” I asked. “I
that dead uncle Arthur will be getting one of those,” I said, “unless the Queen
MBE’s out for outstanding contributions in being miserable, aggressive and
a far-away expression that always signalled deep confusion.
understand what you mean.” She said.
MBE’s. I don’t think uncle Arthur will be getting one off the Queen.” I re-
the Queen causes people to have MBE’s?” Asked Anne.
she doesn’t cause them to have MBE’s, she awards them with MBE’s.” I told her.
they die?” She asked.
no, not as they die, but when they’re dead.” I replied. “What happens is that
for some sort of outstanding contribution to society after you’ve died and are
posthumous MBE.” I was now beginning to doubt what I was actually saying; was
even such a thing as a posthumous MBE? Suddenly, I wasn’t sure.
didn’t say anything on that programme about the Queen giving them the MBE’s.” Stated
just said that they started getting the MBE’s as they died.” I began to feel
our wires crossed somewhere down the line when she said this.
did they say ‘MBE’s’?” I asked.
She replied, firmly.
that’s what they said. OBE’s.” She told me.
‘out of the body experiences’ then? Did they mention that on the programme?” I
said about NDE’s.” Said Anne.
death experiences.” I said.
That’s what I’ve been saying all along. NDE’s.” Said Anne, pathetically. I took a deep,
on my cigarette and sighed, hoping that she’d read it as a signal to just go
getting some new binoculars in a few days time.” I said. I couldn’t think of
that’s nice. Where are you getting them from?” She asked.
ordered them off the internet, from some place in America.” I said.
where it is then?” Asked Anne, cryptically.
where what is?” I asked.
internet. Is that where it is then? In America?” She said.
yes, I suppose so. But it’s not just exclusive to America.” I pointed out.
that’s where it’s run from? America?” She asked.
you do know about the ‘World-Wide Web’ don’t you? You do understand what it
do now. It’s like you say; it’s in America.” Said Anne. I despaired.
no, not exactly. The internet isn’t just in America, Anne. It’s all over the
often referred to as the World-Wide Web.” I explained. Anne had that far-away
“So is it
over here in England as well?” She enquired.
didn’t you just order your binoculars from this country instead of travelling
to America to get them?” She asked. I didn’t even bother trying to explain.
should get here soon. In about three or four working days.” I said.
that include weekends?” She asked. I didn’t respond. There was no point. It was
I could have been there all flippin’ day
trying to explain the difference to my stupid sister
‘working days’ and the weekend, so I swiftly changed the subject.
Archie?” I asked. Archie is her husband. Like Anne, he isn’t very bright, so
suited. “Is he not here today?” I enquired.
back working on the oil planet.” She replied. I had visions of Archie in an
suit, all on his own on some blackened world at the edge of our galaxy, many
away, drilling for oil, with a UFO flying by somewhere in the distance.
you mean ‘oil plant’, Anne?” I asked.
that’s the one. It’s under the sea.” She said. Now I had an image of Archie in
diving outfit, drilling at rocks on the bottom of the ocean floor. There was an
floating past him, and several Stingrays were fleeing the sound of his drill.
Archie is working underwater?” I asked.
stupid.” Said Anne, with outrageous audacity. “The oil. It’s under the sea.
mean he’s working on an oil rig? Not an oil plant?” I asked, seeking
that’s the one. An oil rig. It’s in the West Sea.” She stated, very
there’s no such thing as the ‘West Sea’. I think you mean the ‘North Sea’.”
that’s the one.” She said. I rolled my eyes and dragged some more on my almost
cigarette, wishing that I was somewhere, anywhere else...