It was an unfortunate yet undeniable truth, my father was dead. He, on the other hand, did not seem to agree. He knelt on the ground trowel in hand tending to his favourite roses, the flesh falling from his face like apple peelings.
I must confess to not knowing what to say to him, after all, my brothers and I had spent the last of our savings on his burial; we bought him a beautiful mahogany casket. In the end, I just blurted it out.
“Hey, dad, aren’t you supposed to be dead?” I put my hands in my pocket through nerves — well, wouldn’t you be nervous — then removed them as I remembered it annoyed him.
“Weren’t you supposed to tend to the garden?” his retort.
He had me there because I was. My brothers, being older than me, had the more tedious tasks of cleaning out our father’s worldly goods, selling the house, etcetera, etcetera and all I had to do was to keep it presentable. I had, though! Well, for a day or two, anyway.
“So?” my father said again.
“I thought I was just meant to cut the grass.”
“Uhm, I mean, I thought the rain would do the watering.”
“It hasn’t rained.”
“Hmm, good point. Ha, I know, flowers don’t grow in winter.”
He was beginning to annoy me now. “Is there anything I can say that will get me out of this?”
My father stood, threw the trowel into the flowerbeds and scratched his head; great chunks of hair fell out. He tried to whistle — which he always did when thinking up some diabolical punishment for his kids — but all he achieved was to blow his lips off. After a fair amount of consideration he said, “I could murder that beer you’re holding.”
Well, as you can imagine, father or not, that wasn’t going to happen. So, I did the only thing I could. I kicked him in the nuts as hard as I could and legged it. I was reasonably sure he wouldn’t follow because I made sure they flew over the hedge.