author's note: alas, a "new" story i've been working on! the title funferals; (i'm so mad the semicolon won't show up in the title!) came from james joyce's finnegans wake. the semicolon was intentional (& so so important!) as it relates to suicide (check out "Project Semicolon").

the goal here was not to create unreasonable & unreadable gibberish that is self-indulgent, targeted at no one, & meant to thwart readers. the goal was, & is, to ask questions about life, & death, & whatever lies between them. & research etymology of words because words are awesome. & create an excuse to make-up words because that's more awesome. shakespeare did it, & so can we!

i'd really love some feedback, but to be honest, if i were to leave a feedback for this "chapter", i wouldn't know what to say either.

& yeah, i'm a big fan of the name "sam" :P


I. Akheron:

Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo.

"If I cannot bend the heavens above, I will move Hell."

-The Aeneid,
as quoted in Sigmund Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams

die, to stop living, to cease to exist, to expire – from the latin expirare (ex-spirare?), ex meaning 'out', spirare 'to breathe'.

what about rope? what about a belt if there's no rope? is it long enough? strong enough? sam couldn't decide. i mean, of course, it wasn't a thing to be decided by only one person. humans yearned for connection affection inflection infectious approval apprehensive and abhorrently vilifying villainifying validation.

no man is an iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the continent, a part of the maine…

dear olde john : he knew what he had donne.

so rope. or belt. accidental fall down the staircase? pills maybe. gun. typical.

or is it?

ex-spirare meaning out of breath – why is it so hard to just. stop. breathing.

sam needed confirmation. the web of the world would know. the google machine was key.

he typed on twitter: "sucks. everything just sucks. #depressed"

what are you thinking? said facebook.

happy to oblige, thought sam.

maybe a philosophical nonsensical proverb from meditations, like, "we need to hurry. not just because we move daily closer to death but also because our understanding – our grasp of the world – may be gone before we get there."

jenny wentworth liked it. justine lee shared it.

but what is satisfaction?

on tumblr it was easy to adopt a morose, deeply contemplative pretense since every soul was a complex ruminative philological hebephrenic travesty.

every thought that takes time to foruhm
we don't waste our spire on
ex-spiring members of the elapsing human raise
mutations of mythological chimeras
cosmical, comical, classical, contingent on
fusionic complexities of thine owne selfes where
'any man's death diminishes me,
because i am involved in mankin-dee'

olde jonne's dohn it egan.

finn.

#no one #understands #us #but #our #own

some tumblr users posted depressing angry cat pictures.

sam wrote to nobody.

he prided himself on not being understood by his peers but part of him begged for their villainifying validation, to be adored by those he abhorred.

29 hearts in forty-five minutes.

sam smiled, depressed.

29 hearts didn't truly understand; only pretended to understand.

he pretended to understand too when he received that phone call.

it wasn't great news. everyone knew nothing good happened after two a.m.

"hello?"

"sam," katie said softly. "micah's dead."

and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;

micah had been trying to die for the past 23 months. the bell had been tolling for an entire year.

sam wondered what he used. a rope? a belt? accidental fall down the staircase? pills again?

he knew what he had to do.

log in - march 30, 2015

tweet: -at-micahg: 'dying was nothing and he had no picture of it nor fear of it in his mind' #bonvoyage

he would've loved it, thought sam. micah would've loved it. would've retweeted it. would've favorited it. would've copied and pasted it on fb, that travenistic monster. would've liked it. would've shared it. would've hearted it.

micah was a die-hard hemingway fan.

for whom the bell tolls? he'd say.

it tolls for me.

#

sammy smoked a joint at micah's wake.

while katie spoke, it went like this:

he was the best brother that inspired me to be better.

do it now

he believed in me. always encouraged my art. he never stopped saying, 'katie, you can do it.'

do it now

you can do it if you give it everything you've got.

do it now

no one else is going to put you there in that field of success. it will just be you. and the best thing i can do for you is to be there and to support you. but you'll have to do the rest and i know you can.

do it now

he always believed i could do it and i'm going to miss that.

do it now;

i'm going to miss him.

he was alive.

do it now, sam.

micah was alive!

sammy stood up, wide-eyed. a wake a lone a ware a lert a larm a cough, a shuffles, excusemexcusemexcuseme.

he was invisible. invincible. in di vi si ble.

they distracted themselves with their own pain: a miss. a stray. a drift. a foul. a bort.

he escaped back into the viewing room where micah's casket was, where they had put cruel carmine roses on top to make him happy. where they had taken selfies, where they had stood around ignoring each other together, a lone, as they posted their selfies, on line, and re connected, a gain, as if nothing happened and it wasn't a wake.

what ever happened to having a little class? kids these days.

and what would micah do with roses? send them to amelia jacobs from the grave?

to micah.

to micah who finally succeeded.

the roses were katie's idea. katie always had useless ideas.

are you satisfied, micah? are you happy where you are?

if you were here, thought sam, you would be right beside me. you'd be lighting it up. you'd be laughing at this whole pretentious depressing ceremony and saying "this isn't how i wanted to go out".

then again, who wanted to go out?

to micah.

to your last dying wish.

it tolls for thee.

#

sam wore a mustard yellow shirt under his one and only black suit. micah hated that shirt.

sam's mother gave him hell for it but understood that sammy was just "sad" his best friend died.

sam thought maybe if micah saw the shirt, he'd give sammy hell for it too.

to micah.

to your last dying wish.

why do wishes have to die with the dead?

but it's your last dying wish : this was sam's defense. it was micah's last dying dead wish.

and that was sam's defense.

#

micah blew his brains out.

it was just a thing he did.

he loved hemingway and hemingway blew his brains out.

when micah first learned about this from mrs. mcgregor he was like a guy who found hidden treasure in a field, hid it again, and in his joy, he sold everything he had and bought the field.

admirable – he said. the courage it must've taken to die on your own terms.

quick. dirty. star-spangled-banner bang. fitting to capture the brilliance of his favorite author.

he said – when i die, i will die like ernest. on my own terms. with a bang. with poetry. with life sprinkled like red dust on a vibrant soul, incomplete, mislived but content.

it's not a word – sammy said.

what? – micah said.

mislived – sammy said.

all the better – micah said with a smile – it's poetic. making up my own words. owning them! james joycing my way through life!

nothing, sammy said.

micah was a reader; he kept a copy of finnegans wake beside his pillow on the bed when hemingway was too straitlaced for him.

he only pretended to understand.

james joyce was poetic. micah wasn't a poet.

but sammy never told him that.

#

the first time micah attempted to encounter death on his own terms, he ended up in the icu.

balloons surrounded him. 'get well' cards. flowers that rotted and built funerary boxes. empty words that demolished morale.

"it's going to be okay, micah."

"hope you get well soon, micah."

"god is watching over you, micah. he has a plan and a purpose for you. jeremiah 29:11."

get me out of here, sammy – he'd begged as soon as sammy opened the door.

you got yourself here, only you can get yourself out – sammy said.

you trying to be deep, samuel?

you trying to kill yourself, micah?

he laughed a dying man's laugh. laughed harder at the solitary black balloon sammy had brought him. at his card's message –

"to micah – you can't even kill yourself right. :o)"

he said he'll succeed one day.

sammy never told him that he hoped he never did.

before sam left, micah had fallen asleep.

he looked as peaceful then as he did now in his casket. sleeping but not really. dreaming but not really. james joycing his way through life, but not really.

"why'd you do it, micah?" – sammy whispered like a fool at his sleeping form.

what is satisfaction? what was your last dying wish?

micah didn't answer, of course.

if he could've, he would've said –

death never gives answers, sammy. just endings.

#

it was 2 a.m. and there was school the next day.

sam had been waiting for the phone call for weeks. 49 to be exact. 49 weeks. it was rainy that morning. the red sunrise kept to itself behind the clouds like it was waiting too.

no one else in the family knew how to tell him. even katie.

spit it out, katie – he said. it's 2 am.

sam, micah's dead – she said.

he said nothing for a couple of minutes. literally, he counted two minutes. he closed his eyes, counted one to a hundred and twenty. he almost drifted off to sleep. he knew then even sleep wouldn't be able to erase what was happening.

sam? – katie asked.

still here – he said but he'd been thinking about a hemingway quote. he'd been thinking about good ol' ernie and what he'd say to micah now.

is that all you're going to say? – katie asked - is that all you've got, sam?

she never understood a thing. they never did.

your best friend is dead and shot himself with our dad's gun and all you've got is silence and 'still here'? are you really so callous that you can't muster anything other than nothing? sam, micah's dead. he's dead. what do you have to say about it other than you're still there? god, sam, you were always so supportive of him killing himself like that's such a normal thing to do. he'd been depressed and depressed for months and you hung around him like that's normal to be that black and miserable and all you've got is still here? god, sam. i thought you cared about him! i thought you understood! i told you to take care of him but you didn't. you let him hurt himself like this. what the hell is wrong with you, sam? my brother is dead and you can't even care!

he'd drifted off then. dropped the phone. didn't mean to.

and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;

no, that's john donne.

billy pilgrim tried hard to care?

sam! – he heard her on the line.

but that's not hemingway. that's vonnegut.

i have to go, katie. we have school.

a siren went off, scared the hell out of him.

sam! – she said again.

sam hung up.

micah would've wanted sammy to go to school then. he made sam promise to go to school whenever he found out.

act normal.

normal: the usual typical state or condition – norma (a carpenter's square or pattern) + alis (-al, "of the kind of, pertaining to")

go about his day like usual, same pattern.

it was his last dying wish.

his last.

sam felt sorry they didn't understand.

micah was okay now. dead, maybe. but okay.

and that didn't make sense to them – micah being okay.

how can he be okay when he's dead? – they'd ask, always thinking about themselves. how they were going to go on without him. how they could cope with their loss. how they would miss him when they never missed him when he was around.

they didn't understand that, for months, the only thing micah wanted was to be okay.

and finally, he was.

#

at the funeral sammy couldn't help hiding again, knowing that no amount of wailing, grieving or crying could bring back the dead. but at some point, micah's parents had realized that their son's best friend still hasn't given a eulogy.

he had two drafts. depending on the mood, he could be comical or he could be depressing. eulogies are never for the dead anyway. micah was comically depressed, dead or alive.

they asked everyone to take their seats. sam could hear everything from his corner. katie was sent out to search for him.

sam snuck inside the washroom. worst place to hide, especially when it was the wrong one.

this is the girls' washroom – she said.

i see that – sam said, holding the joint between his fingers behind his back, racking his brain for memories of the girl and finding none.

do I know you? – he asked.

are you high? – she asked, peering closer. too close.

fancy yourself a bright cookie, huh?

she said nothing.

he made his way to a stall.

i don't know you – he said, flushing the joint down the toilet before walking over to the sink beside her – are you family?

you must be sam – she said.

if i am, you must be…not sam?

did you know he was going to kill himself?

do you pretend to have known him too and convince yourself it wasn't your fault he was lonely all the time?

is that why he killed himself? because he was lonely?

micah trusted no one with his loneliness.

don't – he said – i don't know you and you can't even begin to understand.

did he want that?

want what?

to have been understood? – she asked.

sammy resumed washing his face.

don't we all want to be understood? loved? accepted?

if we really did, shouldn't we speak better to be understood then?

he turned to face her, and said: you never gave me your name.

it's okay, sam – she said, heading for the door – no one's going to come after you because you're not crying or you don't look sad.

then you must be at the wrong funeral* – he said.

(*funeralis = having to do with a funeral, from funere: death, corpse, &c.)

people cry at funerals – sam said. that's norm-al.

is that really what you think?

no – sam washed his hands before turning to her once more – how can they do it?

do what?

mourn for someone they didn't bother to know.

and how can you not – she said – isn't that what you're wondering, sam? why you haven't mourned?

billy pilgrim tried hard to care.
a siren went off, scared the hell out of him.