Gee needed to have things resolved. He was just not sure what those things were. One thing, above all, was that Gee would no longer need to cover up Al’s string of botched suicides. There would be no more efforts to deny there had been a noose in the bathroom when Al slipped and broke his arm, and then a month later to insist how poison was not the reason Al was on life support for these last ten days. Suicide is so implicating, imputing shame and suspicion. In and out of a coma, Al gave Gee time to inform his Facebook friends how hopeful and prayerful he was, and how a little money would come in handy with these mounting medical expenses.
Al had graciously endured long enough for “respiratory arrest” to appear on his death certificate. Gee was relieved by this, since it would not stand in the way of the life insurance he had taken out on him as “suicide” would have done.
For a few days Gee had fretted about the events of the past and wanted it to all be behind him. Al had gotten what he wanted. They both had, hadn’t they, escaped to freedom?
The funeral was designed to gloss over Algernon’s flaws as everybody knew them. Funerals do that. The priests had chanted away demons and enticed whatever angels could be called upon. An obscure comfort drifted around the departing mourners leaving the cemetery, having done their duty.
Gee turned his back on the smoking crematorium as if he were eluding a conflict. Old Algernon, after all, was the dead one of the two of them, even if he was not the only one being consumed by the events that were culminating in the transformative inferno.
A fleck of soot settled on Gee’s shoulder.
Rev. Dr. Kenneth Dobson posts his weekly reflections on this blog.