Craigslist: Rare Opportunity

Premium site at Pharaoh’s Rest for sale. Site is at the top of knoll #3 and has splendid views of the Hillendale golf course. Please note: this plot is distant enough that you never have to worry about stray balls. Site comes with in-perpetuity maintenance package and a custom-engraved headstone. The stone’s design has been preselected (by me) and features an etched lion couchant. Note, too, that your departed may be cremated and still enjoy his or her repose at this site. Even if tragic circumstances leave you with no beloved to inter, you may use your site as a memorial. This has been done more than once at Pharaoh’s Rest, I have heard, and I myself seriously considered this option. You may wonder why I did not.

Briefly: my profoundly troubled brother was in habit of “borrowing” my old tom, Troy, to keep him company in his tiny house. His tiny house was on wheels and parked in my back yard. It was temporary. My brother was a most unfocused person—“temporary” suited his every aspect. Troy, who was indoor/outdoor (our yard is fenced), didn’t mind my brother’s company. My brother hand-fed Troy raw hamburger.

I should mention that my brother and my wife did not get along. Raw hamburger, she reminded him more than once, could easily carry salmonella. As my brother was unemployed and my wife recently retired (carpal tunnel made her work impossible), they had too much time to get in each other’s way. On this occasion, the hamburger argument grew so volatile that my wife phoned me to complain: “I challenged him,” she said. “I went in there and turned on his stovetop and dared him to fry a hamburger for Troy. He didn’t believe me when I told him that Troy loves fried hamburger.”

“He loves raw hamburger!” I heard my brother shouting somewhere behind her.

“You’re afraid to be proven wrong!” my wife taunted.

My brother laughed his geeky laugh.

“Where are you?” I asked my wife.

“Just outside the trailer,” she said.

My brother hated it when she called his tiny house a “trailer.”

“Could you just withdraw?” I asked. “Just get out of his space?”

“I’m standing in my own backyard,” she said.

“You know what I mean,” I said.

“I dare you!” she said to him—so loudly I cringed.

I heard a door slam. And then my wife mumbled something that sounded like, “He doesn’t even know how to boil water.” She was right about that. My brother never cooked for himself and, in fact, didn’t know how to operate the gas range in his tiny house, which was fairly new (bought with his share of my late mother’s estate).

My wife had assumed that the tiny house’s gas stovetop had an electronic pilot. It did not. Some minutes after my brother—holding Troy under one arm—slammed his door shut, the explosion was deafening. Literally. My wife is still in the hospital and can’t hear a thing I say.

The Fire Marshall’s report noted that a tiny house should have no propane tanks inside the dwelling. Apparently, my brother had three 20 gallon tanks under his sink, for which I can offer no explanation.

After the explosion, there was nothing left, except splintered tiny house fragments scattered all over the yard, some of it stuck like shrapnel in our stockade fence, and a heap of smoking ruin on the tiny house frame. More than one person voiced amazement that the tiny house wheels remained, intact and fully inflated.

My compounded grief prohibits me from further elaboration. I am able to explain this much only because I have been tranquilized by a prescription that tamps down all but the most violent spasms of grief. My brother was 43. Although Troy was old and overweight, he still had a good five years in him. I find moments of solace when I picture Troy prowling around our rock garden, where he enjoyed terrorizing toads. With this ad, I honor his memory in the hope that my loss will be your gain after you take possession of this exceptional plot for your special Someone who, gratefully, will lie in peace at Pharaoh’s Rest.  

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