By Joe Lucking
He kept himself to himself. Odd workmates called occasionally to swap stories about Ireland.
He religiously brought the milk in. The mystery a gap in the curtains couldn’t solve.
The ambulance took him.
He hadn’t touched a drop for years, save a small glass of Bristol Cream at Christmas.
Some said it was the diabetes from drinking the building sites out of him, others blamed a mistake of paracetamol to ease arthritis.
He was always open-necked.
A kid lied that he’d used his tie to hang himself from the light fitting.
His dead brother visited.
“It won’t be long now. Go will ya, I don’t want you to see me like this.”
Doctors mucked about with his brain, Electroconvulsive Therapy.
He died the next morning. Vanished like the breeze.
Leaving a son allergic to the world, and a pair of reading specs.
A mortuary doggy bag isn’t much to show for a life.
What happens to the soul?
Where does it go?
“I didn’t think Catholics agreed with burning,” said a neighbour.
“It sets the soul free,” said another.
“Fuck off, that’s the Buddhists,” said someone else.
Who should have those stuffed birds “worth a few bob” on the sideboard?
Mam on the brandy, caged by tablets.
“They won’t be happy until I’ve put my head in a gas oven.”
“We’ll light a candle forim, sweetheart.”
“Will ya learn to genuflect, ya little bastard.”
For years, Annie walked the cemetery to find her.
You won’t see this in the lonely hearts column.
‘Broken people want someone to fix them’.
Joe Lucking writes for theatre, radio, and screen. You can find him on twitter @joelucking66 and read his stories at https://rjlucking66.wixsite.com/website