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WHERETHERE'S A WILL...

02-12-2006

It's funeral with a capital FUN for Laurence Inman, as he ponders his mortality. Again. Not that he's morbid or anything. Oh no.

Now that Xmas is nearly upon us, the true Brummie's thoughts turn naturally to death.

Although, as I insisted in my last article, I am not in any way old, my thoughts do drift death-wards quite often anyway. It could have something to do with the fact that hardly a day goes by without one or other of my ‘loved ones' beginning a sentence with the words Dad, when you're dead, can I have..... or Dad, how much will this house be worth when….or You still here ?

So, I have decided to do the sensible thing and make a will.

This should set everybody's mind at rest and put an end to all this bickering about what each of them thinks he or she is going to get and what they really deserve and why seniority should earn them extra points. (It's true; they've worked out as points system based on age and merit.) So, here goes.

I, Laurence Inman, being of sound mind, am going to take it with me. You, my heirs and various others, will only spend it on a holiday or a car, so forget it.

When I say take it with me, I don't mean to ‘the undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveller returns.' Oh no. I will take it with me just to another country, Italy probably, and spend it on country pleasures. I am not afraid of destitution because I know a fabulously rich American woman and I'm fairly confident that she will take me in as her toy-boy, or just someone to smack about a bit; I don't care.

I intend to avoid funeral costs. My body is promised to the Medical School. They poke about with you for three years then give you a free cremation. I call this option The Slab. There is a proviso attached to it: they only accept you if you're in reasonable shape and all in one piece. I'm okay on the first count; what with all my running and fence-building my torso is a taut rope-like coil of muscle. But suppose I get run over by some cretin talking on his mobile ? That could mean a funeral. I've been looking into the range of services on offer.

Right at the cheap end of the spectrum is The Heap. With this, you are just thrown on top of a pile of compost and left there until wildlife and putrefaction make you disappear. Theoretically, there is no legal bar to this because all the regulations covering disposal of bodies are to do with public health and giving offence.

At the opposite end of the price-range is The Princess.The country comes to a standstill, tons of flowers are stacked in the streets, millions of people who didn't know you force themselves to mewl and drivel in public and, because no one can face the fact that your death was really quite commonplace and everyday, scores of books are written proving that you were the victim of an international conspiracy and these deranged outpourings are, with the connivance of the media, publicised and believed!

I wouldn't fancy either of these.So, if my finely-honed body ends up as Bolognese down the Alcester Road, this is what I am going for: The Full English (with Pointless Expense and Suffocating Mawkishness.)

The hearse is one of those glass ones, drawn by four black horses with tossing black plumes, just like gangsters have down the East End. As it starts its journey we hear a recording constantly repeated of Mick Jagger reading that bit of Adonais in Hyde Park after Brian Jones died: ‘Oi you lot! Shut up! He is not dead, he doth not sleep!'

Flowers on my coffin spell out DAD. But for a few extra quid I could have DEAD, which could be used again and again for later funerals. Similarly, MOM can be turned upside down to spell WOW, (a bit like that Australian bloke who had CRIKEY!)

Young people hug each other in shuddering groups of four. They will be shown on Central News later. Bystanders are interviewed. ‘He'd have done anything for anybody,' they wail. Even younger people clutch bouquets, their faces frozen in soundless grief. The bouquets have little cards bearing the words WHY!!!! or OH NO! or AAAAAARRGH!

A five-minute silence is observed at all public events for the following week, and on the anniversary of my death for the following fifty years. It's what I would have wanted.

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