Funeral for an Asshole
“Will, W-w-will.” Tammi sniffed and sobbed as she spoke. “Will was my wh-h-hole world.” The young woman stood up at the podium, bawling her eyes out to the crowd.
Oh brother, Will thought, knowing better than to believe the act. In his head He listed all the insults his big sister used to call him: Baby, Wimp, Loser, Brat, Shrimp, those are the things she desperately wanted to say but couldn’t. For a theater major your acting really stinks. Will looked around the room. Everyone seemed saddened by Tammi’s fake testimony, which baffled Will.
He looked at all the gullible attendees, unsure as to whether he liked any of them. Grandpa Gary wasn’t much fun to be around, constantly complaining and telling people how to live their lives. His neighbor, Mrs. Sue, was a gossiper who didn’t know how shutup. His brother James would beat him up all the time, and wouldn’t stop until Will paid him. Will passed James by, stopping for a moment to look at him, spotting a bulge in his left pocket. Will reached in and snagged his wallet. You can keep your license and credit cards, Will opened up the wallet and sifted through it. But I want my money back. Will pulled out 32 dollars, then slipped it back into his pocket. James noticed nothing.
“I’ve really enjoyed hearing all the good things you’ve all had to say about Will,”
Will heard the voice of a young man from the stage just as he was flipping off Cousin Judy. That’s for breaking me Wii remote.
“But let’s take a moment to remind ourselves that Will was an asshole.”
Will snapped his attention to the front of the room, as did the audience, all shocked by the opening of his speech
“As his best friend since 4th grade I have the authority to say that.” Ben smiled, trying to reassure the crowd that he meant well.
Off all the people in the room, yes, Ben did have the authority to call Will and asshole. And Will had the authority to call Ben an asshole. Will understood this perfectly, the audience didn’t.
“He’s the kind of guy who’d tie up your shoelaces and laugh as you fell, then tie up your hands so you couldn’t get up.” Ben said. He sounded like he was doing a stand-up routine or a roast rather than a proper eulogy, which he knew Will would prefer over some sappy, made up stories. “Will never tipped when we went out to eat, Will was never wrong, at least according to him. Will loved to say he was funny, which is the funniest thing I’ve ever heard him say. Will cheated on practically every test I watched him take.” Ben let out a snicker. “That’s how we became friends.”
Will remembered the day very well. He’d leaned over to ask for the answer to a math problem. 121 divided by 11.
“11, just like your IQ,” Ben whispered, watching as Will decided whether he was being helpful or insulting him. Will’s confusion delighted Ben, Ben’s sarcasm made Will laugh, the rest is history.
“But, like any friends, we had some feuds.” Ben said, voice lowering quite a bit. “We’d just had one when.” He couldn’t finish. It all came rushing back to Will.
“Too easy, give me a challenge for once.” Ben said, being a sore winner after beating him, just like he was the last 5 times.
Will sat quietly on the couch, the hood of his hoodie flipped up, and his expression grim.
“No, I’m done.” Will stood up.
“Well, guess that makes me better than you in every wa-”
“Ben,” Will said, his back turned. “Please stop.”
“Awww you poor poor baby, getting his butt whooped in smash.”
“I said quit it, I’m not really in the mood for being belittled today.”
Ben tried to be considerate. “Look, I know you’re upset about Betty cheating on you but you’re being a wuss about it. You have to move on you’re better than her.” Ben flipped up his hoodie and impersonated Will. “Life sucks and I hate everyone, even my best friend who’s the kindest person I know and also a genius.”
“Fuck you man, I’m going home.” Will walked towards the front door.
“Oh come on man,” Ben followed him out. “You know I’m just-”
“You’re being a dick, I’m done with it.” Will said as he laced up his shoes.
“Well fine, but while you’re gone learn to grow a pair.”
Will stormed out the door, the cool night covering the neighborhood in darkness. The only lights were a pair of headlights moving down the street, Will didn’t notice them as he crossed the road.
“Part of me thinks it’s my fault Will’s gone.” Ben sniffed and sobbed as he tried to speak. “It’s not, it just feels like it.” Ben extended his right hand forward, as if he were giving the audience a handshake. “But just like Will, I need to learn how to move on.” Will knew exactly what Ben was doing, booking it down the aisle so he could grab Ben’s outstretched hand. Just before he did, Will caught a glimpse of Betty sitting in the front row. Will looked at her for just a moment, then back to Ben. They began doing their secret handshake.
Grab hands and dab up, thumb war to fist bump which turns into a jellyfish. Back around and cowboy gun, shoot, blow, and holster.
“I’m sorry, and I’ll always be sorry.” Ben said, looking up to the ceiling as he walked off the stage.
Will laughed, following him off. He placed his hand on Ben’s shoulder. “Why’d you look to the sky?” Will said.
Ben lowered his head, pressing his hand against his shoulder which had just gone cold.
“You and I both know I’m going straight to hell.”
Ben looked to his left and made direct eye contact with Will, who was glowing more than usual. The audience was too busy listening to the next speaker to notice Ben’s stunned reaction.
“It’s not your fault I’m gone Ben.” Will pointed to Betty, sitting respectfully in the front row. “It’s hers.”