“High School Reunion of the Dead”

Larger every year. Not just suicides or accidents now—no slight to you, Nicky or Doug or Jeanette—yeah, the ice is melted and your drinks are warm and the chicken, bad to begin with, turns rancid with envy or regret. Or, I know nothing, and apologize. The gas explosion that killed Paul happened so long ago, they’re joking about it at the other reunion that shrinks not just from death, but from apathy or rage or cynicism or just not enough of a story to tell so that big guy at the door who somehow has avoided getting a beer gut doesn’t stamp LOSER on your forehead as you enter. No, the Reunion of the Dead is picking up steam, is all steam, people arriving unannounced, escorted by Cancer in his top hat and prom tux so gaudy it’ll never go out of style. The Heart Attacks, stunned in their golfing slacks, still pressing the remote, hoping. At the Reunion of the Dead, the suicides are unfolding more chairs, welcoming and cooperative. They each sit at a different table to mingle. Two suicides, a crowd. If there’s a seating chart, I’d like to know. How’s the band over there? We’re all losers— it’s preordained. That might be sacrilege, but that’s what Marilyn—who left two religious communities and decided being a lay nun wasn’t quite cutting it so she cut it—said, and what does God have to say? On this side, someone just went to the bathroom and didn’t come back. We can’t even finish our clichés. We start them, and trail off. The bald, the fat, the gray, the wrinkled, the one boob job standing out, ha ha ha, no, we’re really having a ball over here. Nobody’s dancing. Everybody’s shuffling. The High School Reunion of the Dead recognizes everybody. There are no cliques, no jocks, no greasers. They’re planning on getting a volleyball game going in the gym, or maybe musical chairs. Cause of Death goes off on break. Irony sits down at the piano.

Related Posts
Filter by
Post Page
Featured Fiction New Fiction Interviews (all) Why I Write The Story Behind the Story Essays/Articles (all)
Sort by

“Lazy Leonard’s Year-Round Fireworks and Tanning”

was, of course, open. When wasn’t this place ready to make a buck? After all, people might at any time need f
2019-10-18 23:52:46
thackerl

8

“The Limoges Vase

Amanda thought the Limoges vase should go to her. After all, it had been her wedding gift to Robert and Anise. She
2018-07-14 11:36:52
jeanpmoore

8

Interview with Paul Griner

Once upon a time, I took a creative writing class
2016-12-22 13:47:01
jmwade

8

“What My Mother Fell For”

My mother ran. She kept on running with plantar fasciitis. It’s a condition that causes stabbing heel pain a
2016-08-14 00:05:48
aheasley

8

Why I Write: Jacob M. Appel

When I was sixteen years old, I fell madly in love—as only sixteen year olds can—with a young woman who was madly in
2015-05-05 06:00:09
jacobmappel

8

“My Aunt Nola”

It seems like there’s one in every family. The alcoholic aunt who abandoned her husband and kids because they
2012-09-18 21:40:09
licata

8

“Dear Subscribers”

Dear Subscribers: It’s been three years since the last “Gaming with Rosa” video went up on the channel. Thoug
2019-11-18 09:42:37
natemedwards

0

“Rabbit County”

Jeremy said that one of Marsha’s rabbits got away again.  He told me last night while we were sitting in Dino’s wait
2019-11-15 09:07:07
asmith18

0

The Story Behind the Story: “Been Ingeious”

I wanted to try writing a piece of flash fiction that encompassed some broad themes and took place over an extended
2019-11-11 11:06:44
jason-graff

0

“Human Noise”

I dread first days of school. Teachers—and later, professors—ask their students to go around the room and give a “fu
2019-11-08 23:57:44
taylorhickney

0

Jim Ray Daniels

About Jim Ray Daniels

Jim Daniels’ fourteenth book of poems, Birth Marks, was published by BOA Editions in 2013 and was selected as a Michigan Notable Book, winner of the Milton Kessler Poetry Book Award, and received the Gold Medal in Poetry in the Independent Publishers Book Awards. His fifth book of short fiction, Eight Mile High, was published by Michigan State University Press in 2014. A native of Detroit, Daniels is the Thomas Stockham University Professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University.