by Jack Sherman
It’s hard to find a matchbox hearse. Hot Wheels doesn’t sell them. Well, that’s not true. It’s all on Amazon these days. There’s a nice ‘59 model up right now. You can get it in pink if you want. Silver too. Black is harder to find. But it exists. Really, why do we always want everything in black? It’s a send off all the same. That’s what Mom always said. We liked it when she said things like that. We liked it when she was being profound.
Well, not always. And she didn’t always say the most profound things anyway. Is that okay? How do we feel about that? I think we feel okay about that. I think we think it’s okay to say unprofound things, like: “Quit picking your nose.” Or: “Don’t be so dramatic.” Things like: “You’re going out in that?” We used to hate it when she said that. Gosh, didn’t we? That was the ice age. We used to hate all that, or, well, maybe we still do. No, it’s a fact: We still hate all of that. We would hate that if she said it now.
One time, she said: “If I bought the Mona Lisa, could anyone stop me from eating it?” We laughed at that. I think we liked that. No, we objectively liked that. She never had enough money to eat the Mona Lisa. But it got us thinking. Someone probably has the money. Jeff Bezos could probably do it. That’s what she said. She said: What if he bought it? Could anyone stop him? Probably not. Then she said: “That, children, is how you know we’re all walking on eggshells. You can have all the red tape in the world, but Jeff Bezos could probably eat the Mona Lisa if he really wanted to. That’s why you should keep your savings under a mattress.”
She was weird about money that way. She would always say: “Never spend money you don’t have.” Well, she was the one giving us the money, wasn’t she? And we were saving it, weren’t we? But it didn’t matter. She was a little twisted up like that. There were some things she just had to say, and we just had to let her. We didn’t know that then, but I think we know that now. Do we? I don’t know, do we?
The fact is, we’re a little twisted up too. We like to think we’re a little bit like two clocks out of sync. We’re confused, sometimes. And sometimes we have questions. Some of our questions are never going to be answered, but we still have to ask them. We have to ask: “What meant something? What didn’t? What’s funny still?” We want to guide her down from the sky or up from the ground and maybe we’ll hold her and say: “Tell us, what’s funny?”
In the end, everything she ever said ended up in a great big kaleidoscope anyway. It’s all a lot of colorful glass. In a huge tube. The tube is pink or silver, or maybe black, but that’s harder to find. A big pink-silver-black tube twisted up in a trichromatic rainbow. That was her. Maybe? We don’t know. Look at us, ascribing meaning to things and getting metaphysical. She’d be proud. She always said we were like little psychologists.
Well, anyway. We’ll sing her a little song. For all the things she said. Would that be okay? It’ll just be a little thing, just for us. What music did she like? No, really, what did she like? Santo and Johnny? That’s right. That’s what she always said. Okay, good. That feels right, doesn’t it? We would’ve been a little shocked if she had said something like Slayer or Korn. Or maybe she did like them, and she never said it. There are a lot of things we won’t ever know, all because we didn’t ask, and so she never told us, and that is hard to live with, but we’re trying to be okay with that. When things are hard, when things are really bad, we think: At least we know, at the very least, that Jeff Bezos could eat the Mona Lisa if he wanted to.
Alright. We’re going to sing now. Is everyone ready? We don’t want to rush anyone. But this doesn’t have to be a big thing either. It can be short. Brief, even. That’s how most things go – briefly. In a little hearse, down a little track. Like the kinds you find on Amazon. Put it on rails. It doesn’t matter. We know the truth: It’ll still come flying off. Won’t it?
Well, that’s what she said anyway.
Jack Sherman is a writer based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A Carroll University alumnus, he has been previously published in Five on the Fifth magazine and Front Porch Review.