Buzzards Ants and Beetles

You who are my regular readers will know that I’m on the run from the police in America, because, in the summer of last year (2007), I killed an American, who, in comments I saw which he’d made on someone’s web-log, had insulted Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth of England. As a loyal Englishman, I could do no less than demand that this scoundrel (he called himself “Jimmy”) apologise, or he would pay a price.

Well, this “Jimmy” showed no contrition, so I flew to America from England, tracked him down and – to cut a long story short – killed him. Unfortunately I, and my men who helped track Jimmy down (in eastern Texas), killed a number of Jimmy’s men too. Thus we were forced to become outlaws.

Although killing Jimmy seemed a good idea at the time, it no longer seems quite so. Had I not rushed to the defence of my sovereign I would still be living in comfortable retirement in rural England, instead of living with my three men in a very cramped basement of a demolished house in a Texas city – which I cannot name because the police may have discovered this web-log.

Last timeI told of how I and my men, when we were sleeping under a bridge shortly after we’d killed Jimmy and his men, were attacked by eight men. To defend ourselves we had to kill them. What, then, to do about the bodies? I decided we take them with us and find a good place to leave them.

Accordingly we loaded the bodies into our SUV, and, with me at the wheel, we continued south down the highway. As I drove through the morning murk I thought of possible ways to get rid of the eight bodies without others noticing. It was a predicament neither I nor my men had encountered before. Of course, in the trenches of the Western Front in 1914-18, and in the desert of North Africa in 1942-43, many of my comrades, and men under my command, had fallen dead during battle. Their bodies were either just left there because to retrieve them would be too dangerous, or they were carried off by stretcher bearers where feasible.

When my wife, my dear Gladys, passed away, I simply called a funeral home. So, to get rid of not just one body, but eight, and with no official help, was something new for me. You are surely thinking, dear reader, that for a 113 year-old man like me, there’d be no problem I never would have encountered before. But life always presents new and unique problems no matter how long we live. It’s what makes life so exciting.

Despite being an old soldier, I have a philosophic mind, so I thought about the non-human world of nature, and how the bodies of all those countless millions of dead animals are everyday got rid of. Whenever an animal knows it’s ready to die it goes off alone, lies down somewhere and simply dies. Immediately the buzzards are picking at its body, and ants and beetles are devouring it. After a day or so there’s nothing left, just bones. In nature nothing’s wasted. It’s all so efficient.

Now I had my solution. I turned our SUV down a side-road, and kept going until we saw a large piece of empty land. We carried the bodies from the SUV and laid them down, each one hundred yards or so apart. We removed the clothes to make it easier for the buzzards and ants and beetles to do their thing. After we burned the clothes, I turned our SUV back onto the highway and we kept on going south.

If I might editorialise, I think if everyone left the bodies of their dead loved ones in a field for the buzzards and ants and beetles to eat, it would contribute to the well-being of humanity. First, think of all the space taken up by cemeteries which occupy valuable land which might otherwise be used to grow food or to build houses or blocks of flats on. I’m aware it’s now the in-thing to burn dead bodies in crematoria, but this contributes to air-pollution.

If leaving the body of your dead loved one in a field for the buzzards and ants and beetles to eat, isn’t your cup of tea, you could always bury it in your backyard. This wouldn’t take up valuable land which could be used for something else, because a backyard will always be a backyard.

I don’t expect that those who run funeral homes and operate crematoria will agree with what I advocate, because they would have to find other work. Unfortunately, one can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.

The fuss we make about dead bodies has always puzzled me, since a dead body is no different than an old skin a snake has shed. Just as the snake has moved on somewhere else, so has your mater or pater or old aunt also moved on somewhere else, who used to occupy the body you’re weeping copious tears over.

When I die, all I want is for my old body to be left in a field, so the buzzards and ants and beetles can enjoy a good meal.

This entry was posted in Writing.

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