Dealing With Death – A Christmas Blog

Posted: December 15, 2012 in Just A Strip Of A Lad (Telling You The Old, Old Stories You Love To Hear), Nexus

dealing with death

 

I am in bed. I’m a guitar student, and life is good. My alarm’s gone off, and Green Day are gently licking my ears to stop me from falling back to sleep. It’s got me thinking. Thinking about how Green Day were cool when I was a child. And now I’m 18. Which is in no way a child. So The West Wing can shut up.

I’m also thinking about the smell. There’s a smell in my bedroom.

A different smell.

I growl, and sit up. And scour the room for the source. That smell…. it’s like a chippy, but without all the cooking. It smells… dead.

Oh.

It’s my fish.

It’s dead.

Definitely dead. Rats. Well, fish. I’ve had fish die on me before. By which I mean my fish died, not that I lay my dying fish on my chest and waited for it’s life to fin-ish. Sonic The High Diver, Sonic 2 The Bullied, Sonic 3 The Unmemorable, and Raimond Van Der Gouw the Confused. Now I have Buffy and Angel. Bizarre but beautiful Valentine’s Day gifts from my darling girlfriend.

She may or may not be happy about this.

I pause for a second, and a thought injects itself into my face. Dad always dealt with our dead fish. For he was the man of the house! But now it’s just me. I’m Gareth Southgate at Euro 96. Or some lemonade in the lion king! Shall I… leave it? And come back to two dead fish and a worse smell! No. I must get rid of this fish. But… how? How did Dad do it? I don’t know! I remember all those fish fingers we used to have.

That smell reeks!

I sigh. This is why people go to university. To get a full life education. To become a man! I must be on at least Level 6 of The Man Scale by now. I even paid a bill the other day. I decide to put the pieces of my brain together, and think. TV always said you’re supposed to flush dead fish.

I look at the fish.

And the toilet. And my housemate. Rahjah has appeared, dressed and ready to guitar it up. I ask his advice.

I dunno, Dan. I’ve never flushed a fish before, but I’ve heard that they float back up the toilet and stare up at your bum.”

Oh no! I immediately regret asking. There’s no way I can flush it now! Horror dawns on me. I have three options left, and the hob’s electric so I’m not sure cremation’s really an option. That leaves two. And I’m running out of formaldehyde. I look at the fish. Buffy and Angel both came back from the dead on TV.

Maybe this is just temporary?

It doesn’t smell temporary. And the live fish is swimming about in the killer mess of disease-ridden watery poo and breathing it in like a fat man inhaling cholera cake. I’m now officially late for Nexus, our beloved guitar college. But I’ll have two dead fish soon if I don’t do this. And the smell may kill me. This is about survival! This is for mankind! I activate my default action man settings and scour the jars for one big enough to scoop up the floater without feeling like I’m touching it. I hate touching dead things.

I am approaching Man Level 7.

I find an empty korma jar, and smile. This is why people buy Korma. I try to use the extra-wide Tesco-profits-size opening to scoop. I’m nervous, and accidentally push the dead fish’s face into the bum of his former lover. There are times I’d hate to be a fish. This is one. I apologise profusely, but the live fish just gives me the silent treatment. Maybe I should have worked out what it’s name was.

I manage to scoop out the carp-se and put some shoes on. On my feet. Ready. To perform my first burial. Oh man! I hate going into gardens and seeing pet graves. It totally freaks me out. Am I seriously about to make one? In my own garden? This must be Level Nine! I open the door.

And then the rest of the door.

And step outside. I’m in my pyjamas in the cold Christmas-ember morning air shakily carrying an ex-fish. I walk to the furthest end of the garden. And remember that I don’t own a spade. Or a shovel. Or anything that digs.

Except my hands.

I look at my hands.

And the floor. Man Level…. 25?! No! No way! I’m just not that manly! This is too much! I am not The Pope!

I sigh. I’ve rescued civilization and a fish! I’ve done enough! I can probably just do a bit of a botch job here. After all, I’m late!And cold. My unmentionables are unmentionable. My default action man settings suggest something. I smile. Unsure, so sigh, and decide to do what I always do in these situations.

I gamble.

And lob the fish on the floor. It smacks headfirst into the grass and rolls in a weird contorted way so that its’ face is snogging its’ kidneys.

I kick a couple of leaves over it, and run to Nexus.

It is 15 minutes later and I’m round the corner from Nexus. I’ve got it all worked out! I’m gonna sneak in the back door!

I am brilliant.

Man Level 10.

I make my way to the mezzanine and appear atop the stairs.

I am Subtlety.

I am Nuance.

I am Grace.

Ah ha! Thanks for joining us, Dan!”

Eep.

The whole school turns to face me and tutor Catley smiles broadly.

AWWWWW!” says all of Nexus!

Oh no!

Man Level 0.

Housemate Rahjah has kindly explained my absence by going into detail about my harrowing morning. To much musician-y glee. I’m definitely gonna lob his pants into the garden. And lock the top half of the door.

Catley finishes the morning session and announces that as it’s christmas we’re watching Shrek 2. I sit back. This is going to be great.

I watch helplessly as Donkey lets Shrek’s fish die, and a fish is beheaded at a banquet.

I sigh.

And smile.

For this is level 20.

I have become a man.

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