Flash Fiction: The Spray

Welcome to the Spot Writers. Today’s contribution comes from Cathy MacKenzie. Contact her (info below) if you need formatting of print or e-books, editing, book covers, or help with publishing.

This month’s topic is “death in the family.”


The Spray

by Cathy MacKenzie

“Do you want flowers on the casket?” the well-dressed man of authority asked.

Faces stared at one another, dollar signs in their eyes. Huge dollar signs.

“I think so,” the female said. “It’s our mother, after all.”

The two men eyed her, eyes wild as if asking, Why do you want to waste money on flowers?

When she glared at the taller one, he mumbled, “Fine.”

“A spray,” the daughter said. “Yellow and white flowers. How much?”

The funeral director rattled off a figure. “It’s approximate, of course. I’m the funeral director, not the florist.”

She frowned. “I know that. I just wanted a general idea.”

The brothers held their breath. I’m assuming they were brothers since no one seemed particularly lovey. Sibling rivalry more like it.

“Great,” she finally said. “Can you call the florist and order them? Add it to the bill?”

The funeral director, eager to please, nodded. “Of course.”

The daughter added, “I’ll take them to the church after the service so the congregation can enjoy them in the morning.”

The three exited the funeral home and stood on the front steps for a few minutes. They mumbled words before departing to their separate vehicles and driving away.

“The end of that family,” I mumbled, figuring their mother had been the adhesive that bound them together. Obviously the father had passed since no older gentleman was with them. And wouldn’t a husband want to plan his wife’s funeral? Of course, he could be in a home, could be crippled with arthritis and unable to get around, could be sick. Any myriad of explanations existed for his non-presence. But I was quite certain he was gone, happily reunited with his lovely wife.

And, oh, how lovely she’d been. Was she looking down upon them? Perhaps wishing she’d done something more constructive with her money? Maybe she had. Who was I to judge?

But sometimes an outsider such as I gleans more in an afternoon than others do in a lifetime.

The next day, the three siblings returned to the funeral home for the service. A small attendance. Several elderly. Most were obviously family and friends of the adult children. At the deceased’s age, who has many friends left?

The service, though short and sweet as they say, was heartfelt. Full of emotion. Tear-filled. Sad to lose a loved one. Sad when Death is involved, and Death exists to claim the living until the living is no more. I always return after my deeds are done. I can’t help who I am, what I am. I enjoy the aftermath of the fruits of my labour, so to speak.

Mourners exited the building, most lingering under the roof on the front porch. Others raced to their vehicles, where they revved engines, shone headlights, and turned on wiper blades to combat the rain. Back and forth: swish, swish, swish.

A lone female in black—the only mourner outfitted in dark clothing—appeared at the door bearing an arrangement of yellow and white flowers, embracing the elaborate spray like one would hold a newborn. She stepped from the porch into the rain. A spray upon the spray, and then a torment of wind and hail latched to the flowers and carried them soaring as if to Heaven. And then, cruelly, the wind tossed them to the ground, one by one.

Seconds later, stragglers raced to vehicles, crushing the blooms beneath their feet.



The Spot Writers – our members

RC Bonitz: rcbonitz.com

Val Muller: http://valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Tom Robson: https://robsonswritings.wordpress.com/


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