Tuesday, September 26, 2006

My family has a number of historic anecdotes of our time in the western hemisphere. There are also a few vague references to ancestral eastern-hemispheric going ons that involve horse thievery which might explain the decision of our forefather to relocate to the new world. Since that carrier of my surname brought it and himself to the land of providence, we have accumulated a rich oral tradition of misfortunes that have befallen our race. There is the tale of the confederate sniper hunted down and shot with his family as they slept. There is another story about a whole branch of my family tree being murdered and thrown down a Virginian well because the locals didn't take kindly to the ruckus those predecessors caused while building the railroad nearby. However these tales are merely appetisers to the feast of calamity one person of my linage endured. A cousin of some manner of multiple removals and ordinal number was a farm labourer. His daily endeavours featured his proximity to a vat of pig waste. Why there is ever a need or how pig waste is put into vats has never been sufficiently explained to me. This proximity was ultimately the cause of my misfortunate relation’s demise. He died, drowned in an enormous vat of pig manure and urine. Apparently the slurry of pig piss and shit has similar properties to that of quicksand. Haven fallen there would have been no way to extricate himself without assistance. The one difference being sand usually has a more benign odour compared the indescribable stench that pigs create. It truly is a horror upon the senses and once you have had the merest of whiffs in your nostrils, you will forever remember it.
As if this fate wasn’t undignified enough, the gods saw it fit to add yet another heaping helping of contempt for one of their creations. My cousin met his particular god at the end of the day just before a long weekend. The consequence being that his earthly remains remained were his spirit departed it for several days. His corpse marinated in that hellish concoction until someone else made its bewildering discovery.
This submersion resulted in a curing of the victim’s flesh so that instead of a death in pig shit soup, you might have thought that he quietly died in his sleep during a relaxing island holiday. He had the healthy tanned look of a retired banker as he peacefully rested in the coffin and an unknown preacher recited scripture over him. The relatives who had been at the service all agreed that our cousin had the look of a man of leisure dressed in a sharp but hired suit. However they also agreed that throughout the service and even at the grave site, you couldn’t help occasionally catching the scent of pig shit drifting in the wind.

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