I called my parents yesterday since I hadn’t talked to crazy in a while, and my dad answered. He always sounds guilty when he picks up, as if he’s been rudely called away from dismembering a hooker. He said he was just finishing up manufacturing a batch of colloidal silver. Yes, at home, with lasers! Learned on internet! Can’t even talk about it!
I said “OK, that’s great, is Mom around?” He said she was sleeping, and we talked about the murderous dog, how fat the cat is, and all the rotten things the neighbors do. Somehow we got on the topic of bad news, and he said “Speaking of receiving bad news, how would you feel if your mother died, and I just had her cremated and told everyone later?” I said he should probably consult her prior to her death to see if she has any feelings on this topic. He said “Well, she would want a memorial, but I don’t want to see her relatives.” He’s right, of course, I don’t want to see them either. They are terrible. I said I would prefer to be notified in advance of the cremation, and he said “What, so you’d have to drop everything and fly down?”
I asked if he might want support from his children after losing his wife, and he felt sure that he would not. I said that if he’d sweeten the pot and have the dog cremated along with her, that would make it worth my time for a visit. So we left plans along the lines of handling the death of pharaoh, where the household goes too. He’s going to be so disappointed when I don’t agree to club him and burn the house down at the last minute. That house is paid in full; there’s no way I’d burn it down.
When I got off the phone, he said he’d have my mother call back later. She never did, and then I started to wonder if he’d been hinting around the whole time. I told Mr. H, and he thought about it, and we agreed we wouldn’t put it past him. But she emailed me this morning, apparently alive. I told her she might want to make a will and give me a copy if she wanted anything fancier than being put in a paper bag and set in the mirrored fireplace. Of course this is a useless argument if he’s just impersonating her, and she’s tucked in the guest room, A Rose for Emily-style.