Casket Royale

by The Lotus Queen

There is this little strip mall in my neighborhood. It must be cursed somehow because every business that goes in there dies after a few months, maybe a few years. The big untouchables are the 7-11 (known as “My 7-11”) and the pet food store. I thought the video store was untouchable too until it died and they put in some stupid café. What the hell do I need a café over there for? I got all the beer nuts and beef jerky I need in Sev. That video store has been there since I was a kid. There was even a scandal about it alleging that it was selling porn right out on the shelves with all the other movies. Or letting minors into that curtained off area it had. Or something. Sex Ed hadn’t really covered that topic so it didn’t really do much to me at the time except make me laugh.

A couple years before my video store died, a new store opened up in one of the perennial For Lease areas. It was called Casket Royale. It sold caskets…and urns. It catered to all your funeral needs. This also made me chuckle. We already have the medical examiner’s offices on our west side. The hospital is to the north and the river, should you like to throw yourself in, is to the south. The east side lay exposed, until Casket Royal came along. After telling this to someone, he pointed out that I “live in the Valley of Death!”

Casket Royale appeared to flourish, although never once did I see people going in and out. It was not really the neighborhood hub of excitement. But then, a few months ago, I noticed that it too had died. Gone the way of its clientele. So what did the nebulous “they” which is always responsible for these things, do? “They” simply replaced one type of casket for another and put in a tanning salon. Now I am in the Valley of the Undead…the Unnaturally Orange…the prematurely wrinkled.

  • Casket Royale
  • by The Lotus Queen
  • Published on June 1st, 2001

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