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Peppermints – Fictive Dream


by DS Levy

IN AN ELEGANT room within the Relaxation In Peace Mortuary, we assist ourselves to the minimize crystal bowl of peppermints within the middle of the desk. Mother all the time stored a glass jar stuffed with pink and white candies by the entrance door, her favorites these comfortable puffy peppermints, however these arduous, spherical Starlights must do.

When the funeral director enters, he opens a leather-based folder and tells us how fortunate we’re that Mother pre-arranged her funeral. He tells us to assist ourselves to the peppermints whereas passing round samples of the memorial playing cards she’d chosen, brochures of the strong mahogany wooden casket, the marble gravestone, the record of hymns for the service, and a photograph of the pink roses she needed for her casket spray. My youngest sister thumbs via {the catalogue} of memorial gadgets and says, ‘Hey guys, what a few poster-sized photograph of Mother that appears like a portray?’ Once we don’t reply, she suggests laminated bookmarks that embody Psalm 23 and a photograph of Mother.

‘Pre-planning is a present of affection,’ the director says, and in the identical comfortable tone tells us the alarming five-figure price of that love.

Although my spouse, Sheila, is the outsider of the bunch, she helped me handle my dad’s property and has the within observe on my dad and mom’ spending habits. Dad alone had seven bank cards floating round, unpaid, to not point out unopened packing containers of Seen-on-TV crap he’d purchased the previous few months of his life. And Mother lavished us children and her grandkids with presents from storage gross sales and journeys to Greenback Normal. Over time, she’d additionally amassed an enormous assortment of miniature elephants that set her again some money. Sheila seems to be across the room after which, in her calm demeanor, asks if Mother’s pre-planning has been pre-paid as nicely.

‘She left that to be settled later,’ says the director.

All of us collectively shift within the plush leather-based seats the way in which we did in church when the priest spoke of hell and damnation. The director reads the room and gently closes his e book. ‘I’ll provide you with all a bit of time to debate,’ he says, easing himself out the door.

After he leaves, we seize fistfuls of peppermints from the bowl and pound them like amphetamines. When the director returns, the convention desk’s suffering from clear cellophane wrappers. We inform him we’ll get again to him after we take a look at ‘our monetary scenario.’


Exterior within the parking zone, my brother Dave says, ‘When the financial institution finds out Mother died, they’ll shut her account.’ So he, Sheila and I instantly drive to True Supply Financial institution.

Inside, Dave whispers to me, ‘Let me deal with this. I do know these guys.’       

A younger banker greets us like outdated mates. Dave tells him our mother despatched us to withdraw all the cash from her account, ‘for an emergency.’ The banker pulls up Mother’s account, says, ‘Sure, sure,’ and faucets some keys. Easy crusing. However then the supervisor sidles as much as our buddy and mumbles one thing Dave and I can’t make out. The 2 males have a look at us over the pc display screen, like clergymen via confessional home windows.

‘That’s bizarre,’ the banker says. ‘My supervisor right here simply mentioned somebody went via the drive-thru earlier right now and mentioned your mother had died.’

‘Someone who is aware of your loved ones,’ the supervisor presents.

My brother owns a storage door enterprise. We each comprehend it needed to be Gladys, his secretary. Each morning she goes to the financial institution to deposit the day past’s checks, and he or she had been within the workplace when Dave had gotten the decision about Mother.

‘I don’t know who advised you that,’ Dave says, trying down at his splayed fingers on the silver counter. ‘Nevertheless it’s true Mother’s been actually sick.’

‘Oh, nicely that’s good,’ the banker says. ‘I imply, I’m sorry to listen to that, but it surely’s higher than the opposite. How’s she doing by the way in which?’

Dave stiffens beside me.

‘Not so nicely,’ I converse up, shaking my head. ‘Not nicely in any respect.’

The 2 males hesitate earlier than providing their nicely needs. Then they step behind a wall, and Dave and I nervously assist ourselves to Dum-Dum suckers earlier than the banker comes again out and palms over a printed test for all of Mother’s cash.


Exterior, the solar’s scorching.

My Jeep’s automobile alarm is blaring.

I rush over, see Sheila within the again seat stretching throughout attempting to succeed in the sprint. ‘Jesus, Sheila,’ I say, turning off the alarm. She tells us she opened the again door to get some recent air and unintentionally tripped it off.

Dave and I leap in, and the three of us streak away as if we’d simply pulled off a heist.


Seems, in any case our devious efforts, the printed test’s far lower than the Relaxation In Peace Mortuary invoice. We find yourself having the displaying and funeral at Sloan and Sons, an outdated mortuary on Wells Avenue that’s been burying the neighborhood for years. In fact, even there we now have to reduce—no rosary card, no poster-sized photograph of Mother, no laminate bookmarks. As a substitute of a mahogany casket, we accept poplar; and as an alternative of a marble gravestone, a flat granite marker. We have now simply sufficient money to get primary memorial playing cards and a casket spray of pink carnations. And since it’s solely becoming, Sheila and I purchase a pair luggage of peppermints, whereas the funeral house offers a crystal bowl. Although we will’t give Mother the funeral of her goals, we place a couple of mints beneath her satin pillow.


DS Levy lives within the Midwest. Her fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart, Greatest Microfiction, and was included in Wigleaf’s Prime 50 2021 and Longlist 2022. 

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