Doug came up with the idea as he sat in the third row from the back at his cousin Martin’s send off.
It was when the Vicar had commented that the turn out was a testament to his cousin’s selfless life and that he wished Martin were there to witness it for himself that Doug suddenly thought ‘Hey, why not?’
After all, we have all had fantasises about seeing who would tip up to our funeral haven’t we? Think how fabulous it would be to see who was utterly devastated by your passing.
At a guess, your sister would not be that choked up though would she. Nah, that bitch couldn’t wait to see the back of you – especially with you sitting on all that furniture Mother left you.
‘I have to do this’, Doug thought, so he set about putting his scheme into action.
He arranged for an accident abroad and then the loss of his body on the return flight home. Losing this was far easier than he thought it would be, he simple booked the journey home through easyJet.com and struck a fragile sticker on the empty casket.
Bingo, no body.
However, there was still a funeral to carry out, which had a kick-off of 1.30pm at the Resting Willow crematorium (just off the by-pass)
He disguised himself as an elderly gent with a big grey bushy Saddam beard, a dirt old flashers Mac and thick rimmed dark glasses.
This he believed was exactly how most old men dressed.
‘Perfect’, he thought as he looked at his dishevelled form in his full length hotel room mirror, ‘No one will ever recognise me.’
Doug made certain that he got to the crematorium early, this was to ensure he would be able to check out everyone as they turned up.
He absentmindedly scribbled little drawings of a monster furiously eating a marketing executive on his order of service booklet as he excitedly waited to see who would show.
He had already complied a mental list of ‘must see’ for his funeral. These were:
1. The overall turn out.
2. Who arrived with whom.
3. General levels of sadness.
4. Individual levels of emotional distress.
5. What was said about him at the eulogy.
6. What was said about him at the wake.
7. What the wake catering was like.
8. How people were dressed.
9. What time everyone eventually pissed off from the wake.
10. How many attractive women turned up and then cried into little hankies as they realised that they would now never know him, sexually.
He was bound to get a better turn out than his cousin Martin, after all thought Doug, ‘Mart really was a bit of a berk’. (And as it happens actually his second cousin, not that Doug cared).
He also hoped the distress of the mourners for his ‘do’ would be far more intense than it had been at his best mate Dave’s funeral. Doug considered that this would be a tough call, after all Dave’s funeral was quite tragic, what with him having died whilst trying (and succeeding) to save a child’s life and all.
Doug sat outside the crematorium door and waited for the crowds to amass.
Except, they didn’t.
His sister turned up, sure. However, to be honest she didn’t exactly look that sad.
Neither of his teenage nephews showed, little bastards. He didn’t much care for them anyway, they were probably too busy off mugging grannies and sniffing glue.
Of his close friends, only Clive turned up. And he only showed to say how sorry he was, but he really couldn’t hang around for the service as he had somewhere else very important he had to be.
As Clive got back into his car, Doug noticed that he had his football socks and shin pads on under his flared cords.
Following this initial disappointment Doug became both excited and relived when a coach pulled into the car park and a large crowd got out and began walking up the path to toward him.
Sadly, Doug's sense of relief this was short lived when he realised they were just early for the funeral of the gentleman following his. (A nice old man who had died in his sleep never having gotten past chapter 12 of his book).
In total, only eight people came to mourn Doug’s passing, two of which were the carers of elderly relatives who’s names he did not know.
Worse still, the ministers eulogy was distressingly brief and seemed to Doug to be far too much of an apolo-eulogy than anything approaching a celebration of his life.
In fact, he almost blew his cover to throw a hymnbook at the minister when he commented that Doug’s aggressively negative nature was possibly born out of his sexual problems.
They didn’t even play the song he requested.
No, it was an utter disaster Doug concluded, his empty coffin was barely being scorched and everyone had already disappeared back to their own lives.
He felt completely dejected by the whole thing, so much so that he threw himself under the 15.47 city express link service.
Ironically, his second funeral had a better turn out than his first, although not by much.
They did at least get his song right this time.