Oh, Him Again.

 

17. BigLaugh

 

Victor Michter was lucky. He’d died before, at ages 55, 67, 69, 72, and 79. 

His family was hoping that after his latest death at age 88, that he would “f’ing stay that way.”

This latest death was the most promising yet. On Tuesday evening, three of his own daughters filled the old bastard with martinis, stuck a cigar in his mouth, and as he “warmed-up” next to his fireplace … Poof! 

Spontaneous combustion. 

There was hardly anything left of Victor’s midsection. The pyrotechnics erupting from the inside of his stomach left a vast hole where his booze used to live.  favorite

An hour later, Victor’s spouse, Beatrice, discovered his blackened body in the smoke-filled living room, crackling amid the easy chair’s embers. 

Before calling the ambulance, Beatrice offered her last respects, “Oh. Dead again.” Then she fetched a package of half-eaten Rolaids from the bathroom, and tossed the unraveling package into the sooty hole where Victor’s martinis used to rub elbows. 

Victor was a tough old bird with an amazing medical history.

****

After being pronounced “clinically dead” a number of times, he had made it back from the so-called “light at the end of the tunnel” to the amazement of his doctors, three of whom he’d outlived.

 His amazing “comebacks” were featured on CNN. He never cared for the publicity, but the television exposure helped advertise his business. 

Victor was also the richest man in Dungston County, a celebrity in his little town. He employed the entire town of over 4,000 people living in Michterville. Everyone for miles around worked at Michter Motors. They made the electric motors that went inside of machines as big as motor scooters and as small as personal vibrators, the most famous being The Jupiter and Beyond Probe.

If you’ve ever had an airplane flight delayed at takeoff because of a “suspicious buzzing” in the baggage hold, more than likely you can thank the faulty switches made by Michter Motors.

When twenty percent of the country was unemployed, the good citizens of Michterville could still slog to their depressing part-time jobs to earn a miserable wage with zero benefits.

* * * *

Indestructible

Death number one was caused by Vic’s first wife’s numbskull “boy toy,” Tad (or was it Todd?), whom she had paid to run her husband and his car off of the road. As the old guy was driving home from his Monday night Neo-Nazi meeting, Tad forced Victor’s originally-built-for-Hitler “Swabian Colossus” Mercedes over a steep embankment. Though the car was heavily armored, Victor’s chest was crushed and he “died” at the scene. He recovered, in the ambulance, on the way to his own Michter General Hospital’s morgue.

****

Death number two was Vic’s own stupid fault, as he fell directly onto his head, and “died” while fixing a video unit that he’d attached outside the guest bedroom window of his house. The camera needed to be adjusted so that it could record his 2nd wife’s best friend, Hotsie. After a twenty-minutes of rigorous rigor mortis under an ambulance blanket on his front lawn, Victor sat up, dusted himself off, and walked down the street to his tavern, Vic’s Place.

****

Death number three happened at his sixty-ninth birthday party while he drunkenly beat his son-in-law with a lamp. The frayed electrical cord met the wet spot on Victor’s slacks where he’d either peed himself or spilled his twelfth drink. Victor was electrocuted until smoke came out of his ears. He “died” and miraculously recovered a third time, while still in the ambulance.

****

Number four was heart failure during an operation to remove a brass oil lamp from Victor’s butt. The ancient lamp had been jettisoned there by one of Vic’s business associates, while he was in Morocco. A Moroccan nurse swore that she saw a genie pop its head out of Michter’s navel before she herself passed out. Victor simply woke up and walked back to his hotel.

****

Number five: His family hired a killer. They set up a murder scenario that was supposed to look like a street mugging gone bad. 

It went bad. Sorta.

Victor came back to life at Michter Memorial Hospital while his body was being zipped into a black bag. 

****

During Vic’s sixth sojourn into the great hereafter, the ungrateful Dr. Ching, who kept Michter’s twin daughters Victoria and Vichyssoise as mistresses, told the medics, “If he’s toasted, then don’t waste my time with that prick. Michter Shmictor! Dead Shmed! I’m sick of our town’s Mister-Big-Shot celebrity dying and never paying me because he owns the hospital and thinks that he owns me.” This time, Vic had been shot by a jealous husband. “If they ask,” said doctor Ching, “tell his rotten family that I’m playing golf at Michter Hills.” By the time the doctor had returned, so had Victor’s vital signs.

****

Death number seven, was caused by “accidental” drowning in his backyard pool. Victor found himself inside of a cold steel drawer at the Michter Morgue only a few hours after delivery. Old Vic told the complacent morgue employees. “Yeah, I know. Me again. I’m feeling f__king great! Get me the f__k out of here!”

****

This eighth time, when he’d combusted, Victor’s most recent spouse, Beatrice, along with seven of his greedy daughters, ordered him cremated. 

100%. 

Immediately.

It would guarantee the end of Victor.

Thinking inside the box

Down at the Michter-Fallow Cemetery, Undertaker Sam Borthwick-Fallow, sixty-four years old and addicted to crack, had opened the wrong drawer for his assistant and mistakenly ordered the incineration of 84-year-old Ben Rose, a victim of secondhand smoke. Sam needed a hit of crack, and left his assistant, Greigor, to handle the rest. It was now up to Greigor to fill the family sized Chinese take-out box of “cremains” and send them over to the Michter mansion.

Victor’s temporary ghost was hovering above as ghosts often do. ”Fuckin’ smaht asses,” he said, as he looked down upon the mortician’s assistant Greigor, who had helped to cook Mr. Rose. The kid was about to pour the ashes into a carton, the same that had held a huge order of “Stir-fry shrimp and vegetable [Item #134] in a black bean sauce.” 

Before the carton was sealed, Greigor “just had to hock a loogey” and dump his own cigarette butt into the box that would hold the remaining two pounds of Mr. Rose. 

Afterward, while looking for his bottle, Greigor soon discovered the real Victor in the next drawer over. Realizing his gross mistake, Greigor moved Victor Michtor’s body into the drawer labeled “Rose.” 

Victor’s body felt unusually warm to the morgue assistant. 

“Alas! Well, a day,” said the assistant as he stood upon a chair. “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as rotten in Denmark.”

Greigor shed a tear, drank a swig, and promptly passed out on a steel lab table.

* * * *

At 3 a.m., the next morning, Victor naturally ended up back inside of his own crispy skin. Being a restless individual, he wasted little time in grabbing another corpse’s clothes and walking out of the morgue at 3:15. 

Charred, and oozing. A pie-sized blackened tunnel had replaced his stomach. 

* * * *

The next day, only twenty percent of Victor’s vast wealth was distributed to his family by lawyers. Eighty percent of the money remained hidden, just in case he needed to buy a new suit … or the city of Paris some day. 

* * * *

Victor’s son Hector found the infamous brass Moroccan oil lamp in the family library among the old man’s curio collection. The rest of the Michter clan agreed that the old lamp would be a dandy receptacle for old Vic’s remains. 

Cold embers belonging to Mr. Rose, the cigarette butt, the green loogey, and a few Chinese leftovers were dumped into the old lamp that the mourners, friends, and family would be observing on top of the fireplace at “Vic’s farewell party.” 

Yes, it was the same lamp that Victor had been assaulted with when he visited Morocco in the 1990s. 

The old brass bottle sat quietly on the mantle of the living room fireplace.

* * * *

The Gathering

 Naturally, there was a good portion of the town in attendance at the Michter estate for the free eats and to celebrate Victor’s death. The choice of food for the gathering was excellent, thanks to the “party sense” of Victor’s fourth wife, Beatrice. 

Victor’s mistress, Mennah, who had been brought to America on a work visa, kept the guests entertained in the living room. She just couldn’t seem to keep her hands off of everyone else’s “things,” one being the lamp.

 Beatrice walked into the room carrying a tray of small, doughy, fried snacks from VikCo. When she spotted Mistress Mennah with her hand on the ancient lamp, Beatrice screamed, spat, and threw a handful of doughy things at the Moroccan beauty. Mennah called Beatrice a “withered old mango” in Moroccan. 

The two women traded insults as the Moroccan model absent-mindedly played with the spout of the old brass lamp. 

Beatrice slammed the tray of doughy, fried ‘things’ on a table and stomped off toward the dining room.

As Mennah toyed with the lamp, she saw its ancient inscription. 

“Be careful of what you wish for!” it said. In the center of a small yellow paper diamond sticker, it also said, in Quranic Arabic, “Genie on board!”

If Mennah had been able to read the note, she would have learned that the lamp might be the home of an actual genie. A genie who was getting all worked up because of Mennah’s smooth hand action.

Still inside of the bottle, the newly awakened genie named Mel (short for Ishmael) suddenly exclaimed, “Whoa! Ce que la ….? (What the—?)”

Mel the genie sneezed and found himself covered in ashes. Ashes of an alien human had been dumped into his home! The ashes swirled around him. 

“Qui déversés ces restes ici? (Who dumped these remains in here?) I’ll f—kin’ kill them! Cough! Cough!” Mel the Genie announced in over forty dialects.

“I was supposed to be buried in the Rose family crypt at Bayside,” said the ghost of Ben Rose, who was trying to hide himself in a dark place beneath the lamp’s handle. 

“Who are you? Why are you in my lamp, you son of a camel?… Wait a second… ooooh,” said Mel.”Oooooooooh yeahhhhhh. There are magic fingers ‘summoning’ me, Ben, so we’ll have to talk about this later…. It is Ben right? I’ll be right back.”

From the mantel of the fireplace, a huge plume of blue smoke had been pumped out into the Michter’s living room.

“Goddammit! Who’s gonna clean this up!” said Beatrice, who had just caught the action as the blue cloud plumed.

“Woohoooo! That was fun! I could certainly use a cigarette!” said the released and relieved Mel, who magically appeared.

The gabby guests had become speechless, except for Victor’s twin girls, Victoria and Vichyssoise, who never shut up. They were arguing over their inheritance.

Vicky: “How come you got twenty-five million and I only got twenty-six million?”

Vichyssoise: “Well, if Daddy were here, he would tell you that he loved me the most! You pig!”

Vicky: “If he comes back, I’ll kick Daddy’s ass, but only after I kick your flat ass, of course!”

“Here then! Take your asshole father back!” said Mel the Genie. “Your wish has been granted!” He raised his arms to the heavens and said, “Hoopah hoopah blah blah blah yak yak….”

“Hey! Hold on Mr. Baggy Pants!” interrupted Mennah. She pointed to the twins. “I was the one who set you free! Those two bimbo biotchies had nuttin’ to do wit’ it!”

“Well, bonjour mon cherie!” said Mel the Genie. Then he greeted his audience with a formal bow, and said, “Call me Ishma…. Fuggedaboudit, just call me Mel.”

“Sir! An’ speakin’ of dat will, dat creep didn’t leave me a penny!” said Mennah.

“I guess that’s how much my husband thought that you were worth,” said the creep’s real spouse, Beatrice.

“Shut up you greedy biotech!”

“The word is biotch you… you …. Make me, you ….” 

Mennah turned to the genie. “I wish that Vic had had a chance to write a will! I wish that he….”

“Hoopah hoopah maka waka waka blah blah blah… Oh fuck it! Your wish is granted! You! You can come out of the lamp now!”

Complete with ash glasses, the cold embers flew from the spout and formed a full-sized silhouette which was only the approximate size and shape of Mr. Rose. Empty air filled in the voids as the ash swirled like a mini-tornado. There wasn’t enough left of the Ben Rose ash pile to fill a complete human form. 

“Get that f—king thing offa my new white rug! I told you not to track dirt in here!” screamed Beatrice.

“Who is this woman?” the confused genie asked the confused Mr. Rose.

“Hell if I know! I’ve never seen her before in my death,” said dead ol’ dusty Mr. Rose, staring at Mrs. Michter, while dragging soot all over the Michter’s expensive white rug.

“Well, Mr. Smarty-Pants Genie, THAT is NOT my husband!” said Beatrice Michter.

“Merde, Merde and double Merde! You don’t understand, ma’am. I can’t put Ben back! Damn! Hmmmmm …Well, Mr. Rose, I guess that you are free to leave.”

“Oh great! What am I supposed to do now?”

“Go home to your wife, Mr. Rose, and give her a big kiss.”

“But… she killed me with second-hand smoke. Kissing her is like kissing an ash tray.”

“Then you’ll be a perfect match—pardon the pun. Here’s a bag of gold. Goodbye, Mr. Rose. Go!”

The dearly departing Ben Rose had just opened the front door, when the real Victor appeared on the front steps of the mansion ready to ring the doorbell.

 Ignoring Vic, Mr. Rose blew down the front walk and onto the sidewalk, where the wind carried him down the sunny tree-lined street toward his own modest home and his non-waiting spouse.

* * * *

“Oh. Him again,” said Victor’s wife, who was not at all surprised to see her ex at the doorway, alive. 

“Victor. Look what that ash-hole Mr. Rose did to my new rug!”

 “Who’s rug? Whooooo’s rug? Who the hell is Mr. Rose? Well, it’s a treat to see you too!” said the Cajun blackened version of the vindictive Victor’s visage.

Victor’s entire body was as charred, scarred and oozing. Something thick and green dripped onto the rug from the huge hole in Victor’s stomach cavity.

Mel the Genie had meanwhile turned his attention toward Mennah, the first woman he’d “had” in over thirteen centuries. 

It was love.

Beatrice, looking at the bodily fluids on the rug, yelled at Vic, “Oh! Great! WELL DONE Vic!” 

“Yes, I suppose that I am!” said Victor, to his horrified and sickened guests. “Hello, friends and family! Where can I find a drink? I feel parched! Ha!”

“Welcome back Mr. Michter! Where’d ya get that crappy suit?” asked Victor’s greasy, wobbly plant manager, Mr. Ryan McMurdock. “By the way sir, you’re oozing,”.

“I’d better get cleaned up. I’ll be right back. C’mon Mel! Hey, you damned genie! Let’s go!” 

Mel the Magic Genie, who hadn’t seen daylight more than three times in over two thousand years (one of those times being the night he was forced to leave the lamp during Victor’s Moroccan ass-ault), wiped the guests’ memories clean of his grand appearance and replied to Victor, “Yes, Master,” and quickly slipped back into Victor’s vintage vessel.

Magically, everyone, except for Victor and Mennah, had forgotten that they’d just met a real Genie named Mel. 

“Hold my drink and save me some cake,” said Victor to one of his company “yes men,” as the leaking octogenarian grabbed his bottled genie off the mantel and went bounding up the curved staircase.

“Our deal is off, Victor,” said Mel the genie from the top of the staircase.

“What the hell?”

“Our deal is off.”

Victor looked up and there stood the escaped genie above him at the top of the landing. Victor took a double-take at the lamp, then back to the genie. “How did you get up…? How did you do that?”

“I’ve found a new master, Mr. Michter. That also means that your wish of eternal life is over, kaput, fini, fenire, pau, terminar, sluttede, termino’, kumalizika.”

“You’re my genie Mel! Mine!” Victor ascended the staircase. “You can’t just pick a new master!”

“Sorry Vic, but I’m now under Mennah’s spell. So, I guess that I’ve taken your mistress as well. I… I… I love her Victor. This is real. She’s ‘the one.’ Love conquers all. This is goodbye, Vic!” Mel backed up his last statement with a mighty kick that sent Victor Michter plummeting backwards down the staircase. 

 19. Factory

* * * *

The Michter Messenger’s entertainment columnist wrote of the incident: 

Mr. Victor Michter performed a stupendous somersault at the close of his own memorial party Tuesday. It all ended spectacularly when Vic hit the bottom of his spacious home’s banister, audibly snapping his skinny old neck. 

It was a breathtaking finale, a perfect culmination to many long and colorful lives. 

Addendum:

The disposal of the body will be supervised today, by the Michter family and their attorneys. The cremation will likely be “carried out” in the big oven at Victorio Michterino’s Red Brick Pizza. Smoking is not allowed.

There will be no memorial service held for Mr. Michter.

He’s had enough of those.

Furthermore, I think we’ve all had enough of him.