Saturday, April 09, 2011

Another one bites the dust

I have an old friend - had an old friend - called Frederick Mills or, as he was better known amongst those with more than a passing acquaintance with the denizens of the law, Fred the Head. I had a letter from his brother Kenny yesterday (Monday 28th March) to tell me that Freddie died in his sleep and was found on Wednesday 23rd March - they suspect a heart attack.

Kenny's letter said that he had found my letter to Freddie sitting on the carpet just inside the front door where the postman had clearly left it. So Freddie didn't even get to read my last letter to him - which is probably just as well, because it was only a catalogue of the abuse which I pass off as humour.

So, Fred the Head has shuffled off. Freddie had his faults - who doesn't? However, whatever anyone may say about the Head, they have to admit that he was one of life's characters. When Freddie arrived in a room, everyone knew it. There was never a dull moment when Freddie was about - you never knew what he would do next. He had a heart of gold, the same feller.

There's another one who will not sit and drink with me as I pass into my dotage. One by one they are dropping like flies, and soon there'll be nobody left - none of the old crowd anyway.

This all got me to thinking (again) - as this kind of news often does - and, as per usual, I got to considering my own mortality. At this point Boudica will be stamping her size tens and yelling, "The rotten sod! He only does it to annoy me!" And, I've got to be honest - she's right.

You see, Boudica is as aware of my mortality as I am myself, but she doesn't like to talk about it. I don't mind, it's not as if I can avoid it, is it? We might be able to prolong our lives (briefly), but it's not as though we can escape our inevitable death, is it? So why not talk about it? Then, when the time comes that the Grim Reaper actually DOES knock on the door, it doesn't come as any great shock. Oh there is no doubt that a few people will put on their po faces, but we all know that the po face is for the living - the dead couldn't give a fiddler's fart.

I told Boudica all about my plan to have Sinatra singing "My Way" and for me to be laughing my head off in the background. She just said, "What makes you think I'm giving you a funeral?"

So it looks as though my funeral will be held on the nearest council-run rubbish tip. You'll recognise me - I'll be in the third bin-liner from the left, surrounded by well-dressed old men and women, all pissing themselves laughing. And Boudica will be kicking the bin-liner, yelling, "SEE! I TOLD YOU NOT TO MESS IT UP, BUT YOU NEVER LISTEN TO ME!"

So, Frederick "Fred the Head" Mills has shuffled off this mortal coil. He has gone to fish in the Slough of Despond, probably, and I bet he's laughing too - he always was. Well, all I can say is that it is incumbent upon you, Freddie, to keep me a seat at the poker table - because he is bound to start a game, he's that sort of fellow.

Finally, the only thing left to say is, you made a lot of people nervous, you made a lot of people laugh. I only hope tbat God loves you for the laughter.

The Voice In The Wilderness

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