Friday, July 1, 2011

Reverend Woodlot Stumps

Sometimes identity confusion scrambled Lohbado's brains and he had flashbacks to another era, when he was Peter Stumps, a sexually repressed, spiritual drone, serving in his grandfather Woodlot's church, the Church of the Living Monument. Woodlot made his fortune as a lumber baron, but after a severe bout of alcohol psychosis, had a series of visions that made him sell the business and build a church. That took place back in the 1920ies, in a remote Canadian village on an escarpment overlooking a vast body of water. After the Reverend Woodlot Stumps had a mental breakdown and killed himself, his son, Peter's father, the Reverend Stonehenge Stumps took over. The sect church died a slow, lingering death in the hands of Stonehenge. The sect church existed as an extension of Woodlot's ego. Once Woodlot was gone, the wooden church in the forest was doomed.

Lohbado found this picture in a box of mementos left behind after the death of his mother, Rosemary Stumps. Mother Rosemary died when her pink 1966 Studebaker Lark slid into a cast iron beam on a trestle bridge across Moon River, one winter evening as she drove home from a meeting of the Busy Bee Bridge Club at Dorthy's house.

Somebody took a photo of the car accident and showed it to Lohbado. Steering wheel mangled, Rosemary's body flopped sideways and hung limp, head out the door and dangling towards the pavement, legs crushed, feet twisted up in brake and gas pedals, face veiled in a fountain of blood, Christ and the crown of thorns. There was a loud, exploding sound and a flash of light as she died.
They rushed her body to the hospital and experimented to see if they could bring her back to life. I wish they had left her alone. It doesn’t feel right to cut up a corpse. What if her consciousness was still conscious? Lohbado had a dream of her death and in the dream she was terrified and couldn’t understand what the doctors were doing to her body. Lohbado dreamed she was tied down to the autopsy table and writhed in panic and tried to get up and walk away.

They put her on machines to get the heart to beat and the lungs to breathe. They could have left her alone and nobody would have sued the doctors. Her husband Stonehenge said, after he went to visit her in intensive care, she was clearly dead. The doctors were playing with a corpse and then sent her off to pathology.

Lohbado couldn’t look at her corpse, in the funeral parlor, for more than a few seconds. Her face was totally distorted from the head injury and the plastic thing they put in her mouth. Lohbado approached the coffin. A cold chill stabbed his heart. He looked for two seconds and then ran away. He felt the confusion and panic. He felt her desire to be free, to be released from technology. She wanted somebody to close the coffin lid so she could be dead in privacy.

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