Phone Calls from Caroline
: Planning A Funeral by BethShelby
Dialogue Only Writing Contest contest entry
Hello, is this Beth?
Yes, it's me. Don’t you recognize my voice, Caroline?
Well you don’t sound right. Must be that crazy phone you got. I told you to go buy yourself another phone. Are you too stingy to get a new phone? You sound like you’re in a barrel. You busy? What are you doing?
I was eating lunch, but I can talk. Go ahead. Are you doing okay?
Well, no!… Not really…I’m 95-years-old….I've been going downhill for 20 years. Anyway, I want to talk to you about my funeral. This is your cousin, Caroline.
I know who you are. I just called you Caroline. Don’t you remember? Anyway I'm not the one you need to talk to about your funeral. You need to talk to your daughter, Christine.
Oh, I can’t talk to her. She comes over here and gives me my medicine, and she's gone before I can turn around. She don’t stay around long enough to talk. Besides, her and that man of hers said they were going to be cremated. I don’t want them putting me near no fire. You know how I sweat when I get hot.
Caroline, we don’t need to talk about your funeral. You aren’t sick. You’ll probably outlive me. I can't plan your funeral. That’s up to Christine.
She won’t listen to me. You've got to come over here, and tell her what I want, and see to it that she does it. She’ll listen to you. I want to be taken back to Mississippi and buried next to Grandma.
Why don’t you want to be buried by your husband in Texas?
No! No! I don’t want to be by him. We wasn’t getting along that good when he died. He didn’t like it when I put him in a nursing home. Back in 1953, he cheated on me. You didn’t know that, did you?
Yes, I remember. You’ve told me at least 20 times. Okay, I’ll tell Christine that you want to be buried by Grandma.
Well, that not all. I want to be on her right side, facing away from her. I never could sleep on that other side….And I don’t want no flowers, especially them mums. I’m allergic to mums.…And see if you can get that girl, Vera, to fix my hair. Tell her not to put no spray net on it. That stuff makes me sneeze.
Okay, I’ll try to remember all that. Now can we talk about something else?
No, I’m not through, and what’s that noise you’re making? Are you eating something?
I told you I was eating lunch. You heard my chip bag rattle.
Beth, this is important. Put that food away, and listen to me. I need to tell you what I want to wear.
Caroline, you told me all that the last time we planned your funeral. You said you wanted that navy blue suit and white blouse.
Well, I’ve changed my mind. I want the pink dress I bought for Geneva’s wedding. I got to thinking about it, and that blue suit is made out of heavy material. I think it’s going to be too hot for me to wear that.
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