When Ziggy Czarnecki walks into Rok’s funeral parlor for Eddie Figlak’s wake he isn’t thinking about his old nemesis Przybylski, he certainly isn’t thinking about going to California; all he’s hoping for is to get this unpleasant business over with as quickly as possible.
Eddie’s drawn a pretty good crowd, Ziggy can see right away. But then, he always was something of a crowd-pleaser when he was alive. At a certain time of the night he was likely to launch into a long, complicated story that went in circles and lost itself, about how he could have been this or that—a doctor, a lawyer, an astronaut: whatever was the last thing he saw on TV before his meter clicked off—and sooner or later he’d forget himself and start all over, the story becoming even more complicated the next time around. Then he’d get sad, and cry, maybe, and likely toward the end he’d start screaming about Stella, his wife, asking God what sin he’d committed that could possibly justify his being hooked up with her. Really, when he got going like that you could listen to him all night; he should have been a priest.
–by K.C. Frederick