Gary Dies in the Wrong Order

coffinby Alex Smith

Gary dies in the wrong order. First, his close friends and relatives start to mourn. They leave bundles of flowers outside his bedroom door and cry into handkerchiefs at the dinner table. They carry on like this for about a month. After that, something changes, and people start smiling in the house again. Another two weeks go by, and the flowers stop coming. Gary isn’t sure if this is a good sign.

Next come the worms. He finds them in his shoes, at first, then in his hair, then under his fingernails. They wriggle and squirm beneath his skin, and at night he hears them rustling inside his skull. Every day, he looks a little thinner.

After that there’s the funeral. The turnout is pretty lackluster, but he had been expecting that. Everybody’s already finished grieving, after all. He sits cross-legged on the coffin and listens to the minister describe the sort of life he had led. The person the minister is describing doesn’t sound like Gary.

Last is the burial. He leans into the open grave and feels the damp earth against the back of his neck. Gary stares up at the darkening sky and waits for somebody to throw soil in his face.


Alex Smith lives and studies in Lancaster, England. At night, his stories climb out of his laptop and play tricks on him.
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