• Simeon Klepac

THE GLORIOUS FUNERAL OF FRANK GILLESPIE

BY SIMEON KLEPAC


MOVEMENT I: TRAGEDY


“Out of ink.” The coroner clicked his pen fruitlessly.

“Here.” Washburton, a round faced man in a faded jacket, held out a fresh pen. The coroner took it and scribbled a few notes on his sheet.

“Well then,” the coroner glanced over the page. “I think that’s everything. I’ll take this down to the office and draft a report.”

“I appreciate your help.” Washburton chose his words carefully. “This is an occasion that none of us imagined having to face.”

“I must say,” the coroner declared, surveying the scene with a morbid mix of fascination and disgust, “This is the most...unusual case I’ve seen in my career.”

Washburton smiled and patted him on the shoulder. “Well, he was an unusual man. It’s not every day that someone like Frank Gillespie dies.”


“What do you mean he’s dead?”

“He’s dead! They just said so on the news!”

“Damn! Frank Gillespie? Dead! Wow! What happened?”

“An accident! At his house! The police haven’t released a report yet, but it’s all over the news!”

“When was this?”

“Sometime last night.”

“I’m going over. I just have to see for myself.”

The professor hung up and set down the phone. “Dead. Wow!”

He had crafted the sound of Hollywood, and thereby of the American imagination for over five decades. What composer other than he had achieved so much, from Oscars and Grammys to global recognition as the driving force in film music? Who else was able to seamlessly navigate music for almost any film genre and always somehow prove to raise the benchmark for music in everyone? Only Frank Gillespie.

The professor stared out the window. It was a lot to live up to.


A grey sedan turned into the subdivision, the professor behind the wheel,

squinting in the evening sun. He slowed to let the coroner’s white van pass him, away from this tragic scene and on to another. He parked the car on the curb and approached the house, only to be greeted by an obstinate police officer

“Sorry sir we can’t let you in, this is a police investigation.”

“I need to see the house. I’m a professor. I knew him well.”

“Sorry, sir you can’t enter the house.”

The professor sighed and rubbed his eyes, finally looking up at the officer. “I’m his son.”

The officer gulped. “Well then.”


Washburton stood in the doorway, watching the professor approach. As the professor stepped on the porch, Washburton put out his hand.

“You must be James, the son.”

The professor cautiously shook Washburton’s hand. “Professionally, I go by Dr. Jensen.”

“Naturally. My apologies, your father always spoke of you as James, and I-”

“I understand.” The professor cut in. “He has a way of rubbing off on people.”

“Yes, this way.”


The professor surveyed the room. He stood in the study, feet strategically placed in the few patches of carpet that weren’t buried in books, sheet music and random junk, the outcasts from the over-laden shelves that towered to the ceiling, repositories of the plethora of minutia and literature collected by Gillespie during his decades on earth. Papers and notes sprawled atop a well-worn desk that faced the window. In the corner stood Gillespie’s legendary baby grand piano, likely destined for an auction to be sold to the highest bidding museum. The well-loved piano matched the atmosphere of the study almost perfectly, save for the jagged scarlet bloodstain running along one side.

“That will take some time to wash off,” the professor remarked, nodding to the grim reminder of Gillespie’s demise.

“They might keep it,” Washburton replied. “For authenticity. Bloodstained pianos are more valuable.”

The sound of approaching footsteps echoed in the dusty house. A woman in red pants strode into the study, arms embracing a bulging trash bag.

“Frank, rest his soul, was a slob.” She dropped the bag onto the ground and gestured in desperation. “This alone was the food left in his bedroom. We’ll have to clean it up before the pests find-” She paused in mid-tirade, seeming to notice the professor for the first time. “My apologies, we’ve all been quite frazzled since the incident.”

“Daniele, this is Doctor Jensen.”

The woman raised an eyebrow. “James?”

The professor cleared his throat, “I prefer Doctor Jensen, if you don’t mind.”

“Naturally.” the woman extended her hand. “I’m Addams.”

The professor shook it warily. “Another one of my father’s friends?”

“You can never have too many. Do you compose as well?”

“No. I teach.”

“Music?”

“No. Statistical Economics.”

“Oh.”

“Father and I...didn’t always see eye to eye. I did my best to keep him from rubbing off on me.”

An awkward silence seemed to suck the oxygen from the room. Finally, Washburton mumbled, “Let me take that garbage out.”

As the door swung closed, leaving Addams and the professor alone in the dusty study, the professor noticed a speaker by the ceiling.

“What’s that music?”

“Frank always had music playing. I don’t have the heart to turn it off.”

The professor cocked his head. He could make out the faint tinkle of a piano sonata.

“It’s Brahms,” Addams answered his unspoken question. “He’s playing Shostakovich in the dining room. And upstairs, The Beach Boys for some reason.”

The professor shook his head in amusement. “My father always had a taste for the eccentric. I’ll never understand what went through his head.” He turned to Addams, suddenly stern. “How did you find out? About...” He gestured to the red mark on the piano.

Addams sighed, uncomfortably recalling an unpleasant memory. “He invited us, Samuels, Washburton, and myself over for dinner last night. We knocked and he didn’t answer at first, which wasn’t unusual, so we let ourselves in. He usually is tinkering around in the kitchen or muttering in his study, but we couldn’t hear him. Just the faint music from his speakers. When we found him in the study, he had his head stuck in the piano and was unconscious. I called for an ambulance, but he was dead before he got to the hospital.”

“Was he…” The words caught in the professor’s throat. “In pain? At the end?”

Addams shook her head. “I don’t think so. Mercifully he was unconscious before he bled out.”

“Thank you. For finding him.”

Addams smiled; grief apparent behind her facade. “I do miss him. We all do.”

The sound of the front door opening and closing echoed into the study, soon followed by Gregory Samuels.

“Sorry I’m late. Got caught behind a train.”

“Did the train have coffee?”

Samuels glanced guiltily at the steaming latte in his hand. “Ah, looks like it did.”

“Samuels!” Washburton strode into the study, wagging his finger in amiable admonishment. “I wondered when you were going to come and be helpful for once.”

Samuels pointed his finger at Washburton. “Don’t get ahead of yourself. I, in fact, called and hired a funeral director this morning.”

“When is the funeral?”, the professor asked.

Samuels took a sip from his latte. “Saturday, I believe.”

“Don’t you worry about it,” Addams jumped in. “Frank asked us three to organize it, so we’ll take care of the whole thing.”

Washburton nodded. “All you need to do is arrive on time.”

The professor smiled halfheartedly. “Thank you. That’s...very kind.”

The trio turned to each other and discussed a plethora of minute details about the funeral. The professor began to be overwhelmed by it all, the rapid-fire plans, the looming absence of his patriarch, and an uncomfortable sensation in his stomach. He quickly excused himself.


The professor stared at himself in the bathroom mirror as he dried his hands. Was this really happening? Was his father, the indomitable figure who had towered over the professor’s life for so many decades, gone at last? For most of their lives, theirs had been a distant, at times resentful relationship, yet when it came down to it, the professor realized his father had been an anchor for him. A constant presence and irritation for him to measure himself against and to orient himself away from. And now that was gone

The professor surreptitiously glanced down the hall to check that the trio were still meeting in the study, only to see a woman, clad in a grey pantsuit and authoritative glasses perched on her nose, giving orders to two investigators down the hall. As the professor looked toward her, she simultaneously glanced at him, first casually, then in recognition. After a final commanding gesture, she turned and strode toward the professor, hand extended.

“You’re Dr. Jensen, I presume?”

“Why, yes, and you are?”

“Nora Thompson, legal counsel for Mr. Gillespie. Or, the late Mr. Gillespie rather. I need to update you about your father’s will. He designated Washburton, Samuels, and Addams as executors of his estate, and asked that only they be present for the will reading.”

“I don’t need my father’s money,” the professor snapped.

“Just the same, it will be my duty to inform you and any other family if you are the heir to any of his estate, once the will is read.”

The professor sighed. “Frank never included his family while he was alive, so it’s to be expected. I just have one question. Where, um, is my father?”

“His remains are in the morgue.”

“Can I...see him?”

“I’m afraid not. Mr. Gillespie was quite explicit. Other than the coroner, only Washburton, Samuels, and Addams are to examine and transport his…body.”

“Why? I’m his closest family member.”

“No offense, Dr. Jensen, but it seems your father trusted his friends more. And anyways, it’s his business. Who are we to argue with the wishes of the dead?”

The professor opened his mouth but the blistering retort on the tip of his tongue was extinguished by a wave of self-doubt, remorse, and bitter memories.

Thompson put her hand on his shoulder. “Your father was a magnificent man. I’m sad to see him go.” The professor nodded in awkward concurrence and turned away. As he opened the door of the study, he heard hushed conversation within. The creak of the door closing alerted the trio to the professor’s presence, and they froze mid-sentence. They turned to face the Professor, clearly feigning normalcy.

“Interrupting, am I?” the Professor asked.

Frenzied glances between the three till Addams piped up. “Just making arrangements for the funeral, nothing important.”

Jensen nodded, but kept his eyebrow raised in suspicion. “I see.”

“But the more important matter at hand,” Samuels said, “is how you’re doing.” He put a hand on the Professor’s shoulder. “Grief is a difficult process, but not one that you have to go through alone. It must be traumatic to lose your second parent.”

The Professor stared at his feet. “I don’t need anything.”

“How about a drink?” Washburton probed.

The professor smirked. “On the other hand, perhaps my trauma is showing up.”


MOVEMENT II: CONSOLATION


The light from the flickering sign of the bar sparkled in the ice at the bottom of the professor’s glass. He set down the empty whiskey glass and looked over his shoulder.

“My father used to come here, I remember.”

“It was his favorite. We spent many evenings at this bar.”

The professor begrudgingly grunted and stared into his glass. Washburton frowned and leaned in. Lowering his voice, he chose his words carefully.

“Dr. Jensen, I do hope that our relationship will not be soured by my association with your father. I was a close friend of his, but I would like the chance to become yours as well.”

The professor smiled. “Just trading one Gillespie for another, I see.” Washburton opened his mouth to protest, but the professor cut him off with a chuckle and wave of the hand. “I kid. In all honesty, I do appreciate it. It does help.” He rattled the ice at the bottom of his glass. “All of it.”

Washburton, relieved, put his hand on the professor’s shoulder. “I know it must be hard.”

The professor sighed. “It is harder, having two dead parents instead of one.” He looked up at Washburton, lips in a tragic, ironic smirk. “I just realized, I’m an orphan now.” He signaled the bartender. “Another, please.”

After a long sip on a fresh glass, the professor sat back in his seat. “It feels like part of me doesn’t believe it. That he’s really gone. How am I supposed to feel? Tragic grief? Bitter resentment? Is this justice or cruelty? I...I really don’t know what to feel. Everything and nothing at the same time, I suppose.” The professor stared at Washburton, with the kind of wide-eyed directness that would make most people squirm. “I did love him. Lord knows, it was hard, and most of the time he didn’t deserve it, didn’t earn it. But always, a part of me really did care about him.”

Washburton nodded. “When my father died, all I remember feeling was anger. I was so angry at him, myself, the world. I didn’t understand how something so wrong could just happen. I felt so...broken.”

“How did you heal?”

“Love from those around me, but mostly just time.”

The professor took a long sip from his glass. “When my mother died, my father sought comfort in self-reflection, and his music, and because of his narcissism he assumed that I wanted the same. As he sent me to boarding school, I should have told him that he was what I needed most but I was young and stubborn, so I said nothing.” He gritted teeth at the unpleasant memories. “Those years apart taught me the most important lesson my life, that I didn’t need him. Once I realized that I was better than him, then I was truly free. I never had to look back.”

Washburton studied the professors face, carefully choosing his words. “You, know, even if you couldn’t see it, he really did love you.”

The professor chuckled. “Loved me, my ass!”

Washburton coaxed again, “I just know that if you’d reached out to him, shown some sympathy-”

“Like he deserved any? After he pushed me away?” The professor interrupted clenching his fist in frustration. “I gave him the distance he deserved. He made it plenty clear that he wanted nothing to do with me, and there’s no way I was going to crawl back to him like the pitiful, sycophant worshiper he wanted for a son.”

Washburton sighed and wearily rubbed his forehead, “Sorry, I was out of line. I shouldn’t have gotten involved.”

The professor stared into his drink. Washburton could see the anguish in his eyes. “It was different when she died. I still had dad, for the little help he was. I had something, someone. Now, I don’t have any family left. I’m...just alone.”

Washburton put a comforting hand on the professor’s shoulder. “Even though it may feel like it, you’re not alone.” Washburton scrawled a phone number on a napkin and slid it over to the professor. “You’ve got me.”

The professor mumbled thanks and took another sip of his whiskey.


Later, the professor lay awake. Perhaps it was the whiskey, or just his father’s ghost haunting his mind. Unwittingly his eyes kept darting to the napkin with Washburton’s number. He reached over and examined the napkin. I need to know, he thought. He took a hesitant pause before dialing.

“Timothy?”

“Yes?”

“Where can I...see him?”

“At the morgue, downtown.”

“Thank you.”

A hesitant pause. “Are you going?”

“I-I think I might. The lawyer said I wasn’t supposed to, but I’ll try anyway.”

“Do you want me to come?”

“I...I don’t think so.” The professor put down the phone and stared at the ceiling. Shadows from trees outside danced overhead. I need to know, he thought.


MOVEMENT III: INTERIM SEPALCURE


An embarrassed cough. The attendant looked up to see the professor standing above the desk.

“Can I help you?”

“I...would like to see a body.”

“Name and relation?”

“Frank Gillespie. I’m his son”

“Gillespie?”

“Yes.”

The attendant rattled out a few keystrokes and squinted at the screen. “There it is. D-11. Just came in yesterday. Fresh delivery,” they chuckled but, upon seeing the troubled expression on the professor's face, hastily assumed an appropriate air of solemnity.

The professor felt a lump bulge in his throat as the attendant unlocked the door to the morgue chamber. He stepped inside and his hairs stood on end, partly from the cold refrigerator temperature, but also from the eerie silence of the space. Light bounced off the rows and columns of sterile, stainless steel drawers that lined the walls, each with its own, recently deceased occupant, each containing the grim epilogue of a story that had unexpectedly met its completion. So many stories consigned to this room, all to fade from memory, some later than others. Eventually all were destined for anonymity and final oblivion. My father will last longer than most, the professor thought. He lived a life hard to neglect.

The professor walked down the rows of drawers, the tombs before the tomb, his finger finally resting on D-11. A card stuck to the drawer somberly noted it’s occupant: Gillespie, F. The professor closed his eyes. It was true then. Here he was. Walking the earth no more, reduced to a soulless corpse in a drawer of a soulless room. No longer dominant enough to warrant a full name, reduced to simply “Gillespie, F”. The attendant put the key into the lock, but before he turned it the professor grabbed his hand.

“Wait. I...changed my mind. I don’t need to see. It’s enough for me to know.”

The attendant gave the professor an inquisitive glance and shrugged. “Suit yourself.”


MOVEMENT IV: MEMORIA AETERNA


Frank Gillespie had never been particularly religious. In his youth, the professor’s mother had taken him and a begrudging Frank to church occasionally. However, at age thirteen, any religious sentiment in their household died with their late mother. The professor suspected that Frank’s request for the funeral to be held in a church was to both pacify and turn his nose to those critics who mocked his eccentricity and avarice, and who (mostly) in jest gossiped that he, like all revolutionary artists, had sold his soul to the devil for his gifts. The only devotion in this house of God, as far as the professor could see, was directed towards his late father. A string ensemble greeted mourners as they walked up the steps with luscious renditions of Gillespie’s most heart wrenching scores, leading to yet another ensemble, a jazz ensemble, crooning more of Gillespie’s tunes in the atrium amidst pictures of great moments in his life waiting to be admired. Here, on the set of his first film. There, meeting with the Queen of England. Past the doors, inside the arena-size mega-church sanctuary awaited the final ensemble, the New York Philharmonic. It was uncalled for to ask a professional orchestra to play for such a memorial but given that every member was either mentored by or a close colleague of Gillespie’s, it had been difficult to refuse. All one hundred musicians miraculously fit onto the stage, surrounded by gaudy decorations of balloons and streamers of black, gold and blue, (Gillespie’s favorite colors) and four massive projector screens running a slideshow of Gillespie at work in his studio, shaking the hands of Hollywood elite, and on vacation in Jamaica (his vacation destination of choice) and sprinkled by, of all things, a mellow lightshow. All of it, as Washburton, Samuels and Addams had explained again and again to flabbergasted decorators, had been extensively detailed and funded by Gillespie before his death. Gillespie believed in no God, but he sure worshiped himself.

When the professor arrived on the scene, he had to restrain himself from sighing in embarrassment. Men and women in dapper black mingled on the steps, some well-known faces giving interviews to reporters, most giving the professor curious, critical sideways glances. He did his best to avoid eye contact, well aware that he stood out in his drab, academic, grey jacket.

“Jensen!” The professor looked up to see Washburton striding down the steps towards him “I’m glad you came early!” Washburton took the professor’s arm and led him into the church. “No need to bother waiting in line once the crowd arrives.” He nodded to two ushers, who swung the sanctuary doors open, revealing a long aisle banked by sturdy hard-backed pews. All the pews faced the same focal point, a curiously simple coffin lay shut in the front of the chapel.

“Closed casket?”

Washburton shrugged, “Due to the nature of the...injury, we thought it best. Come, your seat is in the front row.”

As he walked down the aisle, the professor surveyed the other early mourners. Hollywood bigwigs, there as a matter of courtesy, mixed with music industry giants, many in inspirational debt to Gillespie. In the far back, in the shadow of the balcony, sat a wizened man who’s eyes flashed at the professor before turning away into the dark.

Those blue eyes…so much like his father’s…but no, it was a trick of the light and memory. No longer would his father’s blue eyes flicker in the lamplight. They were forever shut to the world, themselves enclosed within an oak coffin soon to be enveloped by the very earth itself.

The professor stared at his feet as he sat in the front row, the place of honor for family members. He could feel the eyes of the congregation on the back of his head, he being the lone relative present for the funeral. Washburton took a seat beside him and put his arm around the professor’s shaking shoulder and pointed towards the third row of pews. “Say, isn’t that Felicity Bryers?”

The professor gave the actress a disinterested glance. “Looks like it. Half of Hollywood is here.”

“If your father made anything with his music, it was connections. He knew how to bring people together.”

“And push them away,” the professor muttered snidely.

The final guests took their seats, the ushers closed the door, and the service began.

As the lights dimmed, the preacher took the pulpit, a tall, balding man whom the professor had never met, and whom, the professor suspected, was a stranger to Frank as well. The preacher intoned a somber soliloquy extolling the virtues that Gillespie had embodied, and which the professor knew were surpassed by the vices Gillespie had saved for his private life, the cracks in the visage held up by his son, the failings that burdened the professor’s conscience to this day.

Father, the professor thought, let me go. He glanced down at the program to see that, in fact, several men and women were slated to eulogize his father that day. In between each speaker the orchestra was to perform his father’s greatest works, for how better to honor a great mind than display its achievements.

The professor sighed. This is going to take a while, he thought.

Half an hour later, as a prolific composer stepped up to cast his feeble heartfelt words onto the mountainous landfill of eulogies filling the chapel, the professor shifted in his seat. There’s something about this that doesn’t feel right, he thought.

The professor hated to admit it, but part of him couldn’t escape listening to his father’s music. If he had taken time for self-reflection, he may have realized that he still idolized his father and adored his work, but far too many scars had buried these thoughts away for him to consider the notion. However much the professor resented his father, he still found himself devouring each new composition, film score, or other musical product of his father’s mind, and watched the movies they belonged to with nearly religious fervor.

He wondered, now, at the selection chosen for performance at this memorial. All good pieces, for sure, but far from the best his father had written. Where was “Bird Call” from Twilight Roses? Why no rendition of “Denouement” from Guns Over Tomahawk Beach? Not even “Naval Fanfare,” the crowning musical masterpiece of Goodnight, Mr. President, the composition that had launched Gillespie’s career?

Perhaps, he thought, all the selections featured death. As he scanned the list, this nearly appeared to be the case. From “Grasshopper Elegy” to “Antony’s Farewell”, many of the selected pieces were composed for scenes of death, departure, and grief. However, not all fit this theme. The professor frowned as the orchestra performed “Cracking the Code,” from The Enigma Conundrum. It was an entertaining composition for sure, with the driving piano chords and swirling string melodies, but not at all mournful. No, he thought, this is a song of revelation. The moment when, in the movie, he thought the protagonists...found the answer.

The professor leaned over to Washburton. “How did you choose these pieces?”

“Frank picked them out himself,” Washburton whispered. “One of his numerous final wishes.”

The final speaker, yet another teary eyed director lamenting Gillespie’s passing, stepped off the stage. The conductor gave the upbeat and the violins began. The professor glanced down at the program. “Raphael’s Theme from Midnight Song.” A lovely piece from a mediocre film.

Slowly, the professor’s eyes grew wide. He recognized those violins. This wasn’t “Raphael’s Theme.” This was “Raphael’s Theme Reprise,” from later in the film. He thought carefully. There was something important about that reprise. Some subtle meaning lurked outside his understanding, but the professor hadn’t seen Midnight Song, so he couldn’t tell what it meant.

Lost in thought, the professor was swept away by the music. What did it mean? Why had his father commanded that these pieces be played? What did it all mean?

The professor's eyes searched back up the program. Moments ago, the orchestra played the music from the famous “tea scene” in the historical drama The Cossack and the Queen. No grief or mourning in that music, no loss, just jovial nonchalance with subtle undertones of menace, mirroring the action on screen: all the characters in the scene laughed and cheerfully made small talk, while secretly lying and plotting each other's demise. All thought that they knew which teacup held the poison, but all were wrong. A lighthearted facade masking betrayal. Incongruence between actions and intentions. Really, if any general message was to be taken from that scene it would be simply that... “Things aren’t what they seem,” he muttered to himself.

Even beyond the grave, he thought, you still found a way to get in my head.

The orchestra concluded the final piece, and all eyes shifted to the professor. As the next of kin, it was his privilege, or perhaps obligation, to visit the coffin first. Washburton stood and offered his hand and led the professor forwards. He placed his hand on the silent coffin. A coffin made of wood from a felled oak. The dead within the dead.

A single, glistening tear dropped from the professor’s sorrowful, yet unforgiving eyes. Oceans of tumult and conflict churned behind those eyes, threatening to burst forth and show the world, all the hundreds of onlookers, how feeble he really was. I will not break. I must not break. He inhaled and closed his eyes. Goodbye, Father. The professor turned and let his hand slip away from the casket. Hundreds of prying pupils assaulted him from every direction. Even the orchestra must be staring at me, he thought.

To his dismay, an endless line of mourners was forming to pay their respects and plague the professor with their well-meaning condolences. Now to stand and listen to hundreds of strangers give him their sympathy. The professor sighed deeply and stepped to the side, only to be confronted by a microphone, connected by an arm to an anxious reporter.

“Doctor Jensen! Any comment on your father’s death?”

The professor stared past the reporter and into the sea of other mourners that thronged the sanctuary. Subtle and prying eyes, questions waiting to bother and confuse him, an army of hands to shake and shallow condolences to stomach.

He turned away. He could not do it. “No...I - I can’t. I need to let my father go. I...I need to go.” He strode away down the aisle, ignoring the outcries from onlookers.

Washburton frantically pursued him and cried out: “Jensen, wait!” The professor did not wait, continuing resolutely towards the doors, until at the last minute, something caught his eye. The professor paused. To the left, still stood the strange old man, in the shadow of the choir loft, surveying the crowd. The old man sank back into the shadows, seeming to collapse into the darkness under a burden of weariness. The professor was reminded of his own weariness. The professor shook his head and walked out the door

As the professor stepped outside, a damp patter of rain greeted him. Typical, he thought. All funerals should end in the rain. He stared up at the clouds, water streaming down the face, the rain indistinguishable from the tears that ran from his eyes. How many hundred scenes such as this had his father written music for? An introspective piano melody lilting atop some somber violin chords, he could practically hear it now. “Why,” he wanted to scream, “Why did you do this to me? Get out of my head!” He almost shouted up at the distant, unforgiving clouds, but he held in his raging words. He suspected that would be just what his father wanted. He shut his eyes and steeled himself, taking a deep breath. He was better than his father. Whatever pitiful cries for attention his father flung upon him would not succeed. Even in death, the professor would not let him win.


CODA: OVATION


The strange little old man waited till all the mourners were gone. He waited until the pallbearers carried the coffin out and till the sounds of the processional cars faded into silence. He waited till the reverend had gathered his things and left, till stillness descended upon the chapel. Only then did he emerge, a sly grin growing on his face as he walked through the empty pews. What a magnificent show, a truly glorious orchestration. Each chess piece sliding into place, from the three conspirators to the smooth choreography at the morgue, to each meticulous detail of the funeral ceremony, each instrument played its part to perfection. At last he arrived at the front of the chapel, standing where the coffin had greeted weeping fans only hours before, and turned to face the empty congregation. He smirked and took a deep breath, before taking a deep bow, embraced in the thunderously silent applause of the invisible admirers, an imaginary, adoring crowd wildly praising his spectacular final performance.



Simeon Klepac is an emerging author from the rolling bluegrass hills of Kentucky. He enjoys writing science fiction, post-apocalyptic and dramatic stories that ask big questions. He's currently attending Valparaiso University in the cornfields of Indiana, and is studying history, music and education. He loves writing, performing music, reading, and all matters pertaining to lightsabers, superheroes, magic wands, mithril armor, and the spice of Arrakis.

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