What a Lovely Irony

Submitted into Contest #27 in response to: Write a short story that ends with a twist.... view prompt



Isn’t it ironic?

Me, a comedian, a man made of jokes, in the most miserable place that you could ever possibly imagine.

I stood over her casket and brushed my fingers across its polished wood. As I stared at the casket’s outside, I didn’t dare look inside. To see her pale face and flushed cheeks. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and moved on, letting a line of her family members file behind me.

Throughout the rest of the funeral, all I heard was a cacophony of apologizes.

“I’m so sorry.”

“She was too good for this world.”

“There was nothing you could do.”

“She would want you to move on.”

“I’m sorry about your wife.”

More or less, they all said the same generic thing, repeated a thousand times. Voices full of pity. I felt kind of numb to their sympathies, their pain, and just focused on drinking the champagne.

“Damn, that sucks,” a voice called behind me.

There was something different about this voice. I had never heard it before, and it sounded too monotonous to be truly empathetic.

Spinning around, I saw her. Dressed in a baggy sweatshirt and leggings. Her hair was tied up in a messy bun and she wasn’t wearing any make-up. Her face and appearance looked tired, worn. Yet, her eyes were wide awake. They stared at the casket, but not the inside.

She took out a cigarette, lit it, then puffed a few smoke clouds. “You should have gotten a mahogany coffin instead of walnut. Walnut looks tacky.” There was no remorse in her voice. Just brutal honesty.

“Who are you?” I asked.

She stuck her hand out. “Name’s Mindy. I’m the undertaker around here.”

Awkwardly, I shook her hand, then she shoved it back in her sweatshirt. “Do you go to every funeral you provide?” I inquired.

She shrugged. “I go to them every now and then, but I’m mostly over saturated with work.” Turning to me, Mindy asked. “How did you know the corpse?”

“Uh, she was my wife.”


I scratched the back of my head. “Not really. I mean yeah, it is kind of sad, but we weren’t doing too well before she died.” In a whisper I added. “It’s almost a relief.”

For some reason, I didn’t feel any guilt when I said those words.

I stepped a little closer to her. “So are you always working? Doesn’t that get depressing?”

“Not really. I mean, it’s not like I know these people. What’s there to grieve? So yeah, if you wanna find me, I’ll be the with corpses.”

I almost laughed at her joke.

That day, I was feeling kind of numb, but Mindy the undertaker made me feel more alive.

Is that ironic?

It was a week later that I saw Mindy again. She wasn’t wearing her old sweatshirt this time. In its place was a vintage T-shirt, ripped jeans, and gloves partly covered in blood. This time it was my father who died. His health hasn’t been the best over the last two years so this wasn’t a surprise.

“Never thought I would see you again so soon, sailor,” Mindy greeted.

I felt a sudden rush of euphoria when I saw her, but I kept my chin down so I wouldn’t show it. “Uh, yeah.” I struggled with the suffocating tie of my stuffy suit. “My dad kinda of…”

“I feel you. That’s gotta be terrible. Especially after your wife kicked the bucket.” I heard her say these words, and felt soothed by her lack of fake remorse.

“You okay?” Mindy asked as she noticed I was staring a little too long at her.

I glanced away. “I’m fine. I wasn’t that close with my father anyway. He held me at an emotional distance for most of my childhood.”

“Ha! Seems like you keep losing everyone you don’t like.” She turned to me. “I hope you can find someone that you do. Preferably alive.”

I nodded along with a thin smile.

Mindy the undertaker was strange, but I kinda liked this kind of strange.

They say my mother died of heartbreak, but that isn’t exactly true. She died of a heart attack, just like my father and wife. Only a couple of days after my father’s funeral did she meet a similar fate. Mindy was there waiting for me this time. “Dude, what kind of crap star were born under?” She inquired.

I shrugged. “Don’t know.”

“Has your life always been this tragic?”

“Not really.”

“Then, I guess your luck is just pretty much trash right now.”

Pausing, I didn’t reply. I didn’t think this was so terribly unlucky. Instead, I thought I was more fortunate to meet her. If only I could find time to meet her outside her work hours.

The next day, I went to visit my brother. By now, he was overcome with grief from the losses of both of our parents. I didn’t share in his tears. Instead, I simply put a hand on his shoulder to comfort him. As the tears and sobs dehydrated his body, I handed his a glass of water. After an hour, I left him to a puddle of tears.

Then, I waited. For the fibrin hidden in the water to take effect. For the buildup of arterial plaque. For the clogged artery. For the heart attack. For the funeral. And finally, to see my beloved Mindy again.

My brother was healthier than most. It took him a full two weeks to finally die. While a few people were shocked to see him die of a heart attack, but no one bothered to look into it. And thus, I remained in the clear. At the funeral, I barely paid any attention to the corpse. Looming over the grieving masses, I searched for Mindy. I smiled when I finally saw her. I was the only one smiling.

Funny how I’m most happy in what is supposed to be the most tragic part of my life.

Isn’t that ironic?

But then again, what a lovely irony it is.

February 02, 2020 17:35

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Shirley Medhurst
17:16 Feb 25, 2020

I enjoyed this story - found it easy to read. I also agree with Emily's comment about your creation of two truly awful characters.... I liked the twist, altho I did suspect as much from quite early on in your story.


Show 0 replies
Emily Sperber
03:33 Feb 05, 2020

Truly ended in a twist! It's great because you don't like these characters, in a good way, and then the end reveals that you don't have to! I loved it!


Show 0 replies
Anna K Firth
00:46 Feb 11, 2020

First story I've read today in the twist category that actually has a twist, and one that made me gasp a little. I also love the title. :)


Show 0 replies

Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in the Reedsy Book Editor. 100% free.