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666 Great Junction Street

Part 12

The afterlife is communist. Not a state, or anything like that (in fact it's surprisingly tidy, given the natural human predilection for comfortable surroundings), but a land of egalitarian lolling. Obviously, it makes no sense for avarice or ownership of property to exist when existence is no more.

Petty jealousies, however, still abound. These are often occasioned by those envious of the more mourned and more fondly remembered. Considering spirits become more revived when recalled in bereaved friends and relatives' memories, this is not surprising. Most ghosts are glad of the chance to flex a little bit of corporeal muscle occasionally. It means they can mingle unseen but observant among the living.

The biggest opportunity to do this for the majority of the afterlife's inhabitants is at their own funerals. Inevitably, once the mourners have dispersed and the ghost's shimmering presence decreases, the bars of the after life begin to fill with the recently departed regaling all and, indeed, sundry, with stories of attendances and volume of tears shed. Once the new arrivals' predictable conversations and rivalries wane, though, it's not long before the workaday business of being dead takes over and harmony, on the whole, prevails.

Nowhere in the city of the dead would you expect to find more harmony than in Memory Lane. Here, lost souls moon around, drifting in and out of earthly presence while loved ones alternatively bring them to mind or periodically forget them while eating biscuits or watching TV. Lech Lutha, along with several other old Leithers, was there frequently these days, thanks to Jessie Kelso's increasing nostalgic nose dives.

It was as he sat in the Dead Lion that rumours of a murder in Memory Lane began to filter through.

'Murder?' said Lech to whoever was in earshot.

'Surely this is impossible?'

'You would think so,' said President John F. Kennedy (constantly being remembered thanks to everyone banging on about remembering where they were the day he was assassinated). 'But it is not unknown. Being murdered here means you end up back on Earth as a mayfly or something, so it's not long till you're back again. It's all a bit pointless really.'

'So, who vos murdered?' asked Lech.

'I've no idea,' said the president. 'But I have heard there has been some unrest at the sixties hippies' reservation down the road.'

'Vot unrest?'

'Well, they have these constant arguments about being remembered because, apparently, if you can remember the sixties you weren't really there…'

'Ah, yes. I hear this ridiculous saying many times. Marijuana Bores, she tell me over and over…'

'Exactly. Anway, I overheard somewhere that someone's murdered a hippy.'

'A hibee?'

'Ah, maybe that was it.'


Next Week: Beyoncé was my fiancée



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