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I'll Keep It With Mine

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The funeral service droned on. John Cale was sitting near the front, his arms folded over his body and an annoyed expression on his face. "But today is not a Perfect Day, because today we are saying goodbye to you, Lewis..." the speaker was saying. John's frown deepened, his eyes flickering darkly from under the shadow cast by his long, pointed lashes. His lips pressed together harder, an equine stubbornness set in the corner of his mouth. Damn it, he thought, for the thousandth time that day. How dare Lou die without letting him know first. Sure, he'd been ill, and John had been to see him, but it would have been nice if he'd given him a little heads up that it was seriously serious. For all he knew John might have had plans. There was a lot they could have done, still. If only Lou had known his place and listened for once... but then he never would, and now he was dead, and he would definitely never do what John said anymore.

The realisation caused a stab of pain and anger. He tilted his head back a little, his broad tanned fingers squeezing his upper arm like it was Lou's neck. But now Lou was dead, making it utterly impossible for John to kill him. "Fuck," John whispered. Luckily, nobody noticed, because they were busy listening to the next speaker.

"Last Sunday Morning did not bring the dawning to you, Lou..." she said. John jerked his head up at the mention of the lyrics, but realised the speech actually had nothing to do with the song, so he stopped paying attention. Moe was sitting next to him, gazing fixedly at the speaker. "Damn Ruskie," she muttered to herself. "I bet she supports Obamacare."

John, meanwhile, was thinking about the obituaries he'd read. Asinine crap, all of them, even worse than when Andy died. One had said Lou's last work had been a rock opera based on plays by Wedekind. John smiled. As if Lou could write a rock opera. Let alone based on social-realist plays. John was the one who wrote operas, everyone knew that. And ballets. Lou had never even written a ballet. He couldn't. Even if he worked with Metallica. Who were Metallica, anyway? Should he use a metallica if he wrote another opera? He mulled this over, until he noticed that Moe had disappeared from his side and was now, apparently, nearing the end of her eulogy.

"... and now he's dead. Thanks, Obama," she said, nodding decisively. John watched her leave the stage and come back. Who would have thought Moe would become the political intellectual, he thought. Moe sat down next to him and nudged him. He stared at her. "It's your turn," she said. John grumbled, and ambled onto the stage to give his speech.

"When I first met Lou, he seemed extremely vulnerabubble. He had an uncanny ability to bring out the worst in people. It seemed like his identity was only really clear when attacking. Eeeend eh, I think that could also apply to me. But I wasn't good with words.  But Lou was really adept at erupting in eh, eloquent streams of poetry. In his limp-wristed way. Because he was the gay one. Eeeeeend he couldn't figure me out, and I couldn't figure him out. Eeeend eh, the only thing we had in common were drugs and an obsession with risk taking. But I think we could have done great things together. Lou said in a poem to me, called Forewarned is Forearmed: "Love me and I will be your friend. Love me, love me til the end. Until the occasion arises. Then I will kill you." Now it is the end, but he didn't kill me. Thank you." He gave the audience a penetrating stare. "By the way, I'm not bitter," he added, and walked off.

"That was nice. Very touching," Moe said as he returned to his seat. John nodded at her, blinking and having difficulties dealing with his emotions. Lou was such an asshole, as if John hadn't known what he was trying to do with that poem. As if he could ever take his threats seriously. John had always been way too nice about it. But Lou was always so insecure, he had always felt that urge to hurt when everyone knew that was no way to get John's attention...

Another person had taken to the lectern and started to talk.

"Dear Lou, I'm sure that now you've gone to your own Satellite of Love..."

---

John waited until everyone had left to visit the grave. The sight of it made his stomach lurch with annoyance. Not grief. It wasn't as if he missed him, he thought. They hadn't spoken a lot the last few years and the periods of silence hadn't bothered him at all. But then, that had been a different feeling. He'd always known Lou was there, making mediocre pop albums. Now he'd never make an album that was inferior to John's work again. John blinked, the edges of his long lashes wet now. He wasn't crying, though, it was the sting of anger he felt in his eyes. He buried his face in his hands, turning away and wandering blindly into a large rhododendron.

While he was struggling to find his way out, he heard something going on behind him. It sounded like a child crying. A little girl, maybe. But Lou didn't have any small children in his social circle that might come to his funeral. Then he heard something smash. He flailed in a manly hetero way against the branches of the shrub, hearing more things smash behind him. Finally, his vision cleared and he broke free of the leafy menace.

There was a man in shades and a hat throwing potted plants at the headstone, sobbing uncontrollably. John was taken aback, but he couldn't just let someone throw things at dead Lou's head. He was the only one allowed to do that.

"Hey, you!" he said. "Stop throwing plants at my gay friend." He waved his arms in a crazed way and gave him his most terrifying stare. The man froze. As he came closer, there was something familiar about that face. Probably one of Lou's queeny flaming gay friends who were gay. John's eyes narrowed. "David... Bowie?" he said. That was a name, right? That was a person. Yeah.

"Yes, it's me," David said. "I was totally invited to the funeral, you know. Definitely invited."

"Why are you throwing plants?" John said, menacing him a bit more.

"Old times' sake," David said, sniffling. He moved closer to the grave and let the potted fern he was holding drop gently to the ground. "Why don't you... come out here... and fight... like... a man," he sobbed out, staring at the grave. Then he broke down completely. He turned and floundered away into the trees, crying. John shook his head. Lou had the weirdest lovers.

Then he turned to get the wreath his daughter had forced him to take with him. It was red and pink, appropriately tacky. A neon-pink bow hung from it. He put it tenderly on the grave, on top of all the other pieces and surveyed it with a warm glow in his heart. Then he left, his head hung low and the golden autumn sunlight on his back as he disappeared. It also illuminated the grave, the pink of the wreath burning with it, the ribbon bright, the words on it shining.

"Love me, love me til the end," one side of it read. "PS: you were the gay one." said the other.