Story: Funeral Pyre: A Mike Hammer Story
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First Published: Flash In The Gutters, 2006
Copyright: Mike Hammer & all characters, are owned & copyright of the Mickey Spillane Estate

“In Memory Of Mickey Spillane”

It did not rain that day, but the grass was still wet. The Mexican in greasy denim overalls and a green hose might have had something to do with it. The sun was cut into the sky. It was cool enough for me to wear a trench and hat to go with my Sunday best. I unfolded my suit, ironing-out some of the wrinkles, shaved what hair growth had come, and trudged my way up the hill where he was buried.
Gladys was with me, snug in her holster, wearing her Sunday best. A bottle of scotch out of my desk top draw kept my coat pocket company.

Pat sent his regards but couldn’t make it. A cop’s life was never a quiet one. Triple homicide downtown had his hands full and the DA up in arms about law & order.
I was making the trek up the side a mountain of dead people. As usual. I just wasn’t the one to put ‘em all there.

Mike Hammer, private eye to some, public menace to most others.

Didn’t mean a damn thing to me. He knew that, just like he always knew.
We’d always been together, my now deceased friend and me. Even when he wasn’t there physically I always knew his presence, almost like a god—but no one created me—I was tossed into life like the baby with the bathwater.
Thrown into the gutter—told to survive.
The walk was steep. My shoes crunched down on dried leaves and wet grass, making a queer sound I couldn’t describe. I passed around headstones of various rocks with different words chiseled into them. Words of sentiment and love. I was sure his would have something to that effect and I had my own words to add.

A family of mourners gathered two or three plots down from me, crying tears, holding and comforting each other. Things families do. Things my friend did for me when I got back from the war. He was there for me on those nights when I had to force my eyes closed trying not to see the shades of death and acrid smoke shoved so deep down my nostrils the taste remained even after I awoke in a cold sweat.
Liquor couldn’t drive the demons from the corners of my mind, but he understood. He grabbed a .45 and fought them back—for that I’ll always be grateful.

I was coming up to his headstone. The guy that chiseled his last words made an error in his name.
I was going to correct that. I stood, and then knelt down, placing my palm across the words, reading them:
“Here Lies Mickey Spillane, Great Writer, Loving Husband. 1918 to 2006”.
M-I-C, K-E-Y I used to kid ‘em about over shots of scotch. I stood back up, lit up a Camel, pulled Gladys out of her holster and chambered the hollow tip because I knew marble would ricochet a normal bullet. Stood far enough back and squeezed off a shot that scared the crying family out of mourning. To hell with ’em!

This is how I mourn!

The hollow made the dot over the ‘I’ in Mickey’s name. Chips of marble fell and crumbled underneath the roses placed there by admirers.
I moved those off to the side. I slid Gladys back into her Sunday best. I sat down, leaning my back against the front of his headstone. The bottle of scotch cap off in one hand, the Camel burning in between the fingers of the other.

I sat my hat to the back of my head and took a deep drink and a drag.
I was drinking for two now.
I closed my eyes. He’d wait for me. Mickey would. We had hell to raise behind those pearly gates.


Wait for me, Mickey.



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