The Funeral
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Knowing the house where she lived for thirty years would be preserved forever, Elizabeth Cartwright elected to have her remains interred on the estate.  It wasn't easy getting a private residence zoned as a cemetery.  But money was something she was full of, among other things.  When they lowered the casket down into the rich Louisiana soil beneath the weeping willow tree, nearly a dozen people were in attendance.  Excluding the shaman, who waggled his bag of bones and urn of smoking sage, howling traditional tribal chants, the people ringed around the grave were Elizabeth Cartwright's last living relatives.  

There was Sandra, the oldest niece, moodily staring down into the pit, beside her shabbily dressed husband.  Sandra Cartwright had taken a three-day weekend for the first time in six years to be here.  And if the grim expression on her lips inspired thoughts of solemn introspection at the frailty of life, the truth was far simpler.  She had postponed a crucial meeting at work to be here, and her bitch aunt hadn't the decency to declare her sole proprietor of the estate.  Instead, she and her husband Randal would have to fight her siblings for the contents of the house like common street trash.  

The prospect alone was exhausting, and she was in no mood for the turning, shouting medicine man's antics.  He or his eagle feather loin cloth.  The sage smoke made her want to retch.  But she endured.  What choice did she have, after all?  While her bronze-complected husband feigned nodding off, she pondered the potential return on investment.  There could be millions in undiscovered treasures lurking in the darkened dusty rooms.  Rare artifacts, fine jewelry, even antique furniture to offset the cost of her and Randal's last minute first class tickets.

Return must exceed eight percent to be worth my time and trouble, she reminded herself.  And every moment they spent listening to Chief "Runswithscissors" hoot and holler like a street performer was a hundredth of a percentage point shaved from her potential fortune.  The thought was nauseating and infuriating and made her want to push the spiritual guru right down into the hole with her.  Right in on top of the ecologically friendly biodegradable casket.  Then she would spend a few minutes kicking dirt in onto them both.  For good measure.  It would be money/time well spent.  

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