He’s a hack. A charlatan.
He travels from town to town, lying to grieving widows and
wounded parents, and they line up and pay him for the opportunity.
They’re actually grateful for it.
He doesn’t care how much they’ve suffered, or about the desperation
that drives them to him, he sees them as little more than marks to be fleeced
for whatever he can get from them. He makes whatever promises he needs to, and
knows he’ll never be held to account for any of it.
He can’t speak to the dead. Trust me.
I’ve been up here, near the skylight, screaming at him since
his little show began. If he could hear me, he’d have acknowledged me by now,
if only to tell me to shut the hell up.
But even if he did, I wouldn’t be able to bring myself to.
My wife’s in the third row, you see, and watching her stare
at this con man as though he was her only hope of salvation is tearing me
apart. She’s better than this, she shouldn’t believe his line of nonsense. But
grief does funny things to people, I suppose, and it’s not like I’ve been there
to provide the comfort she needs myself.
So she paid two hundred dollars for a ticket to see a man
who’ll lie about messages from me, and when it’s her turn to be interviewed
privately after the show he’ll mouth a few empty platitudes about how I’m in a
better place and how I want her to get on with her own life. And if he does
that job well enough, she’ll maybe buy a t-shirt.
He’ll do the best he can to help her come to terms with her
grief. After all, he dearly wants her to buy that t-shirt.
Maybe it’ll actually help her, I don’t know. She’d always
been more open to this sort of supernatural mumbo-jumbo than me.
It’s just not how I’d have dealt with it, is all.
But how she deals with things is no longer a matter I have
any say in. I haven’t had a say since they put me in the ground.
So I’ll wait, up here, and watch the show.
And when she goes for her private interview afterward, I’ll
hope the “message” he receives from me sounds something like all the things I
so desperately want to say…