Rings Around The Moon continued . . .
. . .“As a grand finale, it sucks,” said Lana to anyone who would listen. She liked the line, and it stopped
people being maudlin; Mick would have wanted people to laugh at his funeral.
But when Lana said it to her sister, Belinda replied with her characteristic candour. “Well, what did
you expect from a drug-addicted has-been with an identity problem?”
Lana sighed, feeling much older than her thirty-eight years. “Nothing, I guess.”
She sat in the front row through the service, her new, multi-coloured hair resplendent amongst the
black. Mick’s new wife sat in the front row on the other side, her face streaked with rivulets of
Lana had a moment of unabashed glee when Mick’s long-time friends all chose to sit behind her.
Then she thought, To hell with them all. Their condolences washed over her like a spring shower; this was between her and Mick.
Mick hated funerals. He couldn’t work out what he was doing at this one. He thought of asking
someone who it was who’d died, but that seemed a bit crass, even for him. Then he spotted Lana;
she was hard to miss, with her hair done up in all colours of the rainbow.
Something stirred in Mick’s memory: one of his and Lana’s monumental fights. He’d told her she
looked like a groupie with her hair dyed. She’d told him she might as well be a groupie since all she
did was follow him to gigs and screw him afterwards. He’d told her to watch her language. She’d said
that was a joke, the way he carried on. He’d thrown a beer can at her head. She’d threatened to
dance naked on his grave with her hair dyed all the colours of…
Oh shit! Mick noticed all his friends. Then he saw Janey sitting all alone down the front.
I bloody did it! He remembered the tree and the light from Lana’s house, and the way his belt had dug into his windpipe…
By the end of the service, Mick felt a bit weepy. They had played all his hit songs, and people had
told stories; most of them were even true. He followed the coffin out, surprised to see his brother
Danny as a pallbearer. What did they say? Death heals all!
At the graveside, they played more music. This time it was Ronnie on his Gibson, accompanying
himself like in the old days. “Farewell, Mick, old mate,” called Ronnie when he finished. People turned away then, walking in small groups back to their lives.
Janey lingered by the grave, looking lost. What had he been thinking? Nineteen! The baby Lana lost would have been nineteen this year . . .
As if he’d conjured her up by thinking of her, Lana appeared. She stood opposite Janey, looking
down at the coffin.
“There’s something I need to do here,” she said to Janey in the husky voice Mick loved. “You can
stay, but you mightn’t like it.”
Janey looked as if she’d been slapped. She walked away.
Slowly Lana took off all her clothes and started to sway from side to side. Mick thought he could pick
the rhythm. As the tempo built, Lana moved faster and faster, until she was a blur--dancing,
whirling, flying around the hole in the ground where they’d put his body.
“C’mon, you crazy bastard. One last dance,” called Lana, dancing like a Dervish with clown’s hair.
Mick was pulled into the vortex, turning and turning. He danced with her in ever-widening
gyres, shedding all that bound him to his moments in time. Then, with Lana a still point at the centre, he spun out and out, running rings around the moon.
“Goodbye,” called Lana, shivering as the sweat cooled on her body. “Goodbye, darling man.”
She dressed and walked to her car. When she caught a glimpse of her hair in the rear-vision mirror,
she decided she might keep it that way for a while. For memory. For love. And for the sheer hell of it.
Copyright © 2007 by Kaalii Cargill