Bar Ben-Yossef

“We don’t have any room left for anyone down the field.” He said, and picked up another pickle from the jar on the table.

“What do you mean?”

“What you just heard, we cannot bury her here, we have no plots available.”

“Then I’ll go to another cemetery.” I was about to get up, but he stopped me.

“No point in doing that, there aren’t any places to bury anyone anywhere, I’m telling you.”

“This is ridiculous…”

He licked his fingers and said “Yep, but it’s true. No plots anywhere.” 

“What about that thing they do when they put a couple of people together? What do they call that-layered graves?“

“We’re not allowed to do that anymore, unfortunately, as we’ve reached the core of the earth.” He gobbles up another pickle from the jar. 

“This doesn’t make any sense, come on, can’t we just… I don’t know, find an old gravestone that no one visits anymore and just… put her there?”

“It’s illegal. I’m telling you – you cremate her, you get a nice jar, you put her in the living room next to the TV, and that way she can stay with you forever.”

“But… I’m not sure I want that. Would you want your mother in a jar in your living room?”

“She’s already in a jar, in my living room.” He grabbed another pickle, “Listen, it’s your best, and only, option, bubal’eh. Think about all the time and money you’d save on visits.”

“I don’t know, it’s like, cremation is so… so final, don’t you think?”

“She’s dead, it doesn’t get any more final than that.” 

“I know, but still, what if… what if the Messiah decides to show up all of a sudden, and resurrect everyone? Will he be able to do that if she’s cremated?” 

“He’s not gonna come, trust me.” He swallowed another pickle. 

“How can you be so sure?”

“You know what – if the Messiah does come, if he really gets here at some point – he will find a way to resurrect your mother too, okay? He is the Messiah after all, right?” He tried to grab another pickle, but there were none left so he just drank the leftover brine, wiped his mouth and put the jar back on the table. “It’s not that complicated bubal’eh – For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return – with cremation you become dust a little bit quicker, that’s true, but you get the point.” 

I sighed. 

“How much will it cost?”

“10,000 bucks.”

“What the… are you joking?” 

“That is if you cremate her alone. With another body, it’s only 5000.”

“Where would I get another body from?!”

“Oh, I’ve got plenty of those here, don’t worry.” 

“But then she’ll be like… mixed, with this other person that she doesn’t even know.” 

He stood up, “So when the Messiah Arrives, you meet with the family of the other person and he will resurrect both of them, how’s that for you?” He was clearly beginning to lose his patience, so I went for it. 

We cremated my mother with a woman named Sarah Greenman, and shortly after that I exchanged phone numbers with her son, Louis.

Ten years later the Messiah arrived. I called Louis immediately and we got together with our jars and waited in line with everyone else. 

When it was finally our turn, the Messiah took one look at our jars and said; “Sorry, I don’t do ashes.” 

Bar Ben-Yossef is an Israeli born, ex-London resident and currently LA based writer specializing in comedy, family and kids content. She is a published author of five children’s books, holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, and over the past 20 years has developed tv series, written hundreds of episodes and served as head writer and story editor for the Jim Henson Company, Sesame Workshop, BBC and many others. Bar is currently writing a family comedy feature based on the book series “Knitbone Pepper Ghost Dog” commissioned by Screen Scotland.

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