The Giggle at a Funeral


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Scene Title The Giggle at a Funeral
Synopsis The giggle loop takes its effect during an anniversary memorial.
Date July 22, 2018

Red Hook

It's been five years since the buildings that once graced this narrow swath of land along the Narrows at the borders of Bay Ridge and Red Hook were whole. Today marks the anniversary of their destruction and their rebirth as something new. The buildings were razed long ago, but the spot was left bare — disputes over what to place there meant the land went unused for some time.

Today it's been made into a park and green space, with benches looking out at the water, and at the center, an abstract bronze dove statue to remember the peace that came far too long after the bloodshed on the parcel of land.

It's a small gathering — some perhaps have accidentally come upon it on their way to or from work. Others are here to mark the new beginning as members of the community. A smaller few are those who are there to remember the lives of those lost — because they remember those lost.

A brunette in her thirties, dressed in somber navy for the occasion, nods to some of the others around her, before moving to the lectern set up in front of the sculpture to address the small crowd.

"Thank you for coming," she says, a little nervously, glancing around at the assembled folks, most here and there in twos or threes. "Please gather around and we'd like to offer people a chance to speak, if you have something you would like to say in remembrance of those we've lost here. Five years have gone by, but none of us have forgotten."

Abigail had no shift, She never works on a sunday. So on these days, She and Kasha get out and about. Both blondes are on the edge of that gathering people, sunday best and hair swept back to keep off their necks in an effort to dispel heat. Kasha's tall for her age but Abby's still taller and the two stand amiably side by side, but silent as the ceremony starts. There's a drop of her hand to squeeze the young girls hand before slipping an arm around her shoulder and squeezing her a little.

Lance doesn't own a suit, or in fact anything that could be considered somber, but he's done his best to at least match the general feel of the crowd; a hoodie in black with some orange-pale bleach stains at the hem, and worn black jeans. He's standing near the edge of the assembly alone for the moment, silence shrouding him completely. Not a rustle as he shifts or the sound of his breath, although few would notice that unless the were close.

Spotting Abby, he blinks, moving to sidle around the edge of the crowd towards the woman and her child without taking too much attention off the speaker.

There's another figure, far in the back and holding the hand of a smaller entity. Only this one isn't a child, or even a person, it's Jim and Jim is dressed in a cute little sailor outfit that someone thought would be absolutely appropriate for the occasion. Much to Hailey's chagrin, Jim actually likes it, she can feel the pride swelling off of him as he struts beside her as tall as he can, little sailor hat tilted fashionably on his head.

The one thing Hailey has going for her is that she's not wearing something to match. Well.. match much. She's in a navy blue button down, same shade as the piping on Jim's stark white suit, and not happy about it.

A few people around the perimeter draw closer — there's no outdoor PA system set up, so the woman has to use the full volume of her voice over the chatter of people and the wind on the waterway to be heard. She's a nervous thing — somehow put up to this, no doubt, by the committee members who chose her based on her compassion and her passion for the project, not for her ability to speak to a crowd.

She looks frightened by the prospect no one will speak, when a hand lifts and she fairly beams at the man who comes forward: a grandfatherly sort with a Wilford Brimley mustache. He leans on his cane to make his way up to the podium, and the woman steps aside.

A group of young men who had been chatting near the perimeter come nearer. One of them keeps his head ducked down; between a ball cap and a pair of sunglasses, there's little left of his face to show.

"My grandsons were there that day. Jake and Blake weren't twins but might as well have been. You never did see two boys as alike as those two were, and just thirteen months apart." He begins to talk about the twins from childhood on, and it seems he fully intends to talk about their entire lives.

Somewhere in the middle of the story of Jake and Blake's elementary school days, the urge slowly sinks into the pit of the bellies of some of the guests. That urge to laugh. To giggle. To smirk. Things that shouldn't be funny simply seem hilarious — the way someone's knee caps look like angry babies frozen inside their legs. The way Wilford's mustache moves when he talks, and seems to have a life of its own. The way that that every time the boy nearby moves, his shoes make an obscene noise, thanks to the summer's heat.

There's a glance to the gigglers, those teenagers but Abigail doesn't say anything to them, shuffling her attention back to Wilford and listening to the story with the uptmost respect. But the Kasha's shoulders start to shake and the child starts to laugh. There's a look down to her and a soft 'shhh' to her daughter. The girl tries, sobering up for a moment before something else the older gentleman says leaves her giggling again and almost a heartbeat later so is Abigail. A soft chuckle and a smile.

"Hey, Abigail," Lance offers over in hushed tones as he sidles in closer, letting the silence around him drop; gaze falling, then, his lips twitching in a smile, "And.. um… hey, Kasha." It's an absurd situation even without that spreading feel of humor, his shoulders starting to shake a bit and a hand clapping over his mouth to stifle an inappropriate chuckle, "Sorry, um, this is—" Awkward.

You will now be prompted when your pose comes around.
Ever the somber and solemn lass, Hailey manages to keep a straight face in spite of all the small busts of giggles and chuckles that run through the small crowd. Her fingers tighten a little around Jim's and he looks up at her and then at a tree and then his small head follows a bird from a branch flying toward the statue. As it passes over the dove, a large white glob lands on the beak and begins to dribble down.


Just as suddenly as it came out, Hailey manages to compose herself again. Her straight face flushing just a little as she passes a nervous glance toward Noa and then Lance.

Hailey's monkey is enough to get some of the giggles going. "Jesus, is that a monkey?"

"She's pretty tall for a monkey, Chris."

The reply back draws a snort of laughter, and the group ducks their head, faces flushing as they try to bite back their laughter.

The man at the podium seems immune still to the laughter — indeed, those toward the front of the crowd begin casting dirty looks over their shoulders and angry shushes at those who dare laugh at such an occasion. 'Wilford' seems unaware — his focus mostly at a picture he's pulled out of his wallet of the two men, and perhaps he's a bit hard of hearing. It's a blessing, maybe.

The organizer at his side begins to glare at the audience, to no avail. It's like an infection spreading from the back inward.

"So God Bless you, Jake and Blake, wherever you are," he finally finishes.

"Shake and bake!" someone near the center of the crowd snickers into her hand, and those around her shudder with stifled laughter.

The woman at the front retakes the podium, giving the audience a stern glare, but choosing not to address the issue. "Would anyone else like to speak?" she asks, and she looks afraid of the answer.

Abigail hasn't seen Lance since… since she left the US and bailed for Canada at the height of it all. So the sight of an older Lance has her sobering up a moment. "Mister Gherkin." She's pretty sure that was his last name. That bleach stain on his hoodie gets a frown. Lips rpess together. But then the corners of her lips turn up into an attempt at a surpressed laugh. "You should come for dinner sometimes." Tearing her gaze away from a past timeline future dead son in law.

It's been a very long time. Lance gives his head a shake as he tries to keep from laughter; smile twitching from the effort of it as his hand drops down to his side again. "That'd be… great, actually, yeah. I've got some— " A soft laugh, and he brings a hand back up to rub at his face, "Sorry, it— the whole situation, um— " It's way funnier than it should be.

Suddenly self conscious, Hailey glares toward the teenagers who dare laugh at Jim. The internal struggle is real though, because he does look hilarious in his little sailor hat and crisp white uniform. Her shoulders shake and her chest cavs inward as she tries to hold her own laughter in. She snerks again and presses her lips together even tighter, shake and bake…. makes her quiver and quake. Quake makes her think of Quaker harvest oats, the kind that Wilfred Brimley sells, Wilfred Brimley has die-bee-tus. And it's all over. Hailey begins to peal with laughter.

"That is enough!" snaps the woman at the front, complete with a foot stomp. It's too much, and most of those crowdmembers who were holding back the urge to giggle can't do it anymore. The snickers and giggles swell up and it sounds suddenly like a night at the Improv instead of a somber memorial for those lost. Even a woman who's holding a large sign with portraits of her daughter and son in law is laughing, wiping her eyes with tears that aren't from sorrow but the giddiness of the giggle loop.

One of the other organizers, lips twitching as he tries not to laugh, moves forward to save the woman at the podium — she and Wilford seem to be the only two who haven't been touched by the wave of hilarity.

"I think," the new speaker begins, eyes twinkling as he takes a calming breath — he seems to be out of the range, though, because he does grow more somber after a moment. "I think maybe that's all the time we have for speakers. It's good that we can come together as a community and smile again. Even if it's highly inappropriate. So sorry, Marcella and John. And all the families of the survivors."

Marcella crosses her arms angrily, glowering at the crowd, eyes falling on each person as if weighing their soul.

Abigail's laughing in earnest now, nodding her head. "More for me, I think, than you, not that you know." Kasha's giggling too and as they are admonished by Marcella, Abby has at least the wherewithal to blush. "We should go. We were going to get lunch. Do you want to join us?"

"Oh, man— " Lance turns a bit to notice the anger of the host of the event, and he winces at the glare, some of that humor bleeding away. "No, I— I know, I mean, Cash— " He's trying not to laugh, but he's failing a bit, turning away from the main memorial— and he sees his sister. His eyes widen a little, and then he bursts out laughing, "Jesus Christ you brought the monkey?!" He just loses it, bending over in hysterics.

Jim is happy to see Lance, telltale by the large monkey grin on his face. He pulls away from Hailey and runs over to Lance and hops onto his back. Seeing her brother with a simian backpack just makes everything even funnier to Hailey. "You look like a teenage girl," she squeals, almost unable to breath at this point. "I'm going to make Brynn buy you a furry backpack."

At the outer ring of the cluster, the group of young men peels away, as do many of those who came just for curiosity's sake or because they happened to be passing by when the speaker began talking.

Marcella moves from person to person among the organizers, hugging each and thanking them for coming, touching their photos in their hands, obviously personally invested in each of their stories.

Soon the feeling that everything is funny begins to fade, the way it does after a long, inexplicable giggle fest.

"I'm so sorry, I don't know what came over me," a woman says, touching Marcella's hand as she passes by. "Look at the monkey, mom!" The child with her points at Jim. The mother may no longer find it funny, but the five-year-old does. "It's a lovely garden," she says again to Marcella, placatingly.

The woman shakes her head and moves to the podium to lug it back to her car somewhere in the distance.

Kasha notices the monkey as well too, long before Abby really does as she's giving an apologetic look to the front. But there's a monkey on Lance's back and she's scratching at the side of her nose, trying not to laugh at this decked out monkey. She's fishing out a pen and some paper from her purse even as Kasha's inching closer to get a look at the monkey. "This is where we live. It's good to see you. You've grown. But we should really get going. We want to go find a place to call my Dah and get something to eat." She looks to Hailey, as if noticing the other woman and looks surprised again. "THe hwole lot of you are in the city?" Her drawl as ever, deep.

"Oh my god," Lance laughs, turning 'round and 'round in a circle as if he could see the monkey there, "He's on my back, help, help!" It's not a real cry for help, of course, and he's snickering helplessly at the same time. A hand comes up to finally try and pet the chattering animal, and he's grinning at Abby and Hailey, "Yeah, let's— let's go get some food…" His smile fades, then, glancing guiltily over to Marcella. "Yeah, we're all here. Most of us, I mean, not all of us, but most of us."

As if compelled by something other than Lance's pretend panic, Jim launches off the young man's back and to the ground. He scampers first toward Kasha, raising his little paw and tipping his sailor hat politely before loping over to Hailey. "Hi Miss Abby," the young woman says, sobering up as suddenly as her laughter came on. Normally, she's not one to be this carefree and jovial.

"It's nice to see you and Kasha again." She pauses, casting a sideways glance at Lance and then shrugs her shoulders. "Some of us chose it, some of us didn't." Heaving a sigh, she reaches out for Jim's paw and begins backing away. She hangs her head, not looking at Marcella as she passes by the woman struggling to fit a podium in her car.

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