At Jeff’s makeshift funeral nobody had had enough money to buy him a real casket, so they put his body in a cardboard box. Not just some cheap wooden box, a real cardboard box like the ones you get when you buy a fridge. It was taped up with silver duct tape so nobody could see inside where the box had previously been cut up to liberate whatever fancy appliance was once in there. It didn’t even seem real to me that it was my brother in that box, just lying there dead in a cheap box on top of a frame of metal pickets behind a run-down church that had long gone bankrupt because we had nothing else. The preacher man or whoever that man of God was that used to run the place still lived in the area and offered to have Jeff’s body cremated at no cost to us. Randy gave himself permission to speak for my brother and allowed the old white-haired man to take my brother’s body away, not knowing what he was really going to do with it.
“Jeffrey! Jeffrey!” I screamed out crying furiously as the preacher man was given my brother’s body to be taken away.
Eddie and Richard pinned me down to the ground because I was freaking out and completely losing it. I screamed at the top of my lungs to no avail. I cried but there was nobody to dry my tears anymore. I hadn’t even gotten a chance to say a proper goodbye to my brother.
“Calm down! Just please calm down,” Eddie’s exasperated voice begged me as I finally finished my fit of rage and grief, “we’ll get him back, I promise you Ana.”
“You don’t know jack shit!” I snapped back.
We did get my brother back. A day or so later the man came back with a clear bag of grey dust, my brother’s ashes. Ricardo literally dragged me out of Cap’n Crunch’s loft back to the vacant church to say goodbye again to a bag of ashes that was put in another cardboard box. In the middle of my fistfight with Ritchie, Eddie arrived and gave me the medallion in Jeff’s ashes. I put it on a chain and wore it around my neck ever since that day. Since nobody had a safe enough place to keep my dear brother’s ashes, the municipality buried him along with a series of other bodies in plots that a local charity paid for. I knew it was going to be a cheap burial, but I didn’t have the heart to be there when he was put into the ground so I stayed home and clutched my new necklace.