Howard died as he had lived; in the throes of an enormous blood-beating tantrum, full of roaring sound and intimidating fury, but ultimately signifying nothing.
He had just discovered that his senile father Morris Frizzle had been catfished for several years by a Remuera based ex-Grammar boy who had purported to be a series of buxom and attractive distressed damsels in order to flense Morris of his not insubstantial investments and property. The proceeds had been largely hoovered up the ex-grammar boy’s capacious nose to the extent that he was currently in Thailand getting both nostrils re-sleeved, on a one-way ticket to nowhere extraditable.
Morris had actually gained considerable pleasure from his generous gifts to his imaginary paramours, and his senility protected him from the reality that they didn’t exist corporeally. He had a carefully filed memory bank of lascivious images generously provided by the ex-grammar boy, and had whiled away many happy hours in carnal reverie musing on the charms of Chelsea, Simone, Crystal, Gina, Cherie, et al.
Howard on the other hand had been itching to get his stubby digits on the remainder of Morris’s assets for decades, was now furious to learn they had been frittered away, and enraged at the dawning realisation that Inland Revenue and the Ministry of Social Development would be pursuing him to recover the property Morris had been cajoled into gifting Howard in a dubious transaction a decade past.
Reliable witnesses in the form of Howard’s daughters observed Howard stumping furiously towards their Grandpapa’s house, a menacing hulk breathing heavily through his mouth, fists clenching, scarlet faced, a knot of thick veins throbbing at his temples. His daughters were sitting at Morris’s dining room table playing ‘go fish’ with a rigged card deck belonging to the youngest as Howard errupted through the door. “For fuck’s sake Morris!!” Howard roared, which was water off a proverbial duck’s back for Morris, as Howard had been berating him thus since the tender age of seven. The daughters eyed Howard with wary disinterest, accustomed as they were to their father’s erratic outbursts and brain flatulence.
Howard lunged forward, grasped the table and upended it, sending the card game and Morris’s charging laptop flying, no mean feat, as the table was constructed like a brick shithouse and weighed a cool half tonne. “Dad” said the youngest reproachfully, “You really should CALM DOWN”.
She scrabbled on the floor at the pretence of collecting up her dodgy cards, but in reality was frantically calculating how to permanently disable her grandpapa’s laptop from her current position, as she had helpfully been the architect of Morris’s largesse to his fictitious female companions, because in recent years he had found the rigours of on-line banking byzantine and perplexing, and had sought her assistance, for a substantial and hard negotiated fee. Her fears were mainly groundless, as Howard had no ability to forensically examine Morris’s transactions, but the youngest was not one to leave stones un-turned.
As Howard lurched towards Morris she grabbed the laptop and hurled it discus-like, charger and all, towards the kitchen sink which was brim full of tepid fat-rimed water. It was sheer good fortune that she and her sister had failed to do their grandpapa’s meagre dishes yet again, despite it being their one daily chore for which they received generous pocket money. Howard spun around with the grace of a perambulating spud sack, hurled himself at the island bench, poised to plunge his hands into the grimy water, in pursuit of the object of his financial demise……………
In Morris’s latter years it had become his habit to live almost exclusively off toast, coated in a melange of improbable and experimental toppings. His current favourite was a combination of a particularly noxious Stilton, mashed banana, avocado, and just a sprinkle of ground black pepper. He had been in the throes of preparing a post-prandial snack when Howard so rudely intruded, and the vogels bread was still smouldering in the toaster, forgotten in the melee. It was sheer bad fortune for Howard that the ineptly hurled laptop collected the smoking toaster before it hit the water at the exact moment Howard reached triumphantly into the now live sink.
Some people will say that a plugged in toaster thrown into a sink full of water into which someone has plunged their hands is not fatal, but they are wrong in this instance. Howard fizzed and jigged like a marionette on the end of invisible strings. The youngest daughter strolled insouciantly to the kitchen and unplugged the toaster at the wall as Morris and the eldest daughter sat, mouths agape. Howard slumped, his bluster extinguished for all eternity. “Bugger!” exclaimed Morris peevishly.
“A new toaster with those settings will be at least $52 at Mitre10. Clumsy girl; I’m going to take that out of your remunerations!”
So it was that once again tragedy had struck the Cowball-Frizzle family. The daughters were still recovering from the death of their mother Lipid; they had found her unlovely corpse, if you recall, their father’s corpse was no prettier, and they were now faced with the unwelcome prospect of having toast-obsessed Morris resident, as their nominal guardian. The simpering child psychologist assigned them thought they might overcome their resentment and grieve more freely if they composed a eulogy for Howard to be read at his funeral, a modest affair owing to Howard’s lifelong ability to alienate his family and lord it over his friends. Unbeknownst, the youngest daughter wasn’t sad; she was living in mortal dread of the hand of authority rapping on the front door in the form of the local constabulary, and all the while the increasingly unhinged Morris was blackmailing her in return for his silence…..
The Eulogy for Howard Frizzle, as written by his daughters.
We are sorry you died, even though it definitely wasn’t our fault. For all your failings, at least you didn’t leave toast crumbs everywhere.
It would have been good if Grandpapa Morris hadn’t insisted on doing the home plumbing and electrical work that killed you, but he doesn’t like to take good advice from experts. He says he once set the kitchen wall on fire on Christmas Day when he decided to try and plumb in a dishwasher with an air-acetylene soldering torch, partly on a whim, but also to spoil the day for everybody else. Apparently he also used to leave live wires hanging from the kitchen ceiling for his own amusement, but that was before we were born.
He bought a new laptop with your life insurance money and has been dabbling in what he says is a cryptic currency called urethrum, and he says he has given up the floozies but he has his poker in a lot of fires. Speaking of fires we have to keep an eye on him because he accidentally sets fire to things quite a lot, like the net curtains, and an old pile of Mummy’s ‘Peace & Purpose’ magazines just last week. He is also refusing to pay us our remunerations for doing the dishes.
Speaking of Mummy, we hope you are reunited with her, and that in Heaven she lets you smoke cigarettes, and drink beer inside. We used to feel a tiny bit sorry for you standing outside in the rain and dark drinking beer all alone when you were both alive.
In art class at school we made a special drawing of you. Grandpapa Morris had it framed because he said the likeness is excellent and it’s how he will always remember you. We hope you like it.