Funeral with a View
by Matt Schiariti
Published: September 28th, 2014
Word Count: 101,000
Content Warning: Mild sexual content, minor profanity and adult themes
Age Recommendation: 18+
Thirty-two-year-old Richard Franchitti didn’t believe in love at first sight until he met free-spirited Catherine and started a brand new life. A devoted father and husband, Richard fought to keep his family together when it would have been easier to walk away.
Tragedy left him with unfinished business.
Now a disembodied spirit, Richard relives his most important days. From the beginnings of unconditional love, to the joy of his daughter’s birth, and all of the difficult times in between, each treasured moment brings him closer to answering the question:
“Why am I still here?”
He was born Richard Franchitti, but his friends call him Ricky. Welcome to his funeral.
Matt Schiariti is an Engineer by profession, guitar legend in his own mind, and would-be author, time permitting. When he’s not writing, he’s reading. When he’s not reading, he’s enjoying a beer sporting a fancy name on the label. When he’s not enjoying a fancy-named beer, he’s most likely reading some more. Sometimes he does all three at once, to disastrous effect.
Matt lives in southern New Jersey with his wife, two children, and insane dog. Funeral with a View is his second published novel, but not his last.
You have been warned.
I’d met Catherine Maddox (now the widow Catherine Frachitti) through a friend of mine. My best friend, in point of fact. Bill Henly.
While they were dating.
That tidbit must sound inherently evil. There are rules, especially among guys. The Man Code, to be more specific. Every male on the planet is born with these rules branded into his DNA. Don’t date a friend’s ex, don’t have sex with a friend’s girlfriend, so on and so forth.
Let the record show that I am no home wrecker! Bill and Catherine had been seeing each other when I met her. Nothing serious, and for reasons only known to them, their relationship didn’t last. After Bill did the requisite guy thing (read: talked post-breakup smack about her), I did the right thing and asked him if he’d be okay with me asking her out.
The conversation went something like this:
Me: So, you’re not dating Cat anymore, huh?
Me: Um, would it be cool if I asked her out?
Bill: Yeah, sure.
It was a conversation for the ages. A manly conversation of epic proportions. It may seem flimsy to an outsider, but to guys it was volumes’ worth.
I let the breakup embers fade, and a few weeks later, when I’d mustered up the testicular fortitude, I asked Catherine out. After a moment’s thought, she said yes. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Dating Catherine put no apparent stress on my relationship with Bill. Good looking in an All-American way, he never lacked for female companionship. At six-foot-five and almost as broad, he towered over my meager five-foot-eight. He’d played football in high school and college, earning an athletic scholarship to Princeton University, but blew out his knee in his second year. His spare time no longer filled with practices and games, he hunkered down and focused on his studies which paved the way to his future career as a financial advisor. Still, he remained an ever faithful workout freak. The combination of good looks, muscular build, and his large salary lured many a willing woman into his bed. Catherine was no exception, but that wasn’t entirely Bill’s doing.
The story is a simple one. Back in the day the three of us were nigh inseparable. Catherine and I were always double-dating with Bill and his love du jour. Even if he wasn’t seeing anybody (the exception to the rule), the three of us would go out to eat, see movies, hang out on lawn chairs in the summer drinking concoctions with little umbrellas in them.
It was on one such occasion when things took a change for the pornographic. I’ll never forget that day as long as I live. Or as long as I’m dead.
That day is where this story truly starts.
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