Buying Silence by Walter Bjorkman

“So it’s at Herbst in Bay Ridge, same place my Dad had his, and even out to Oceanview on Staten, same place too. Wonder how many regular folk here took that final route over the years, three funeral homes a few blocks away from each other and three cemetaries within a mile on Staten, one each for Protestant, Catholic and Jew. And here we got a perfectly good one right next door, Greenwood. A Times reporter once said ‘it is the ambition of the New Yorker to live on Fifth Avenue, to take their walks in Central Park, and to sleep with their fathers in Greenwood’. I looked it up once in the Brooklyn library – Horace Greerly, DeWitt Clinton, Samuel Morse, Teddy Roosevelt’s wife, the Tiffany family. Even the mobsters had to be elite, no common street hood – Albert Anastasia, Boss Tweed, and just a few years ago Joey Gallo. Nope, not for our kind.”

“Well, my mom’s goin’ the first way too. I never got to know her much, she was sixteen when she had me, popped in and out of Granma’s until I was ten, then we only heard a little about her until the funeral. She married a rich dentist up in Nyack, guess we reminded her of nuthin’ but bad. A hunnert buck check showed up in the mail every month, we weren’t too proud to use it, pride is for suckers. Now we get to pay her back for nuthin.”


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Filed under Walter Bjorkman

10 responses to “Buying Silence by Walter Bjorkman

  1. I like the voice here a lot, it rings truthfull to the circumstances, and the places, for me, are all so visually honest. Good story!

  2. I like their logic. Nice one.

  3. You have these characters, these voices, and each unique. No different here. Love this. Peace…

  4. Well done, Walter. There is a strength yet vulnerability in the voice that enhances the story and gives it depth as the reader thinks, but doesn’t know for sure how this character really, really feels.

    • Walter

      That is a very good first impression of the recurring charcter (the second voice) she is. When you come out and ask her, though, she will tell you right up front, something the first voice often does. You are a good reader, or have read way too much of mine!

      Because now I realize I don’t make it clear that it is a different voice – it could be the one and it does work that way. Something I’ll have to mull over if I do anything more with this.

      Thanks – gave me something to think about, almost always a good thing!

  5. I guess I just assumed (before reading comments) that there were two different voices here. For whatever that’s worth.
    I did really like this unique look at the silence theme. Very creative and love that the entire piece is in “voice(s).” Great!

    • Walter

      Thanks Robert. This is a variation of a longer conversation in which it is evident. We felt a little bit usurped having Greenwood right there, and all of the locals carted off to the ‘country’ while the rich folk had a great view of the hahbor, which was our daily sight, my Whitman link. So the notion has been there near forever. Glad you enjoyed.

  6. Kim Hutchinson

    Pride is for suckers. Love this…

  7. I liked the “plot” here. The silence of death, but also the “buying” of the silence of the living! Thanks.

  8. Pingback: Week #32 – Silence | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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