Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Still plugging away at a project from 2004, naturally...

"The crematorium, Mr. Strauss, is a truly divine thing. It helps the Lord God in hastening the return of man to dust. Imagine if men were made from some indestructible material. If that were the case…” Mr. Kopfrkingl shrugged his shoulders, looking at the elderly woman in glasses holding a beer, “then give him to the earth; but man, fortunately, is not indestructible. Do you know how long it takes before a buried man turns to dust? Twenty years, and even then the whole skeleton does not disintegrate. In the crematorium the process takes a mere seventy-five minutes, skeleton included, when you place the body into the coke-fired stove. People sometimes raise the objection that Jesus Christ was not cremated, however. This is true, Mr. Strauss,” Mr. Kopfrkingl smiled, “but that was something else altogether. I always tell these dear people this: they embalmed the Savior, wrapped him in linen and entombed him under a stone slab in a cave. No one is going to do the same for you, embalm you and wrap you in linen and put you in a cave…and the argument, Mr. Strauss, that the coffin cracks underground beneath the weight of the earth, and that it might hurt when the earth collapses on the head, that argument of course does not hold up, for when a man is, “Mr. Kopfrkingl tilted his head, “dead, he will not feel it any more…but there is yet another argument for cremation. Look, Mr. Strauss, if people were not allowed to be cremated, but were only buried in the ground, then what would we use the ovens for?”

from Burner of Corpses, chapter 1