Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Peter Docker, author of 'Funeral Song'

What song would the narrator/protagonist of your story sing at a karaoke bar and why?

The main protagonist in ‘The Funeral Song’ is lying dead in the coffin during the story – the DEAD-WHITE-BROTHER (DWB). The only other force that could be defined as a protagonist is a concept called SHARED-BLACK-AND-WHITE-HISTORY (SBAWH). DWB is obviously dead, and SBAWH can exist amongst either the living or the dead.
        So DWB and SBAWH are walking down a street in the afterlife. This place amazingly resembles Rundle Street in Adelaide, late on a Wednesday evening. They’ve had a couple of beers by now with a young Aboriginal man that DWB didn’t know was in the afterlife already. Of course, SBAWH knows him as well. As they walk down this street, they come across a plain doorway with a very wide set of white stairs going straight up. There is a simple sign, no neon or flashing bulbs, just a word written on a blackboard: KARAOKE.
        They go straight up the stairs without another word. On the stage there is a gangster doing ‘Lady Is A Tramp’. He is out of tune, but has a big pistol shoved down the front of his pants, so no one is complaining. DWB and SBAWH barge their way to the front. When the Tramp finishes they take the stage. A large man with a suit off the rack and a swallow tattooed on his neck steps up to the stage like he might protest. SBAWH gives him a look, and the fulla steps back, and puts his gun back in his pocket.
        ‘What song?’ calls out the operator.
        ‘Whatever’s there,’ the DEAD-WHITE-BROTHER and SHARED-BLACK-AND-WHITE-HISTORY yell back in unison.
        ‘“My Way” – Frank Sinatra!’
        They step up and sing. There is not a dry eye in the house. They kill them. Towards the end, Kumanjai from Warumpi Band and Johnny Cash materialise to do some harmonising.

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