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Tribute || by Janefrances Udeh

—for the weekly writing challenge, with the prompt,  'fight at a funeral'.


The ambience of the funeral welcomed all shades of agony. The black attires matching up with the gloom which hung in the air. I watched as everyone walked around crying, offering words of consolation to my wife and kids.

According to the autopsy, I died of heart failure. It had started with blurry eyes, progressing into a spacey head and a sporadic heartbeat. And, finally, my body seized up like it had been tasered, leading me into this endlessness, this blackness. 

"We are all gathered here today, to pay our last respects to our dear son, brother, husband, father and friend, Mr. Martins Falomo," the preacher began. 

I scoffed. They are certainly not gathered for me.

The preacher went on with his homily which was taking rather too long. His voice boomed through the speakers as he preached about how God created the world and how he will end it, calling each soul to himself. The preacher's eyes scanned through the crowd at intervals as if expecting someone or something.

My wife and my two grown up daughters, Dora and Diana, sat at the front pew, sorrow engulfing their faces, banishing every iota of bliss I once knew them for. That instant, I felt the weight and pain of my death. The realisation of being lonely in this new world, dawned on me.

"Now, I beckon on the wife of the deceased to come forward to render her tribute," the Preacher said.

Just then, I sighted Bisola, my secretary. She got up from her seat two rows behind my family; the stillness of the air seemed to amp the sound of her footfalls as she made her way to the front from the back where she had been sitting all the while.

The congregation murmured. Mouths agape; the shock vividly written on their faces as they could not register in their minds what was going on.

My wife got up like a lightning bolt, veins popping from her neck, eyes bloodshot and fists clenched in rage as she confronted Bisola midway to the altar. "Yes, Miss who are you?" she queried.

"The deceased was my husband and he…" she said with a confused scowl, pointing at a young boy sitting at the back pew, "he is our son."

"How dare you? You slut!"

"I would mind my words, if I were you. Kindly step back please," Bisola retorted.

Other mourners tried refraining my wife as she went berserk and plunged an attack at Bisola. It was rather too late; she shoved Bisola so hard, giving her a slap in the face.

Bisola winced, staggered and with the gravity of the attack, she fell, pushing the casket down with her.

"Haaa..." the crowd yelped.

Two ushers hurried towards the scene to prevent further tussles.

“Wait!" my wife shrieked, trying to tear herself off the grip of the usher who was leading her away from the scene, fear, shock, and a flush of regret painting her face. She moved closer to the open casket on the ground and gasped, beckoning on my first daughter, Dora, to come closer.

“This is not my husband, Martins."

They finally realised it.

“The undertakers... They got the wrong corpse!"


JANEFRANCES UDEH is an emerging poet, writer, mentor and public speaker, based in Ogun State, Nigeria. She is a final year undergraduate student of Economics at the National Open University of Nigeria, Lagos, and also the Author of 'The Mysterious Prayer Room'. She bagged the Best Writer's Award from the School of Mentorship version 7.0. She hails from Ohaozara L.G.A, Ebonyi State. 

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