There was a rattling knock at the door. It was my father, gone now for all these years.
“It’s Dia de Los Muertos, Papa. Glad you could come.”
“Thank you for inviting me TN. Who else is coming?”
“I’m not sure. You dead guys aren’t real good at RSVPing, but I’ve invited all of you.”
“Did you invite your mother?”
He grimaced a little bit and nodded his head. “Do you think she’ll come?”
“Probably not,” I said, “I have to assume that Ann invited her too. She’ll probably go there.”
Ann is my sister who lives on the other side of the state. It’s closer to the town where my mother lived.
Another knock on the door signified the arrival of more guests and, soon the house was full of both the living and the dead. Mariachi specters set up on the back patio and the neighborhood swelled with fiesta music.
I had the barbecue going and tubs were filled with beer and soda. Everyone was laughing and visiting with one another. Some of my guests had been dead a long time and there was a lot of catching up to be done. When my dad came over for more brisket, I cautioned him.
“Careful with the beef, Papa; I heard on the radio yesterday that it has been declared a carcinogen.”
“Do you think I care?” he quipped. “I’m going to go find my paints.” He turned and began walking towards the studio.
I grabbed his arm, “whoa, whoa, whoa,” I said, “Do you think that’s a good idea? I mean, you’ve been dead for a long time now. We can’t have new work of yours showing up. Can we?”
“Not my problem,” Papa said. “You can say you found it in a closet or tell ‘em you did it. I won’t sign it.”
“No,” I thought about this, “you gotta sign it. Just don’t date it.”
A skeletal grin broke across his face and he went on to the studio. He gathered his supplies and went straight to work. He painted in there the rest of the evening with his friends wandering in and out. As the party wound down I went in to check on him. He was gone but on the table was a new plate, hand painted with a blackberry design. I just needed to fire it.