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A Coffin Is A Wondrous Thing
by Michael A. Kechula

Randolph loved coffins. He didn’t know why. He also loved Barbie dolls. He didn’t know why that was so, either.

One day, while looking at a coffin he’d bought for a dollar at a garage sale, he thought, “I’ll bet there’s a use for a big box like this.”

He tried filling it with popcorn. But somehow filling it to the brim, and adding salt and butter to the contents didn’t satisfy him. He began to think the coffin was meant for something far more noble.

Next he filled the coffin with cigarette butts that had been smoked exclusively by European nobility. He found he could tuck thousands inside, but several hundred less when the butts were filter-tipped. And though he took many digital pictures of the coffin’s contents from various angles, he still had the nagging feeling that the coffin wasn’t fulfilling its true existential purpose.

Coffee grounds, carefully selected for their delicate aroma and collected from the city’s Starbucks, were next. The coffin nicely accommodated a hundred pounds worth. And yet, after photographing the results, Randolph felt that something was still missing.

Then he thought about the bikini-clad Barbie doll that sat on the fireplace mantle. He’d always wondered what use such a thing could have, though he loved it so. It didn’t work as a floor mop. It didn’t improve the taste of his soup when he dipped the doll in a steaming bowl, and it didn’t speed up his Internet service no matter how many times he sat the doll atop his computer monitor.

After much soul searching, his rusted frontal lobes shed their rust. Immediately, his brain filled with wondrous images. “Eureka!” he hollered.

Taking a handful of popcorn, another of unfiltered cigarette butts, and another of coffee grounds, he quickly tossed them into the coffin. Then he gently laid the doll on top of the grounds with its head pointing toward the foot of the box. After closing the lid, he spread his arms, and spun around a hundred times while singing several choruses of Three Blind Mice.

He got so dizzy, he passed out.

When he awoke, he found he’d shrunk. Running to a mirror, he was pleased to see that he was only eight inches tall. Though he easily climbed the coffin, he found he had to expend thousands of calories trying to open the lid.

Looking inside, he saw the Barbie doll puffing on a cigarette butt, chomping on popcorn, and lapping up coffee grounds.

“May I join you?” he asked.

“Please do,” she said,” as she slipped out of her bikini. “I thought you’d never ask.”

“Now I know what a coffin’s for,” he said, as he leapt toward the giggling doll.