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Michael Pierson & Crew
In Memoriam, Pt 2
Thu Mar 23, 2006 11:58

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come.
'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

Luciana Holmes’ voice gave a surreal sense of awe to the hymn, something Michael was determined just to suffer through. She stood, alone, in the choir section at St Patrick’s Cathedral – the only place in New York big enough to hold all of the Holmes family and half of the police department. He remembered clearly how breathtaking her voice was, not to mention her beauty, but held his tongue – she’d now sung three stanzas of the song; once before the bishop began the funeral mass, and the second when several select friends stood up to speak briefly and say their goodbyes. Devon had almost sobbed all over the podium during his stint, naturally eliciting sympathy from everyone in the audience.

And now it was the family’s turn. Ben was first, his quiet voice washing over the microphone as he bid farewell to his daughter via a story of her youth. Apparently Sonnet had been a protector of the downtrodden since she was born, and had gotten into her first fight in the second grade – taking down a school bully and earning two days suspension for her troubles.

Isabel came next, aided up to the pulpit by none other than the crybaby himself, it was Devon’s shoulder she’d wept against throughout the entire service so far. In a subdued voice, the author recounted the day she’d given birth to a squalling infant girl. “The doctor was taken aback by the amount of names I had chosen for my daughter. He thought Elizabeth Sonnet Tennyson Marchand Adams was perhaps a bit too long,” and received a general titter of laughter for her troubles.

Hugh came next, as honorary step-father. His offering was a poem, to the delight of many of the highbrow attendees, read in the actor’s modulated British accent. “`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe: all mimsy were the borogoves, and the mome raths outgrabe.” While nonsensical, it had been written by Sonnet’s favorite author and in this small way Hugh could pay homage.

And then it was Michael’s turn. Since his eulogy would be the last one, he and Ben had decided quietly that the actor would perform a tribute to his sister and sing her favorite religious song. Very few knew that the woman had been a deeply religious person on most counts, though she disagreed with the Pope on several of the Churches stances, including homosexuality. Therefore, when his father had settled down at Ben’s side, Michael took his place – not at the pulpit – but next to the choir.

“This was Sonnet’s favorite hym.”

That was all the warning the assembled host had, before Michael unleashed his voice on them. He did not perform as he would onstage; no, that would have besmirched his sister’s memory. Instead, he stood there, pouring out the tears he could not shed into lyrics that said almost everything that he wanted to.

When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.

There was a lovely stained glass window directly above the entrance to the cathedral. He focused on it, knowing better to look at family members or guests – else he would not be able to go on.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up... To more than I can be.

There was an interlude where only the melody was played on the piano. Ben and Hugh stood, soon followed by Caleb, Devon and Vince. They slowly took their assigned places at intervals around the casket, standing silently as the men and women of Sonnet’s precinct rose as one host and formed an hour guard in front of, and behind her earthly remains. Michael continued to sing, his voice eventually joined by the choir, until, finally, the last note died away.

Eyes reddened, but still dry, the actor slowly stepped to the front of the coffin in a deafening silence; he and Ben held the places of honor, a dubious honor in his mind. Even with the aid of the other five men, Sonnet’s wooden tomb weight heavily against his shoulder. Slowly they marched down the aisle and out to a Sunday New York afternoon.

The funeral procession took ages, something that Michael was only vaguely aware of, riding in the limo behind the hearse, escorted by what looked like a mile of cop cars. It would have been more traditional to walk behind a horse-drawn cart, but every resident of the city knew that was almost certain suicide.

Then they were standing before a yawning chasm, watching the wooden box be lowered into the ground. Devon, as official piper of the precinct’s Drum & Pipe Corps, stood a few feet behind the bishop, Amazing Grace dutifully issuing from his instrument. Like a damn saint. Michael managed to contain his bile through the remainder of the ceremony, a shower of roses tumbling down against the top of the coffin before each family member tossed a handful of dirt in to symbolize farewell.

Only it wasn’t farewell, at least for the blasted Holmes clan. Caleb had offered his home as an alternative to renting out a hall for the wake, since neither Ben or Isabel’s apartments were large enough. Michael had returned to the penthouse long enough to change into something other than the stiffly formal suit and brought his suitcase to the wake itself. Screw staying in a place where he wasn’t wanted anymore. He’d crash overnight on a bench at La Guardia, and fly out in the morning.

Propped in a niche between the living room and kitchen, nursing a glass of Jack Daniels, he watched through narrowed eyes at how comfortable his family was around a pack of mongrels. Miscreants. Liars. How Lucy so tenderly found a cushion for Isabel’s back. Caleb stood with his father James, Ben and Hugh recalling some apparently amusing story. And Devon …

Devon was getting ready to leave, if his tear-stained face and jacket rung true. “Bye, Mom. Call me if you need anything, okay? I’ll rush right over.” Whatever gods looked after the actor decided to look the other way, neglecting to keep the strings holding his actions taut.

“Yes, I’m sure you’ll run right over and lick her feet, won’t you.” His tone, still low, was suddenly vicious. “Isabel, this man tried to rape his own sister-in-law last year. Doesn’t that sort of thing fukking mean anything to you?”


Michael never even saw it coming; Devon’s fist collided abruptly with his jaw and spun him around halfway. After blinking the stars out of his vision, he wanted nothing more than to return the favor, hands curling into fists at his side. But one cough from Hugh prevented mass bloodshed.

“Fukk you.”

With that, Michael simply turned his back on Devon and the rest and left, collecting his suitcase on the way out. He got through the crowd of strangers and friends with little difficulty, and made it to the corner before the problem of finding a taxi caught up with him. That problem, however, found itself solved with the appearance of a dark Cadillac and the Italian that had provided him with a meal during the hospital vigil. In fact, once hearing the actor’s terse summation of things as they stood, Vittorio Castelluccio offered him a trip to London as well, no strings attached.

Hugh, surprisingly, had the last word when the uproar over Michael’s words and Devon’s reaction had died down some time later. “It’s my fault, you know, instilling the whole Stiff Upper Lip nonsense on him. If Michael felt free to express himself, we might not have had this incident.” Shaking his head, Ben’s longtime companion stepped out into the backyard, a glass of Jack Daniels in his hand.

  • In Memoriam, Pt 1Michael Pierson & Crew, Thu Mar 23 08:58
    Mom -- Housework is done and the trash is out. There's a pot roast in the fridge when you get hungry. Eat, please? Call me if you need anything. Love, Devon It was staring at him blatantly when he... more
    • In Memoriam, Pt 2 — Michael Pierson & Crew, Thu Mar 23 11:58
      • Obligations and CommitmentsDevon Holmes, Sun Apr 9 23:23
        He wasn’t ready for this. “Sonnet was…” Devon paused, still feeling Lucy’s song wrap about him, swaddling his body in a comforting blanket. “The worst partner anyone could have asked for.” Only his... more
        • Final FarewellsVittorio Castelluccio & Company, Sun Apr 9 23:24
          How the hell had it come to this? “Someone will be by shortly to retrieve your belongings, Signa Holmes,” Vittorio found himself murmuring into his cell phone. Matteo had extended his offer, via Vic, ... more
          • Ordinary DaysLara Sorensen, Mon Apr 10 09:21
            Standing on the edge of time Playing out a reckless pantomime And every day's another wrong to rectify I dream about a stranger's touch And voices in my head I cannot hush And every night's a hunger... more
            • Rat-a-tat-tatBennet Holmes, Tue Apr 11 23:40
              “Dad, do I have to do this?” “Damn it all, Bennett, yes!” Benny sighed, refusing to fidget while his father adjusted the previously perfectly good knot in his tie. Oh, he knew very well he was acting ... more
              • Jabberwocky WalkingGeno Castelluccio, Thu Apr 13 00:39
                The dream was back. It was always the same. Every so often those nightmares would crop up in his subconscious during sleep, twisting the previously pleasant images into horrific creatures straight... more
                • VignettesMoose and Squirrel, Fri Apr 14 23:54
                  Tell me already! Lara giggled to herself, rolling over onto her stomach to eye the panicked, and brand-spankin-new drummer for her band. Their band. It had taken forever to convince Benny that they... more
                  • Mike Tyson, Eat Your Heart OutGeno | Holmes, Sun Apr 16 00:19
                    Since when had ‘stallion’ become a pet name? John quirked a brow at the paper in Sean’s hand, eyeing the amenities that were offered, before pausing to think about it. Well, it definitely wasn’t... more
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