What Happened When Frank Died: The American Elm


Frank died.

He became more than himself, all of himself; the soul that had been all the hims and hers that he’d ever been. He poured himself a coffee. He sat down.

“That was a rough one.”

The soul that had just been his wife, and before that his mother, and before that more, smiled, sad.


“Is something wrong?”

There was a shrug–the implication of a shrug.

“Maybe we should spend our next life apart.”

Frank–what had been Frank–sighed.

“Yeah,” he admitted. “Or, maybe they have a brother and sister. What is the worst that could happen there?” He tried, with limp optimism.

“Maybe. But, no. You’ve become old, tired, you can’t handle being a human anymore I think,” she said, looking away from him.

Frank frowned. “What is that supposed to mean? So, what? You can?”

“I can without you. You always dominate our lives.”

Frank grunted. “What about when I was your mother? You poisoned me!”

“You were still in control.”

“Till you poisoned me,” Frank grumbled.

They sat, drinking their coffee. They used to be excited to try out new lives, new relationships. Now–

“Well, what now?” Frank asked.

“I want to enter the lottery.”

Frank laughed. “The lottery! Oh you’re pathetic. What, so you might end up a president, or a movie star? It’s not enough to spend our lives together, you want to try being special. Well, good luck. You know it’s not just the good ones. You could end up a dictator, a freaking sociopath!”

“I know.”

“But you’ll do it anyways?”


“You don’t want to talk about it?”

“No,” she told him, firm.

So they didn’t talk. By the time Frank finished his coffee, he was alone. He went to look at the list, scrolled down to the very bottom.

“173 years as an American Elm Tree it is!”

He clicked it.


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