Minutes later, we stood solemnly around a foot-deep hole in Kafir's backyard. Kafir was leaning against the male half of Professor, wailing with pain.
"Donovan could pinch and sting," I said, looking down at the closed box in the hole. "He loved to&uh&bury himself in the sand."
"He loved his rock," female Professor said.
"Él era un insecto," agreed Mrs. Rubios.
She threw the flowers she had been holding all night onto the coffin. The flowers didn't quite fit in the grave so she bent down and pushed them in with her fingers.
"He was a very handsome scorpion," said male Professor.
Kafir went last, sobbing and reaching into the grave until we pulled him back. If the grave had been large enough there is no doubt in my mind he would have thrown himself on the casket. He finally composed himself enough to throw dirt across the coffin and allow me to begin to bury Donovan with a garden trowel. Professor took him inside. Mrs. Rubios departed.
When I finished and went back into Kafir's house he had disappeared into his bedroom. The iPod was gone and I could hear Atlantis blasting from behind the closed door. I bid Professor farewell and walked back to my house.
I stopped in to check on Kafir on Thursday morning. He answered his door still dressed in his black mourning clothes, although now they were speckled with paint.
"Come, come," he said. "I show you."
His eyes were bloodshot and ringed with dark circles, but he seemed to have found some new reserve of vitality. He took me to his painting room and flung open the door. There, on the easel, was a portrait of Donovan. Astride Kafir's departed scorpion, wearing naught but panties, was Kafir's favorite woman, Megan Fox.
"He with Megan now," Kafir said with a smile.
The painting was technically inept, but I could see that it had been created in a wild fugue state of creativity.
"In heaven," I agreed.
"No, no, no!"
Kafir shook his head and then swept his arm as if showing me the painting again.
"In Hollywood," he said.
I looked at the painting again. Megan Fox gazed back, one eye slightly larger than the other.
"Don't you get it? What we have to understand is it's them or us. It can't be all of us, or one. It's got to be us, or they become it. Then we lose what makes us we."
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