Ash Drive

@mini

The Fry’s Electronics in San Angelico is closing. That’s why, on an otherwise pleasant Saturday afternoon, we’re here touring the empty aisles, perusing the bare shelves. We’re paying our respects.

“End of an era,” Theo murmurs, wistful.

“End of an era,” Eva agrees.

“This was where I got the parts for my custom PC.”

“And I bought my first camera here.”

They both sigh together.

Jan, having never set foot inside a Fry’s, is casually indifferent.

Ernie, however, seems particularly upset. It was actually his idea to come to Fry’s in the first place—but not for any reasons you might expect. No, his motivation was more…well, let me put it this way: the shopping cart I’m riding in? It’s filled with Noblesse and Desiree.

“Who goes to Fry’s for cookies?” I ask, trying to make room for myself in the seat.

“The snacks here,” Ernie replies, “are fresher than they are at any given Albertsons, Ralphs, or Stater Bros.”

“That can’t be true,” Theo says.

“Expiration dates don’t lie!”

We walk around some more, eventually ending up in the mattress section. Almost instinctually, we sprawl shoulder-to-shoulder on a king-size, stare up at the rafters.

“When you die,” Eva says after a moment, “are you going to be buried or cremated?”

“What are you going to be?” Theo counters with a nervous laugh.

“I don’t know. I guess I’d rather be cremated than buried. It seems less wasteful. I mean, the world is overcrowded enough without the dead taking up space.”

“I’m going to be cremated,” Jan says. “I don’t want to have to worry about ghouls. If you believe in that kind of thing.”

“Only you, Brno,” Ernie snorts.

“Well?” Eva tilts her head to look Theo in the eye.

Theo faces her, too. “Well what?”

“Burial or cremation?”

Theo looks back up at the rafters, thinks for a sec. “Cremation.”

We all look at Ernie now.

“Buried, motherfuckers,” he proclaims, and pats his belly. “I want my fat, bloated, stinking corpse to rot in the ground long after I’m dead and gone.”

“Why?” Eva asks.

“Because Mother Nature’s a bitch. If she wants me back when I die, she’s going to have to work for it.”

“What about you, Mini?”

“I want a small sampling of my ashes to be sealed inside a USB flash drive,” I reply.

“That’s…specific,” Theo says.

“It’s the modern-day version of an urn. The idea is to store video, photos, music, or documents on the drive that loved ones can access in my memory after I’m gone. Pun intended.”

“What would your flash drive have on it?”

“Just the movie Surf Ninjas.” Totally.

“Won’t everything be in the cloud by the time you and Theo die?” Jan asks, shifting onto his side, facing us.

“Cloud or not, there’ll always be a need for flash drives,” Theo answers.

Jan goes supine again and links his hands behind his head. “I bet a group of kids from Sunnyvale said the same thing about Fry’s back in 1985.”

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