By: D. Gilson
I, D. Gilson (legally Duane Paul Gilson II), of Lubbock, Texas, revoke my former Wills and Codicils and declare this to be my Last Will and Testament.
Identification of Family
I am married to no one and all references in this last will and testament to “my spouse” are thus stricken.
The names of my children are charred bits of bone and hope my mother threw into the fire. Ashes of My son, the doctor and dust of Here’s a Christmas picture of my three grandchildren. Though if I had had a daughter, I would have liked to name her Ezra.
Payment of Debts and Expenses
I direct that my just debts, funeral expenses, and cost of last illness be first paid from my estate. My largest debt is somewhere over $100,000 and under $200,000, owed to the U.S. Department of Education for its ability to sell me a bachelor’s, two master’s, and doctoral degrees, thus training me to enter a profession where I could never possibly pay these dues back in full. Their website ensures that student loans are forgiven upon death.
In a PNC checking account, you will find a couple hundred dollars. In my house, which is rented, you will find some costly midcentury furniture I should never have bought but which will result in some additional assets (find a gay buyer, tell a sad story of how I died). A retirement plan with the State of Texas yields an additional few thousand. Comb my computer. If there are any essays, photographs, or miscellanea you can sell or use to blackmail someone, then by all means.
I nominate and appoint Will Stockton, I guess, as Personal Representative of my estate. He will likely not enact the following wishes, for which his soul, should either of us believe in souls, shall burn forever in Hell, should either of us believe in Hell.
Section A: Absence
Billy Graham says, “Two of Jesus’ greatest miracles actually took place at funerals, and He was present at both of them. By being there He showed not only His compassion for those who were grieving, but also His power over death.”
I don’t believe in Jesus, but I do believe in guilt.
For anyone on the attached list who does not attend my funeral, please send them a life-size cardboard cutout of me along with a note bearing simply Reverend Graham’s words and signed, Fuck you from the other side, XO, D.
Section B: Remembrance
My funeral should be held at Moxie Cinema, the place where I first fell in love with the movies, located at 305 South Campbell in Springfield, Missouri.
In lieu of eulogies, I ask my eulogists to form a Third Eye Blind cover band. Robby Hipp on guitar, Will Stockton on drums, Taylor Baldwin on keys, and my nephew Nicholas Mitchell on bass, which he will have to learn, which should be fine since he has dropped out of college and has plenty of time on his hands.
The band should begin with “Semi-Charmed Life,” the only song anthemic of my life. They should then segue into a cover of Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel,” a gentle reminder to mourners that in lieu of flowers or gifts for my sister, who will surely try to take advantage of this situation, donations to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals are requested in my memory.
One final instruction for the band: after the last song, and before the encore of “Jumper” nobody will be expecting, one of you should read my favorite poem of all time, Frank O’Hara’s “Having a Coke with You.” I don’t care which of you reads the poem, but it should be the one who will break down the most, thus demonstrating to all those gathered how greatly they should miss me.
For pallbearers, I request that the rowing crew from England’s Warwick University, naked, carry my body, clothed in a Tom Ford slim-cut suit, out of the theater. The boys should take me to the edge of the sea, place me upon a raft, light it on fire, and push me out as Elton John’s 1997 cover of “Candle in the Wind,” sung for Princess Diana at her funeral, plays on loop. I have always felt she and I have much in common.
Instruct the stars to spell out my name.
D. Gilson is the author of I Will Say This Exactly One Time: Essays (Sibling Rivalry, 2015); Crush, with Will Stockton (Punctum Books, 2014); Brit Lit (Sibling Rivalry, 2013); and Catch & Release (2012), winner of the Robin Becker Prize. He is an Assistant Professor of English at Texas Tech University, and his work has appeared in Threepenny Review, POETRY, and The Rumpus.