Among the options open to pet owners once their animal passes away—in addition to cremation or burial in a pet cemetery—is to have the animal freeze dried. Really. Unlike taxidermy, in which only the hide of the animal remains for the taxidermist to attach to a framework, this process preserves the animal’s body, so that it looks even more lifelike.
Bud ran such a pet service so that pet owners, in his words, “never had to let go.” Grieving pet owners recommended him to others, and they could be found walking down the street holding their lifeless pets in their arms. They often smiled and whispered secrets to their preserved pet, and kissed the top of its brittle head.
When Bud died suddenly of a heart attack, his family had difficulty letting go, as did his bowling team. His family missed Lou’s loving, charming wit, and his bowling team missed him both for his kindness, and the fact that when he died he was carrying a 212 average. After much discussion among Bud’s family and the bowling team, everyone agreed that the best thing to do was have Bud freeze dried.
Using his bowling trophies as a model, his sons—who had taken over the freeze-drying business—posed Bud as if he had just executed a perfect five-step delivery. Then they held his funeral at the bowling alley, where all in attendance complimented the sons for the natural look of their father’s preserved corpse. Finally, a doctor who was one of Bud’s teammates delivered the news that made everyone applaud: there was nothing in the American Bowling Congress rulebook that forbade a team from having a member who was dead.
Taking a control box out from behind the podium similar to the kind used to control model airplanes, the doctor clicked the control switch to the “on” position and moved the joysticks, which stimulated a number of electrical wires in Bud’s corpse. To thunderous cheers, Bud went to his bowling locker, opened it, took out his bag, sat down, put on his shoes, picked up his ball, went to one of the alleys, and threw a perfect strike. Then he sat down, and put a can of beer to his lips, the beverage running down his chin.
As the years went by, other bowlers followed in Bud’s footsteps. Today, many of the leagues have whole teams of dead players, controlled by their families, who work the controls and drink beer with other relatives. Though it’s true that they could just as easily bowl themselves, they like it so much better this way, for it’s as if their relative has never truly left.