One of my favorite 80’s movies is COCKTAIL. I love it because of course, it is a chick flick. However, there is a suicide and a power play over money.  I think that just gives it the touch it needed to make it seem like well, reality.

I haven’t seen this movie in years but I watched it the other night and something weird happened. I began listening more intently to Coughlin’s laws.

My favorite line in the movie is a letter from Coughlin himself after his untimely death. He sends the letter to Brian and talks about why he killed himself. At the end of the letter, he says COUGHLIN’S LAW: BURY THE DEAD. THEY STINK UP THE JOINT. 

Now I have watched this movie so many times I have lost count but this time, this time, this line got to me. I don’t know if it is the fact that I am a writer now and certain lines in movies speak to me differently or what, but this one little line affected me. It has been haunting me for days now.

You know how it is when you get a certain word, or sentence stuck in your head when you are in the middle of a writing project and it doesn’t seem to go away until it is down on paper, or in this case computer. That is how this line has been affecting me. I find that it is on some sort of loop in my head. Driving me to madness. So you see I had to share it to hopefully get it out of my head to make room for more stuff to write.

But, what does it all mean? This one little line seemed so simple has become something else entirely.  I am baffled as to why it astounds me, due to the simplicity of the words. It is common sense to bury your dead lest they stink up the place. Yet, the power in those words as he said them seemed to more meaningful than that.

It conjures images of dead rising from the grave on a moonlit night, emitting foul odors. It makes me want to write something dark and twisted, and I may do a poem or a short story off of this line, but for now, I will pray that this line doesn’t stay too much longer in the forefront of my mind…


1 thought on “HAUNTING WORDS

  1. Maybe the irony in those words is when we tell someone who is living and breathing that they are “stinking up the joint.” It’s never been intended as a compliment … now in your new context for the phase, we are calling them like dead persons talking or their contributions to that particular environment caustic or even toxic.


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