The Three Brothers

I wrote this story for a publication on that publishes Grimm Fairy Tales retold. Click here to read the original story this short is based on.


The following eulogy was given at the funeral of George, John, and Thomas Simpson.

Thank you for coming today. I know my brothers would appreciate you being here.

It feels weird, them just laying up here in front, all still, and stiff, and stuff.

When I drove up, I almost expected to run into George at the door. I thought he’d be there shaking hands, greeting people, writing down everyone’s name in that little black book he always carried around, keeping track of who came and who didn’t.

And I thought I’d see John working the room, cracking jokes and asking about your last vacation, or whatever you did over the weekend. And, of course, mentioning that he was looking for new patrons for whatever project he was working on.

And then Thomas… I expected to see Thomas sitting off in some corner, half-drunk, flirting with some girl half his age.

But instead, they’re laid out in front of us, about to go in the ground.

Susan, um, that’s my wife. She said I should have written some stuff down — like prepared a speech, or something. Now that I’m standing up here, in front of all of you, with no clue what to say, I’m realizing she was probably right. She’s usually right.

It’s not easy being quadruplets. Especially with my dad. He was such an asshole.

Can I say that in here? It’s not like we’re having a church service or anything.

So yeah, he was an asshole. Always pitting us against each other. Always comparing. Always judging.

“Did you see that, James? Look at how Thomas uses his whole body when he pitches. That’s why he made the team this year. Maybe he can give you lessons before next year’s tryouts, so you don’t stink up the field again.”

“James, come over here and look at George’s grades. Why aren’t your grades like George’s grades? You’re the same for Christ-sake. Did he get all the brains in the womb or something?”

“James, did you see this picture your brother did? Did you? This is what hard work looks like, James.”

That was Dad.

My brothers loved it though. They thrived on it — always being pushed. They each found their thing. Dad was real proud of them.

He’d role over in his grave if he knew I was giving their eulogy. I can hear him now. “Eulogy? That fourth piece of shit isn’t fit to tie their damn shoes. He can’t give their eulogy.”


I guess this is where I should read through their accomplishments. Susan said that was customary. “That’s what you do at funerals, dear. You say nice things.” The newspaper wrote obituaries that are real nice, so I thought I’d just read those.

George Washington Simpson was born on May 2nd of 1957. He attended Yale for his undergraduate studies, obtaining a dual degree in philosophy and accounting. He then went on to graduate from Harvard Law at the top of his class. George rose to the level of partner in McManus, Anderson, and Simpson by the age of thirty-two. After the death of this father, George returned home to live on his family’s estate. Arguably, George’s greatest accomplishment was arguing before the Supreme Court of the United States in RCA Records versus Untied Artists Guild. In the case, George successfully defended the four-hundredth-thirty-second statute of the Copyright exemption on behalf of RCA Records allowing copyrights to be maintained by…

You get the idea.

I’ll give it to George, he was an amazing lawyer. But what this stuff leaves out is the real thing George was most proud of — his car. I’m sure, if you know George, that you’ve seen it. It’s a silver, Mercedes convertible. If George could talk right now, I know he’d give you all the details about it. I just know the damn thing was crazy expensive. Dad bought it for him as a graduation present. “I’d get you a car too, James, if you’d been accepted to Yale like George.”

Anyway. Let’s do John.

John Adams Simpson was born on May 2nd of 1957. Upon graduation from High School, John was accepted in the Royal College of Art in London. While there, John honed his skills as a sculptor. It was in London that John first began using marble. After the death of his father, John returned home to live on his family’s estate. While John has completed many pieces that are staged around the world, his most critically acclaimed work is his “Five Magnums of Flesh” which is currently on display at the Musee Paul-Bel… Bel-mon-do. Musee Paul-Belmondo.

Did I say that right?

Musee? I guess that’s how the French people say Museum. They’re too fancy for that last “um.”

Sorry. Susan said no jokes.

I’ve, um. I’ve never seen John’s Five Mags of — whatever. In my opinion, his greatest work was the notebook page that used to hang on the wall next to his bed. We were sixteen, I guess. And we were in Ms. Dubois’s class. Now, Mrs. Dubois was crazy hot. Like, super model hot. And John use to do these sketches of her in his notebook. Dad was always buying him these nice notebooks and pencils — that’s not the point. John would always draw Ms. Dubois in, um, suggestive poses. Usually with no clothes. And this one sketch was… I mean. It was a fucking work of art. So when we got home, he tore it out of his notebook and tacked it to his wall. This was pre-internet porn, you realize, so we had to get our kicks where we could. Anyway. I still remember that one.

Okay. Thomas. Good old Thomas. May you rest in peace.

Thomas Jefferson Simpson, nicknamed the General, was born on May 2nd of 1957. Labeled a high school phenom, at the age of nineteen, Thomas went to play for the New York Yankees. Thomas pitched for the Yankees for fifteen years, bringing home four World Series championships. After the death of his father, Thomas returned home to live on his family’s estate. At the age of thirty-four, Thomas left the Yankees to work as a commentator for ESPN. Thomas is best known for his back-to-back shut-out games in the 1978 World Series. Not only had a shut-out never been pitched in a World Series before, no pitcher had ever… Blah, blah, blah, blah.

You get the idea.

I don’t think it’s a secret that Thomas and I never got along. I know it’s sad, but I honestly can’t think of one nice thing to say about him.

Oh! How about this? Thomas was super good looking in high school. So good looking, he stole my prom date. It was in the middle of the dance. He got tired of the girl he was with, so he just came right over to me and told me to take a hike, then they started dancing in the middle of the room. George and John thought it was hysterical. I think she’d really wanted to go to the dance with him anyway. That’s what Dad said when I got home.

Today would have broken Dad’s heart. His three favorite sons, all killed on the same day, by food poisoning of all things. Giants like those guys don’t die from food poisoning. If he weren’t already dead, today would have finished the old man off for sure — which wouldn’t have been the worst thing.

I was surprised I was asked to do the eulogy. I guess it’s because I’m the only living relative. Most of you probably didn’t even know I existed.

My brothers and I didn’t really talk. I think the last time I saw Thomas was at Mom’s funeral, and that was… Jesus. Like thirty-something years ago? Mom died in eighty-two, so… Where’s George to do the math when you need him? Oh, that’s right, he’s in the coffin in front of me. Hey, Georgy! What’s the temperature like where you’re at? I bet it’s pretty fucking hot! Ha, ha, ha, ha.

I’m sorry. It’s not really the time for jokes. This is exactly why Susan wanted me to write everything down.

George, John, and Thomas never got married. Never had any kids. Which, I guess, means the house is mine now. Something else that would make Dad roll over.

Well, you’ll be missed gentlemen. People all around the world will mourn the legends you were.

Thanks again for coming, everyone. I know the guys would appreciate the crowd. Thank you.

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