“Honeytomb” by Zach Smith

Honey is the only food that doesn’t expire. It does have a small amount of dormant endospores that the very young are incapable of fighting off and can be fatal, which is why it comes with the warning not to feed to children under the age of one.

Throughout his life the man has always been considered eccentric. He was very specific on how he wanted his body treated after death. Even in a postmortem state, his eccentricity lived on.

The grave was marked with a somewhat traditional headstone, taller than wide by a ratio of two to one, with a perfect half circle top. The typical name and dates on the stone, but rather than any inherent religious symbol, there was a simplified etching of a honeycomb.

Below the gravestone was not a coffin but a chamber, lead-lined, coated in iron, coated again in polyvinyl chloride in order to prevent the lead from poisoning the water table below, ten feet long, five feet high and five feet wide.

The hole it was placed in had to be dug much deeper than the traditional seven feet to accommodate the tomb.

The interior was carpeted, walls lined with faux wood grain paneling, popcorn ceiling.

An iPod, plugged into a small speaker powered by diesel a truck battery, played a two-and-a-half-day long classical music playlist. The music arrangement was expected to continue playing for three hundred hours with every song being repeated approximately fifty times before the battery would run out and the chamber would go quite.

The man never had any children, but he and his wife would animate their most beloved stuffed animal (a penguin) as though it were a child. Making it jump when excited, or wave its wing at the living animals eating from the bird feeder just outside their kitchen door. That same penguin now sat inside the tomb in his own small rocking chair.

Because of its nearly infinite shelf life, honey has been used with success in preserving objects for hundreds to thousands of years.

The man lay in a clear plastic ursiform sarcophagus that was filled with honey at great expense. The interior volume of the sarcophagus was approximately 209 gallons, the volume of the lifeless man was roughly twenty-three gallons, with an additional two gallons or so worth of clothing. The remaining 184 gallons of empty space was filled with honey at a price of $47.58 per gallon making the total cost of honey used in the burial $8,754.72.

The honey-filled sarcophagus was lowered into the tomb not by the typical nylon straps, but by a cherry picker with a fork lift attachment that was capable of supporting the additional weight.

A ladder was lowered into the grave and the man’s widow, climbed into the tomb, placed the penguin in the rocking chair, pressed play on the iPod, kissed the sarcophagus, and climbed out. Then the lid of the tomb was positioned, placed and sealed closed.

The longevity of honey was a topic of great interest to the man, and he ate vast quantities believing that the consumption of honey would be the key to a long life. It might have worked, since just weeks before his death he had been at the pinnacle of health for a man of his age.

Close friends and family that saw his rapid and unexplained decline in health, suspected that he may have been poisoned, but the question of who or why was never answered. Perhaps the man had known, but that knowledge, like the man himself, is now sealed away forever in the Honeytomb.


2 thoughts on ““Honeytomb” by Zach Smith

  1. Pingback: Honeytomb | The Obscurity Symposium

  2. Pingback: Architechtonics After the Rain | The Obscurity Symposium

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