Your cart is empty. Go to Shop

Last Bites Ken Pisani

And so the mourners dispersed and shuffled from the funeral home, stuffed but somehow unsatisfied. Artwork comes to us via and is used through the .
Artwork comes to us via Wikimedia Commons and is used through the GNU Free Documentation License 1.2.

The wake held for Sven Müeller at Karloff’s Funeral Home in Queens, New York, was completely unremarkable until a tiny nephew of Sven’s was lifted to kiss his uncle good-bye, but instead bit off the dead man’s nose. Women shrieked and strong men fainted and, when the toddler continued to chew and swallow the nose, his mother dropped him and vomited.

But the boy just grinned and said, “Chocolate.”

Sure enough, on closer examination, the deceased watchmaker proved to be made entirely of Swiss white chocolate. His family pondered this unusual discovery, nibbling absent-mindedly on Sven’s slender, sweet fingers clutched around a crucifix. They all agreed that Sven had been a good and decent man, but who knew he was also delicious?

They decided that further investigation was warranted and, after meeting with understandable resistance in the corridors of the funeral home, it was determined that Sven was not alone in his delectable condition. Across the hall the late Giovanni Marconi, looking every bit as life-like as he did moments before collapsing over the pants-presser in the back of his dry-cleaning business, tasted like saucy meatballs, with just the right hint of parsley. Down the corridor from Mr. Marconi, Ravi Darjeeling was made of Lamb Vindaloo (too spicy for some), while just next door, Nicholas Boskopoulos tasted distinctly of spanakopita. The growing number of suddenly hungry mourners paused briefly outside the room holding the remains of Max Weinberg before bypassing in favor of the Spaniard Francisco Castillo, who offered a sweet-tinged Chicken Marbella flavor good enough for the Silver Palate.

These formerly somber mourners now resembled a festive, roving diner’s club, reveling in each exotic taste and eating off each other’s plates, from the salt-cured gravlax of the late Scandinavian longshoreman Dag Sørensen to the sweet jerk pork of Malachi “Roots” Dekker, taken from us too soon. Even the stolid glazed-ham flavor of the portly Walter Lundgren proved a complete but happy surprise.

However, by the time they’d consumed the wine-marinated remains of Henri LeBeau (especially enjoying the foie gras of his engorged liver), a noticeable change had crept over the group: at first there were tiny criticisms — that this one was “too sweet” or “overdone,” or that the elderly Sheila Taylor “could use some salt.” Perhaps recalling too fondly just how tasty the earlier offerings had been, the dissatisfied gourmands felt that these latest offerings fell short; one couple even lamented how inattentive the service had become. Frowning after a single bite of the late Esther Becker, the young widow of Marshall Johnson (himself tasting of a perfectly seasoned pork loin), took out her iPhone and posted a half-star review of the unsatisfactory fare at the Becker viewing. The goulash that had been Eva Szabó proved a pedestrian disappointment, and by the time they’d reached the soggy corpse of retired schoolteacher Susan Turner (“Meat loaf,” the first taster sneered, and the others shook their heads in shared displeasure), the jovial conviviality of the group and their collective wonder had dissipated like the aroma of a dish left sitting too long.

And so the mourners dispersed and shuffled from the funeral home, stuffed but somehow unsatisfied. They never spoke again of this mystifying, gourmet event, when the delicious remains of loved ones who had once nourished their lives offered a surprising final bit of sustenance, only to disappoint, as they had so often in life.

© Ken Pisani

Meet the Author

Ken Pisani

Ken Pisani writes and produces for television and has earned two Emmy nominations. (He remains bitter about losing.) He has optioned features and sold network pilots, events that expired with little fanfare.

Ken also dabbles as a playwright and is a published fiction author. His short story, “My Brother Died And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt,” was collected in the anthology More Tonto Short Stories, published last year in the U.S. and U.K. An earlier effort, “The Failing,” was a short fiction winner at Cedar Hill Press in 2007. The windfall from both those literary triumphs will offer small comfort in retirement.

Ken is a former cartoonist, art director, stand-up comic, and sports producer. Let’s face it, some people have a career path, Ken’s resume is more like the trail of a serial killer — appearing random and chaotic but on closer examination… well, still crazy.

A former New Yorker, Ken currently lives in Los Angeles with his beautiful wife, Amanda, and is allergic to dogs. To enjoy more of Ken’s writing (such as it is), visit, where Ken blogs occasionally if not lucidly about the economy, politics, media, and other topics of little interest.

Become a Patron! Check our our NEW Patron rewards!


Receives weekly links to new stories, exclusive behind-the-scenes content and interviews with the authors, and our undying love.


Receives a free monthly download of our current issue, access to Ask Me Anything chats with the FFO staff, submission statistics, plus benefits from lower levels


Gain access to our monthly Mini-Critique sessions, the FFO Editorial Team slushpile wishlist , plus benefits from lower levels


A chance to have your work discussed by the FFO editorial team, receive 365 Writing Prompts and our latest anthology, plus benefits from lower levels


Receive a monthly mini-critique from the FFO editorial team and request custom writing videos, plus benefits from lower levels


Receive one flash fiction critique per month, mini-critique sessions, an opportunity to “sponsor-a-story,” plus all the benefits of lower levels!


  1. sharkisha
    October 12, 2015 @ 2:15 pm

    Italian food


  2. laquisha
    October 12, 2015 @ 2:15 pm

    lets add some fingers?


  3. sharkisha
    October 12, 2015 @ 2:14 pm

    needs salt


  4. laquisha
    October 12, 2015 @ 2:14 pm

    who wants some deep fried chicken down in my cella


  5. sharkisha
    October 12, 2015 @ 2:13 pm



  6. laquisha
    October 12, 2015 @ 2:13 pm



  7. laquisha
    October 12, 2015 @ 2:12 pm

    this is ashton bud >:)


  8. laquisha
    October 12, 2015 @ 2:11 pm

    This is just deliscous


  9. laquisha
    October 12, 2015 @ 2:10 pm



  10. JRBrillianton
    April 14, 2015 @ 1:28 am

    I couldn’t turn away from this story. I found myself
    being dragged along with the mourning diners hoping for a nice pork roast with


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Support Flash Fiction Online

Flash Fiction Online is a free online magazine that pays professional rates. So how do we make that happen? It’s due to the generosity of readers like you.

Here are some ways you can help:

Become a Patron.

Sign up to become a monthly donor and gain access to exclusive Patron rewards like manuscript critiques, insider submission statistics, the Editors’ Wishlist, free downloads of our current issue, and Ask Me Anything chats with the FFO staff. Read more…

Subscribe to FFO.

Never miss an issue! E-reader formats delivered to your inbox. Available from

Buy our issues & anthologies.

Each of our issues and anthologies are available in convenient e-reader formats (epub/mobi/pdf). Available from the Flash Fiction Online Store and WeightlessBooks.


Consider a one-time gift that fits your budget.

Advertise with us.

Have a product, service, or website our readers might enjoy? Ad space available on the website and in our e-reader issues. Sponsored posts opportunities are also available. Learn more…

Spread the word.

Love one of our stories or articles? Share it with a friend!

%d bloggers like this: