The Funeral

The Middleton Civic hall, Ballroom 2, ground floor. The room is lined with chairs all facing the front of the room, about 300, and each one had a person sitting in it. Some were even standing in the back. At the front of this large room is a movie screen dropped into position from the ceiling by retractable cables. Two more people just snuck in before the doors had to be closed. The room was definitely at maximum capacity.

The screen in the front of the room covered most of the stage that was set up behind it. Flowers could be seen poking out from behind it like a tease to what could be hiding behind.

In the front row on one side, was Ron's parent's. With them was the Possible family, minus Kim. The rest of the seats in that row were empty. All other chairs in the auditorium had a body of some sort. There was even an entire section that was reserved just for the bad guys, and they were all there. Drakken, Shego, Killigan, Monkey Fist, Adrena Lyn, DNAmy, Motor Ed, Dementor, The Seniors', and a few of lesser bad guys. They were all being watched by security guards.

In a small room off to the side of the stage, three friends were waiting, but not very patiently. Each was fidgeting in their own little way. Ron was dressed to the nines. A black suit, white shirt, black tie. Kim wore a full length black dress that had sleeves to her wrists, and the collar line was just below her neck. Wade probably was the only one who looked a little uncomfortable with what he was wearing. His suit didn't quite fit, but he still looked nice.

"Kim, I am so nervous." Ron said, voice shaking.

"It's OK Ron, just relax, and be yourself." Kim gave him a lingering kiss on the check. "Remember, we'll be right behind you."

"You'll do fine Ron. I have faith in you. I always have." Wade said, placing his hand on the shoulder of his friend.

A pager beeped in Wade's pocket. He pulled it out, looked at it and said "Ron, everyone's here now. We're ready to start."

Out in the main ballroom on the screen , a picture fluttered, and the familiar 3, 2, 1 countdown.

Rufus was on the screen, clearing his throat into a microphone, and then a chorus of female voices started. It was Ron's Naked Mole Rap video he had made a few years ago.

After it finished, everyone was slightly taken aback by this video, especially since it was used to start such a somber occasion. A few clapped some silent applause.

The screen rose, and revealed a site that caused a hush over the crowd. The entire stage was covered with all kinds and colors of flowers. They spanned across the entire front, and rose on the sides at least 10-15 feet. There were all kinds of pictures of Rufus along the front intermingling with the flowers, along with cards, and notes of sympathy.

In the center of all this was a podium draped in black, with a red sash draped over one side. Standing behind the podium was a very somber looking young man, his blond hair not quite completely combed, but then again, it looked fine on him. To his left, and slightly to the back stood Kim and Wade.

Ron lifted his head and looked at the crowd. Immediately he felt a lump start to rise in his throat, but he forced it back down with a hard swallow. Reaching over to the microphone attached to the podium, he adjusted the angle, and height, then turned it.

"Can everyone hear me OK in the back?" A hand waved, and he then saw the OK signed with fingers.

"First I would like to thank you all for coming. Believe me, I didn't think that this many people would show up. But then again, it doesn't surprise me either." Ron took some note cards out of his pocket, and fumbled with them a little.

"You know, I'm not going to even look at these notes I've made, I'm just going to get right to this." He turned his head and cleared his throat, took a deep breath, and started.

"Your probably all wondering why you just saw that video I made a few years ago. Your probably all wondering why a funeral has started in this manner, and your probably wondering why all this is being done for something as small as a little naked mole rat". He cleared his throat again, and took a small sip of water from the glass that was placed on the podium. "We loved him too, Ron!" A voice from somewhere in the audience yelled. "Thank-you, Thank-you again. Hopefully the video has given you a little bit of an idea of how I first met Rufus. Some of you know the story." he glanced at his parents and the Possible family "And some of you don't. I wanted to start this ahem occasion a little light hearted, because I know he would want it that way.

"Rufus and I have, had been best buds for, like, forever. I know he looks , looked kinda funny, but he was the best friend a pet could ever be. He went on missions with Kim and I without any arguments. He glanced back at Kim Well, I take that back, maybe on a few occasions he didn't want to be there. After all, he feels the same way about monkeys that I do." There were a few small bits of laughter at this.

"I've never told this to anyone, and I can't think of a better time than now. Some may have figured it out, glancing at Kim, then his parents but when I was just a little boy, even before pre-school, I had an invisible friend. He kept me company, he listened to me, went with me every where I went. Then like all kids, I grew out having an invisible friend. Not much longer after that, I met a new friend, actually, two new friends, and of all places, in a Smarty Mart Store. I mean, that's where I met the one who we are gathered here for today". Turning around he mouthed the word SORRY to Kim. She smiled back, knowing he didn't mean it the way it sounded There were little bits of laughter around the room at his slight slip. "Anyway, that invisible friends name was Rufus.

"I seemed to always know that mole rats didn't live as long as people do, but I kept putting it out of my mind. I didn't want to even think about it. Rufus had become everything that my invisible friend had been, and more. Someone to talk to when I was sad, angry, or happy. Someone I could confide in when there was no one else around, and to tell secrets too. I could bounce ideas off of him, and he would always give me support. Even for the stupid ones.

"It was Rufus who helped me to make some major decisions in my life, and among them, the most important one, was to ask a certain someone a certain question. He turned and winked at Kim, and she reached over and gave the ring a slight twist on her finger that he had given her on that special day.

"When… when Rufus got sick, the first thing that came to mind was that he had eaten some old food, and it gave him a stomach ache. It was about 2:30 in the morning when I had heard him making some funny noises in his cage. I asked him what was wrong, but he was so weak he couldn't even open his eyes. I rushed out of the house yelling at my parents that I was taking him to the veterinarian, and then called Kim. The vet at the emergency pet hospital was able to stabilize him, and it looked like he might be OK. They initially thought the same thing as me, that he had eaten something bad. Then after a few tests, I found out just how old Rufus had become. Since naked mole rats have no hair, he didn't have the usual tell-tale signs of old age of gray hairs. The next morning, Kim and I got a call to go on a mission. Oh Kim and I had been on missions before without Rufus, but this was different. We were both concerned about him. I could tell Kim was thinking about him through the entire mission. We didn't talk much, we just did the job at hand, and we were done in record time. Bad guys were put in jail and everything. Drakken and Shego hung their heads at that

"We rushed back to the vet hospital the same afternoon we had finished with the mission. I decided to stay with Rufus that night, and Kim went home to get some sleep. About f…four o'clock the next morning, I…I heard him squeaking for m…me. Ron wiped tears from his eyes, and Kim came up behind him, placing her arm around his shoulders I…I went over to his cage, opened it, and held him in my h…hands. As I looked at him, h…he opened his eyes, darn it, I didn't want to do this in front of everybody. He went to wipe more tears from his face, but Kim took his hand, and wiped the tears away herself, and then wiped her own face as she had started to cry also

"I said, Hold on little buddy, you'll be fine. H…he looked at me with those little mole rat eyes, and smiled. Maybe I was hearing things, but I s…swear I h…heard him say, It was…fun. My little mole rat buddy, my confidant, my friend, died in my hands.

"He closed his eyes, and breathed out one last time. I cried my eyes out until Kim arrived the next morning after the front office opened up." Ron paused for a little bit, as the tears from the memory washed over him. Ron's mom dabbed at her face, and so did Anne, Kim's mom. In fact, there was hardly a dry eye in the entire audience.

Overcome, Ron couldn't stand there anymore. He ran off to the room where the three of them were before. He sat down in a chair at a desk, threw his arms down, and lay his forhead down. Ron Stoppable couldn't stop the tears as he remembered vividly when Rufus passed away in his hands.

Suddenly he heard a piano playing. Then a beautiful voice started to sing. It was Kim. At first he was wondering what was going on, then he remembered that Kim had asked to sing a song after his eulogy. She was singing it now. The song, "Hero", originally by Mariah Carey.

He walked back out onto the stage, and stood back and to her left, closed his eyes and listened to her sing.

After she finished, Ron came up to her side, and took her hand. Kim turned, smiled, and asked Ron if he was OK. He nodded yes, smiling weakly.

A pastor walked up to the podium and spoke.

"Let us pray. Dearly beloved, we gathered hear to pay tribute to a most amazing animal. One of Gods creatures. Every once in a while, an animal, a pet, comes along that defies all logic. A pet that can make friends where ever they go. A pet that can make people happy just by being there. Rufus was one of those animals. He was one of those special pets. Lord, accept Rufus into your arms, protect him, hold him, keep him warm and safe. Lord, we must always remember on this humble earth of yours, that we really do not die, or leave. For those who leave us will live on in our hearts and minds forever, through stories and memories that will be passed down from generation to generation. Lord, bless each and every person in this room today who have come of their own free will to pay tribute to one of your finest creations. Be with us all, now and forever more, Amen".

"Amen" The entire room said in unison.

XXXXXXX Please note: I checked out naked mole rats on line, and found they could live up to 20 years. I tried to write this in a way that didn't give a time line.