A Eulogy for Caliban

I'm not very good at public speaking. I get all stammery and my palms sweat and I can't think straight when I stand in front of a crowd. Sometimes I have to double-back, or I forget words, or I stumble, and it just gets awkward. Logan makes fun of me for it.

"Big chief no talk White Man talk?"

"Shut up, Logan."

This time's different, though. This time I will speak well. I'll do it for Caliban.

((X))

The sky is grey. I can feel the trees at the edge of the clearing swaying with the cool breeze. The cemetery in the back of the Mansion is dead silent. No one speaks. All eyes are forward on the casket about to be lowered into the dew-soaked dirt.

Summers is at the podium, doing one of his 'mutants-stand-together' speeches, but I'm not hearing it. I just keep replaying what I'm going to say in my head. Caliban was my friend, and damn it if I'm not going to eulogize him correctly.

It's silly, but I find myself praying to my ancestors. If I botch this, I'll never forgive myself or the dishonor I've heaped upon my fallen brother.

"James? Warpath?"

Summers is looking at me. I stand up a little too fast and make my way to the podium.

Scott shakes my hand and leans in. "You've got this, James. Make him proud."

"Yeah."

I get to the podium and look out at the faces. I put the speech on the wood in front of me and smooth it out, trying to ignore the dark spots. I read the first line to myself, sounding it out. With my head down and face hidden by my hair, it probably looks like I'm crying or something. This is good cover; using my environment, as Grandfather would say.

I've got this. It's all mine. I will make Caliban proud.

"C-C-Caliban was my f-friend, m-my brother, and I loved him like a guy."

Loved him like a guy? Good work, Apache.

"He was my friend, the only one who could ever make me laugh."

Well, fixed the stuttering, but somehow it just made that line sound even gayer. I can hear Logan now…

"And I will miss his rock hard body."

That came out wrong.

"We should all aspire to be such a brave warrior—"

Because my priority should always be giving the teams more fuel for Indian jokes.

"—so that we can meet him again in the great dance in the beyond."

I walk off. No one claps.

What the hell is wrong with me?