Thanks for the update. Thankfully, I’ve never been in charge of a dead body. I hope they find a good place for him.

Having just binged the whole series again I can confirm that yes, this is exactly what I imagined Reggie would do in this situation.
It’s just a matter of pride and respect. Just like how ancestors in the unmarked graves, I can see how he would feel the need to honor this person.

What is American law, regarding the disposal of ashes? U.K. law is quite loose on the subject, essentially the holders can dispose of them as they see fit. They can be, and usually are, interred in public crematoria, with either a small temporary marker, a plant of some kind (often a rose bush) or a small plaque somewhere adjacent. None of these are expensive.

It’s also common for ashes to be disposed of by being either interred, or scattered at some public location significant to the deceased, or their family. Country or small urban churchyards will usually undertake this, most of them long since closed to new interments. Smaller sports stadia will sometimes permit this. Public beauty spots and national parks don’t specifically provide for it, but have no mechanism for preventing it (other than excluding or denying specific applications from commercial operators) – if a private individual wishes to bring the ashes, and scatter them, no one will concern themselves.

You can pretty much pitch ashes anywhere. It’s functionally dirt.

My Dad was cremated when he died in late 2018… We still have his ashes here on our desk, because he wanted to be scattered in a few different places that were significant to him, and we haven’t been able to arrange to get the family together for appropriate ceremony and gravitas.

I suppose we should do it before my brother moves to Arizona (Most of the family lives in Appalachia)

Not a very practical final request, for those of you who are updating your wills. My suggestion: one or two of you can do the first parts of the quest, then gather the relatives for the final part and ceremony at the most convenient spot.

Here in the US, my brother & I scattered our parents’ ashes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, near where my parents lived after retiring. Checking the park website, we found a form to download. Didn’t have to fill it out or file it with any office, just had to have it with us when we scattered the ashes. It was mostly so that you are aware of the few common sense rules. Don’t scatter in high traffic areas, near crowds, away from open water, etc.

We scattered the mingled ashes on a minor mountaintop that they could see from their home. As for crowds, we only encountered a few other parties on the way up or down. And a mama black bear with two cubs, less than 50 yards/meters off the trail. She sent the cubs up a tree and watched us as we watched her as we kept moving on down the trail. Everyone was chill about it.

It’s pretty open. There are some rules about scattering ashes at beaches or national parks due to pollution regulations, but as long as you’re discreet they don’t pursue folks after the fact. Speaking from experience on that, Dad was scattered at a lighthouse where he and Mom used to hang out in college, and the funeral home director’s response was “don’t announce that at the memorial and it’ll be fine.”

An ex-girlfriend of mine had an aunt who loved to shop in a certain large store. So her family, very respectfully, took some of her ashes and sifted them through the store – in places that would never be cleaned, like the cracks between display cabinets.

And any retail workers reading this are probably going either “Hardcore awesome!” or more likely “Euuwhwgh why did you tell us that!” But honestly I’d rather have cremains than toddler-boogers under my counters.

The team seem to be painting themselves into a corner, here. The building owner, who appears to have a legitimate claim to anything of value found there (if I understand previous strips correctly) isn’t part of this conversation and probably doesn’t care in the least about the disposal of the remains, and isn’t likely to contribute. They can’t afford to flag up to said owner (who they all appear to know, more or less) that there are items of value.

Is that how US law works? Under British law, the contents of the safe go straight to the Crown as the estate of an intestate deceased.

As far as I know-
In US laws-if someone dies + didn’t make a will, then the local govt., maybe a US state, or a town, claims ownership of all of that person’s property/belongings,…and then that govt. decides what it wants to do with the property.

The law don’t work iffin you don’t tell no one…

Also there are finders keepers laws in a lot of places. If you find something of value and no one comes forward to claim it it is legally yours.
You see this a lot with people who use metal detectors or go scuba diving through old shipwrecks.
Alex would in all likelihood take some time to brush up on the local laws regarding a find like that.

They could find a good-looking river, that’s near this guy’s secret hideout, + then toss his remains into it.

And if you’ll pardon me, I’d rather not think of this topic anymore.

And that’s me finished with re-reading the entire archive. I’ve said it several times in the past, but I feel it bears saying again: Between Failures is an amazing series, with an amazing cast, and an amazing writer, both for the content and the dedication to update as often and as punctual as it is. I’ve been here for a long time now, and I plan to be here for as long as you’ll be continuing it. Thanks for doing this. =)

Don’t worry about the single plot line! This interaction is great to witness without jumping around. Trust me … I do miss the rest of the cast, but this was a fun trip.

Did you know that you can take cremains–what’s left after cremation–and have them converted into an actual straight-up no-shit diamond? It’s true.


I’ve heard about that. I could think of worse ways to spend eternity once I die than to be turned into a diamond and set into a ring or something for someone I love.

[maybe in the 1990s], The 1970s era painter, Andy Warhol joked that-
he wanted his ashes made into a big ring, so that he could “spend eternity” riding around on Elizabeth Taylor’s hand. :D

I know I’m a few months late, but…

Funeral Director weighing in:

You can do A LOT with ashes.

The diamond thing is the most well known, but there are lots of other neat ways to honor/remember someone with cremains.

You can have them blown into glass ornaments – pendants, paperweight, jewelry, etc.

You can send them to a company in Florida where they’ll be mixed into concrete dome thingies that are submerged and used to rebuild decimated coral reefs.

You can have them pressed into a vinyl record that has a recording of their voice or their favorite songs/ plays/ TV or movie quotes/ any audio that’s appropriate.

You can have them mixed into ink which is then used to print a limited edition run of a book or pamphlet.

You can have them shot into space or put into fireworks, have the ashes incorporated into a lava lamp, or mixed into paint which is used to paint a portrait of the person. You can hire a chef that will use them in catering a very specific set of dishes for a dinner in their honor. They can be added into concrete and statuary made, pathway pavers for a garden, etc.

The list goes on, but those are the immediate ways of using cremains that I can think of. The possibilites are literally endless.

With funerals being as expensive as they are and cremation becoming the norm rather than the exception, people have been infinitely creative in coming up with ways to remember/ honor the deceased using the cremains. Whatever the person loved, there’s probably a way to use the cremains to reflect that.

A potters field is sometimes a kindness.Working in a state psychiatric hospital we had an intellectually disabled patient who was there as incompetent for trial. While there, he was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer. At that point he should have been discharged back to his home county but the county knew they could avoid the cost of caring for him by stalling and leaving him in the state hospital. At any rate we ended up providing end of life care. The family were dirt poor and couldn’t even afford to come and get his remains. Most of the older state hospitals in Texas have cemeteries and that is where he is buried. The hospital chaplain conducted a service that was attended by a group of his caretakers. A final kindness in a world that couldn’t be bothered with him.

A simple and “relatively” cheap solution is mix the ash with some better durability cement and cast an engraved block for him. Then it can be either placed in potters field or added to the wall.

Has it not occurred to Reggie that he already owns a small graveyard?

Is all this quirkiness with your ashes a thing now? Etiquette demands that you express at most one, simple quirk in your instructions. No shooting the ashes to the moon, no pouring them into the Pacific, unless perhaps you live on the west coast, no sneaking them into the cafeteria food at your alma mater, etc etc.

(I’ll be getting a regular burial myself.)

A burial is likely considerably more to ask for than a few locations of ash drops. Graves, as said above, are *expensive*. As are coffins and gravestones. If you really want to be minimum fuss about it, go for cremation and let the crematorium keep the ashes.

Well, my buried relatives cost me a fixed amount per year, which I don’t find terribly onerous. Going to a funeral, or sending flowers if you’re too far away, is paying your respects. These requests are more like some odd film script regarding a will. I disapprove, so there.

And therein lies the greatness of freedom. You’re disapproval is noted, but is not welcome to disturb those who are grieving or being mourned in manners not befitting your approval. I disapprove of your disapproval. Uh… so there.

I have to say I like this turn of events. You start asking yourself if this is getting just a little bit crazy. Good.

They may not have thought it through, but they thought it through more than most people would. I can’t imagine many people would care about the body in that situation.

In a box may conjurer images of a crude brown cardboard box, but they have some rather fashionable boxes for ashes these days, classy and economical.
My moms remains were put in a box, which we then emptied in a hole and planted a tree over them.

Something to dwell on in these times:
“And as in the daily casualties of life every man is, as it were, threatened with numberless deaths, so long as it remains uncertain which of them is his fate, I would ask whether it is not better to suffer one and die, than to live in fear of all?”

Honestly, I’ve been really enjoying this plotline. I’m very okay with you focusing on this until it’s fully resolved.

They could just bury him next to Reggie’s relatives. Who’s gonna know or care? It’d be kind of a nice gesture for a guy who died alone and went unnoticed for so long, to be with other people who were kind of in the same boat.

I was just thinking that. A post-hole digger would create a slender hole deep enough to drop the ashes, as we did for my SIL.

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