Friday, August 1, 2008

1st night at The Home

Mr. Johnson, Petey to his friends, looked very dapper in his new suit with his slicked back hair and his bright yellow “I love my Grandkids” tie. He seemed ready to head out on the town to do some courtin’. His wife had died 6 years before and he had become quite the dandy with the elderly widows at Ebenezer Pentecostal Church.

The truth be told, all he wanted was to be tucked back into his casket. He couldn’t get comfy and he never was one to wear a suit, much less sleep in it. He asked if I knew any good bedtime stories. What stories do you tell the newly dead? Stories ‘bout Heaven and Hell were out. I didn’t know which way he was heading and saw no need to scare him or give him false hope. I considered a story about the restless corpse who wandered the earth because he didn’t know that he was dead, but I doubted if ol’ Petey would catch the irony.

I had just tucked him back into his silver “Policy Casket” - the kind you get when you had burial insurance and nothing more to spend - and had settled into a folding chair to tell my story when the Funeral Home started to shake like a 6.3 magnitude earthquake was rocking it’s foundation. A chorus of moans echoed thru the visitation room as the ghosts of all the people we had buried this past year were oozing into the room with me and Petey. Oozing in that they felt- no need to use the door. Their souls were seeping through the walls, floor and ceiling like a scene from the Haunted Mansion in Disney World on bad acid.

Then an icy chill surged thru my body - convulsing me as if I had just stuck my tongue in a light socket - and the wispy shape of Ms. Evelyn Banner poured from my nose and started coalescing in front of me. I awoke with a soul-rending screech, flailing my arms and sprang from my sweat soaked bed as if I were a psychotic gymnast who was always hyped on bad crack and had just gotten his first taste of Meth. Upon sticking my landing, I found myself in a moment of crystal clarity where I instantly absorbed my surroundings and my body was tensed like a coiled spring ready to “Fight or take Flight” against the evil that had engulfed me. Much like I imagine the prostitutes felt just before Jack the Ripper began carving them up like a plump roasted turkey ready for the Thanksgiving meal on the “Total Psycho” ward of the insane asylum.

In that moment I realized that my eyes had dried out to the point that I could not close them and that I was alone in the bedroom. Luckily I also realized that my bladder and bowels were on the brink of loosing themselves in a last ditch, vain effort to drive off whatever manner of beast, man or evil was assailing me.

I clamped shut my duct work, wet my eyes from the glass of water on the night-stand and faced the fact that I would get no more sleep this night. This was the first night that I slept in the Funeral Home and I, in fact, had not meant to sleep at all. That was why I was lying in bed holding my eyes open staring out the bedroom door, through the apartment, to the door leading into the Funeral Home Chapel, and had apparently gone to sleep that way. This was either going to be a short career working at The Home or else at the end of my life, when I died a Funeral Director, I would be ready and willing to face Hell and all that Satan could throw at me, because my mind and body would be numb by that time.


Karen Turner, KARENEASTTN on Twitter said...

The start of this blog entry, especially the second paragraph, would be a great book/movie story line. It could go in so many directions with the genre. My first thought was a Boo Radley type character (To Kill A Mockingbird) as the funeral home attendant. Imagining that there are multiple dimensions or worlds in the universe, one being life as we know it, the primary, 2 could be thought of as Heaven and Hell or maybe just the place where everyone wants to go or doesn't want to go and another for a temporary in between place. For the most part no one knows of the other dimensions except for the very few especially chosen ones who can walk in all dimensions. They are specially chosen to help the dead crossover. The attendant Boo type guy is one of those chosen so like maybe just before a person passes Boo guy steps in to "walk with" the dead and help them cope with all the issues of dying and fears of where the are going. The Walkers escort the Passers through the Passing. The time spent in the in between varies depending on how difficult the Passing is.

Very cool story line you have there, I think.

RhabbKnotte' said...

Thank you for the feedback. Never would've thought of that! I am (very slooooooooowly) working w/a friend whose brothers live in LA and have done TV and Movie (singular)to write a Treatment and hopefully a script, for the whole Fun in Funeral Concept. This is, of course, the most fictitious entry in the lot. I needed to give an overview of my thoughts and feeling from the first 2 weeks I worked at and lived in the funeral home. I don't care how tough you are, that's not an easy transition. I would appreciate any/all feedback you would care to offer!


RhabbKnotte' said...

But I failed to say, that's a cool concept I never would've considered! I like the way you think!