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Paperback Writer

by P. S. Gifford
A well accomplished writer, P.S. had so many stories to tell, we had to give him his own space. Enjoy this new style of blog meets fiction!

Thursday, May 26, 2006

Chucks Discount Funerals

Charles examined the corpse that had just been freshly delivered to Chuck’s discount funerals.

Yep, chuck promised the lowest priced funerals anywhere. As he slogan gleefully boasted…
“We will bury your beloved for under a grand. GUARANTEED! You get more for your buck when you’re buried with Chuck!”

Well. What’s to consider? After all the customer is dead, they aren’t going too complain too much now are they?

Of course there were some sacrifices to be made at a low cost funeral home. But that’s to be expected isn’t it?

Charles read the tag on his latest delivery.

“Horace Wallbanger
Age 56
Weight 478 pounds
Cause of death-heart attack”

Hmmm. The size of this corpse was going to be a quandary. After all his quality made light weight MDF coffins could only withstand 325 pounds…And that was pushing it. Yes, Charles was going to have to improvise on this one, and he had to work fast. The burial ceremony was scheduled for later that afternoon. The low price did not include any refrigeration, and it is wise to quickly bury your loved one soon after delivery to Chucks. Particularly during the summer months, where temperatures often went well over a 100 degrees.

Chuck naturally had his own Graveyard, in the back garden. He had been fortunate enough to inherit an oversized mansion from his grandmother when he was a mere twenty-two, and the several acres of land it was built on. It was on the outskirts of Dingleberg, a very small and almost forgotten town in the heart of Bush country (No not Australia, wrong Bush silly…) Texas. The house had always scared Chuck as a child, reminding him of a mausoleum. He found it the ideal place to sit and read his horror magazines and he had spent many an hour sitting in the old dark rooms, by the soft light of a flashlight absorbed in Tales from the Crypt and the likes. Yet, despite what the psychiatrists seemed to think he had grown up completely normal. (That one instance in High school was all put down to an embarrassing situation. After all how was a young Charles to realize that the swim team would be bitten by the darn piranhas, they are the swim team after all, and should have moved much quicker in the water.)

After his beloved grandmother died he inherited the property. His parents had died two years before in a bizarre meat packing incident. (Trust me you don’t want to know the details; suffice to say many people still won’t eat Henry’s spicy sausage links.

That was thirty years ago. He had always fancied the idea of being a funeral director; he was never one for dealing with the living. It was his delight one day when reading the adverts placed in the back of Amazingly bizarre stories magazine that he discovered that there was a mail order course he could take, so that he could legally do the job in Texas! (Texas is like that you know!) Two years later, he had been presented with a nicely framed certificate, proclaiming that he was a funeral director. (See dreams really can come true.) Over the last three decades hundreds of bodies had been on this very slab. He discovered that the business of death was a competitive one. There were plenty of high end funeral homes. But, it seemed to Chuck that there was something missing for regular working folk; an affordable alternative to the mainstream- the Wal-Mart of interment homes if you will.. Three years later he was found on local television sporting an oversized black ten gallon hat, (He felt that it being black made him appear far more dignified) matching cowboy boots, and a denim suit, and doing his now infamous low budget self produced advertisements spots. Yes, between the hours of midnight and nine in the morning, he was there to interrupt the late movie show, and even its really, really incredibly late, get a life, movie show. One of his more famous sales pitches was that you would get a free fried chicken meal with every funeral you purchased. And we are talking with all the appropriate fixings here-mashed potatoes, coleslaw, biscuits and honey butter.

He stared in at Horace, and grunted to himself.

“I supposed I should attempt the embalming; it is after all the darn law…”
He put on the protective gloves, then reached over and took a bite of the jellied doughnut, the raspberry jam oozed out…Then he returned the doughnut to the half depleted box and reached for the tube and placed it into the oversized flaccid upper arm, and waited for five minutes. As he waited, he finished the doughnut.
Charles knew through experience that Cavity embalming should be thorough and done as soon as possible after arterial injection of embalming fluid is complete. He began on the thoracic cavity; he had discovered that kitty litter worked best for his low budget embalming He watched delighted as the sunken carcass started to plump, back to its former flabby self. He now started on the lungs which needed to be re-aspirated and the windpipe corked. This proved particularly challenging in this case .He then checked the abdominal and thoracic regions for any signs of distention or bloating caused by gaseous buildup. As he feared the pressure in this case was particularly built up, this needed to be relieved by placing a tube in the rectum. He looked at the enormous corpse sitting there; this was going to be tricky he realized. After considerable effort, and eating his fifth doughnut of the day, he had managed to maneuver the heaping mass onto its side. Chuck had installed a pulley above his slab for just this purpose. The cables ached and creaked as the body was repositioned. Yes, Chuck was going to earn his thousand dollars with this one! So there Horace was on his side. Chuck shuddered, thinking he had just discovered the black hole. With fumbling fingers he took the tube and started putting it in place…
He is not quite sure what happened next. Perhaps it was static electricity, possibly even an act of God, but just as the tube penetrated to its destination there was n terrific BANG.

Now, I know what you are thinking. You expect this paragraph to describe something ghastly over the top and revolting…Now why would you think that? I suspect that you might imagine me to say how that when the spark encountered the vast gas escaping from the deceased buttocks that it reacted rather like a flame thrower. Converting our Chuck to something resembling a barbequed brisket, or dare I say it Chuck steak, still wearing his hat. With a cooked over surprised looked now forever stuck to his face.

Or maybe you thought that the gas might react with the flame to create a sort of un-stealth jet propulsion, and thusly whisk the corpse with a velocity not befitting the dead, through the window and on into the street where perhaps it could have met an on coming bus.

Quite! Okay I see your point. That would be some mighty fine story telling. But don’t forget who you are dealing with here.
This is what really happened…

As the tube was gently and reluctantly inserted into the appropriate cavity and that spark happened to ignite. Yes, there was indeed a bang. For a moment it looked like a poor man’s fourth of July, with one solitary Roman candle gurgled to its end. Chuck sat there strangely fascinated…He wondered just how long this unexpected light show was going to last. After almost thirty seconds, it gradually came to a fizzle and a stop. (You might find this anti climactic, but the story is far from over, read on kind reader, read on…)

To be continued.




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