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Duke LaRance

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Funeral Home Diary - Part 1
By Duke LaRance
Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Rated "PG13" by the Author.

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You can't make stuff like this up....

The year after I dropped out of college, I moved back to Gotham City looking for work. There weren’t too many jobs available. A friend told me that one of the local funeral homes was looking for a “nightman”. By this time, I was pretty desperate and went in and applied. Since there had been no other applicants, I was hired on the spot.

My shifts started at 5:00 p.m. and ended at 8:00 a.m. the following morning. If there were bodies to be viewed, I had to dress in a suit and greet mourners at the front door and escort them to see their loved one. After I locked the front door at 9:00 p.m., I then vacuumed, dusted and emptied garbages. If we got a call from one of the hospitals or nursing homes to pick up a body, I paged the on-duty embalmer. Upon his arrival, we headed out in the call car to make the pickup.

That night had been quiet. There were no bodies on display, so I had been lounging around in casual clothes with the front door locked hoping that there would be no calls. I wasn’t that lucky. Early in the evening, a call came from Community Hospital. A very young baby had died. After the representative from the hospital had hung up, the boss’ voice came on the line. He told me to page the embalmer and when he called in to tell him that I had been instructed to go make the pick-up by myself and that the embalmer was to report to the funeral home and await my arrival back.

After speaking with the embalmer, I got dressed up in my suit, locked the doors and headed out in the Cadillac limosine with a blanket. I didn’t see the need to take one of the regular call cars with a gurney. I remember thinking to myself, “Life really sucks; but death sucks even worse. It’s a dirty job; but somebody has to do it.”

When I arrived at the hospital, I went to the nurse’s station and filled out the necessary paperwork. Then, one of the nurses wrapped the baby up in the blanket and handed her to me. As I walked down the hallway to get back to the limo, I felt like a real piece of shit; in fact, I didn’t know how I could have possibly felt any worse.

Before I could get to the exit, I came upon a young couple who had just entered the hospital. Upon spying me, they both cried out in unison, “Oh, how wonderful – a new baby!!!

©2004/duke larance, dba raoul abrasive litanies

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Reviewed by Virginia Ogden 8/18/2013
Very sad story. We don't always know what we are looking at.
Reviewed by t wigner 5/14/2009

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