“I like beautiful melodies telling me terrible things.”
– Tom Waits-
– Tom Waits-
RDP Tuesday: DRAMA
When people find out I used to work in a funeral home, they will react in one of two ways.
Some people never ask questions. Ever.
Other people will ask me, ” so what’s the weirdest thing you have ever seen? ”
To bust the ice I will say, ” well, to be honest once I saw this corpse that looked exactly like you so I’m freaking out a little here. ”
” Really? ” they’ll ask.
” No. I’m just messing with you. But if you want to know this is the weirdest thing I ever saw-”
And I go from there:
We had this hard and fast rule that if you had to do a night removal you had to wait in your car for the second Funeral Director to show up before you went into the building to get the keys to the removal van and the necessary paperwork.
It was for security reasons.
At this time some people were lacing weed with embalming fluid because they are idiots and I guess some situations got bad and people got hurt when these thefts took place in Funeral Homes.
You were ok once you got into the building- but the walk in was where you were the most vulnerable so you had to wait for a second person to walk in with- and this applied to men and women.
One night I got in a little faster then normal because it had been snowing and there hadn’t been a lot of traffic during the day and less then usual at night. So I made myself comfortable, turned up the radio and waited for my co-worker.
I think I was singing along to Lita Ford when I sort of did that thing where you throw your head backwards and forwards and when I looked up I saw a dog sitting next to the door.
It wasn’t an average sized dog, it was a big dog- Saint Bernard sized and it was looking right at me.
I love dogs, all dogs and my first reaction was to open my door and call it over. It was a cold night and it was dark and I thought it might need help.
But my hands stayed on the steering wheel and when the dog got up and started to walk towards me I kept looking straight ahead. I couldn’t help myself. It was like someone was screaming at me to stay still and not move a muscle.
Not a single muscle.
It walked towards me and then it passed right under my window and I looked down and I saw the top of it’s massive skull, I could see the muscles rippling down along it’s shoulders and back.
It stopped and turned it’s head and I looked forward and tried to breathe-quietly.
I think it bumped against my jeep and I wondered what I would hear if I turned to the music down, but like I said something told me it would be a very bad idea if I moved.
It kept walking up the little road that leads to the old part of the cemetery where the old Caretaker’s Cottage ( we still called it that, but it was actually used for storage ) is and then it was gone.
When my co-worker showed up I tried to act calm and cool, but I didn’t feel calm and cool. I felt spooked.
Then I looked down and wondered how big the dog’s paw prints were and my eyes screamed to my brain, ” are you getting this? ”
There in the snow – that freshly fallen sparkling snow ,were tracks leading from the door, across the parking lot and passed my Jeep.
But I didn’t see paw prints.
I saw footprints- one after another leading up the little road to the Caretaker’s Cottage.
My friend asked me how it was going .
I struggled for a minute.
I tried to smile, I tried to sneeze in the hopes I would get some air into my lungs, I wanted to point to the tracks but instead I slammed my car door shut and I made a joke about building snow men.
As we made our way to the door, I walked in the footprints and mashed each one of them under my boots.
Wow, that’s a little weird you might be thinking.
But that’s not the weird part.
The next morning, before we opened for the day a person drove their car up into the old part of the cemetery, behind the Care Taker’s Cottage and ended their life.
” That’s a lonely place to end your life ” our receptionist said to me at lunch time on that same day.
I felt a cool breath on the back of my neck and it chilled me to the bone.
” Yea ” I said. “sure it is. ”