The Flower Room

RDP Friday: ROSE

At my last job, we had a ‘flower room’.

That’s the room where we kept flowers before we set them out for the Funerals.

I buried the lead, sorry.

I worked in a funeral home and we had room where we kept the flowers.

Because the room was windowless and fed non stop by a state of the art air conditioning unit, it was cool. It was also the room you went through to get to the embalming room.

The door  to the flower room was never open for very long.

I’m sure you understand why.

Artist: Henri Fantin-Latour

So this is what happened after being around the heavy scent of flowers.

Every time I am around flowers- like if I’m in a garden center , or in the flower section at the grocery store or someone is wearing perfume and the high notes are floral, I have about 5 seconds to enjoy the smell before it’s chased away by the  memory of the scent of a freshly embalmed body.

The memory passes as quickly as it happens, but after all of these years it still does happen,

But it’s also a reminder- roses and lilies and other flowers most certainly do  represent love and life and beauty and who does not want a bunch of those bad boys showing up on your doorstep on Valentines Day with a little gift on the side?

Sadly, in my case,  the scent of roses is tinged with a sad reminder about life and how frail it really is.

I still love flowers- I just wish their scent stayed with me a little longer before I am reminded that it is all very, tragically, temporary.

Knee High By The Fourth of July

RDP Thursday – Farm

“That corpse you planted last year in your garden,
‘Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?”
T.S. Eliot

When you write tales of the macabre, when your interests involve forensics, when you are fascinated by the terrible things people do to each other because it’s not the act but the justification that actually captures your imagination then in your research and travels and the strange places to learn about these things,  you end up meeting some unique people and you are bound to learn about places like The Body Farm.

The Body farm is a place where corpses are planted and set out in various stages of being and they are left there to let nature takes it’s course and while nature and the corpse are working together to return the body to the Earth people who study forensic science study them.

It doesn’t smell great, bugs are involved and what was once inside of us finds a way to briefly, to have  their  moment in the Sun.

Odd imagery aside- Body Farms are important places of learning and study; they’re not amusement parks.

Body Farms, like morgues and embalming rooms are sad places and they are lonely places but in the end, one corpse is willing to go through this experience to help the living understand what has happened to another corpse under much more tragic circumstances.

Noble as that is, it doesn’t make their situation any less sad or any less lonely and unlike their brothers and sisters, sleeping in cemeteries under neatly trimmed lawns and their resting places marked by tombstones and flowers- for a brief time the corpses at the Body Farms have some unglamorous  work to do.

 After their work is done, they are taken away to meet their  new neighbors in  their quiet gated community with the flowers and the green grass and shady trees  where they are free to  join them  in their  interrupted slumber.

But in the end, I think we can agree, it is a very well deserved rest.




Upon Reflection

Inspired by the Soul Food Café Prompt: Mirror Mirror on the Wall

The mirror, the only mirror I will allow in my house

is on the floor, next to the basement door that I keep locked

with a skeleton key.

I threaten that mirror

on a daily basis

about the trip, the one way trip

to the basement that I will send it on unless it says what I want to hear.

” Do we feel chatty today?” I asked it very late last night, or maybe it was very early this morning. At any rate it was dark outside. And the mirror had been silent for many years now.

” A little ” it said in a voice that reminded me of crackling ice.

” Good. So shall we try this again?” I asked as I crouched down towards the floor. ” Tell me mirror, what do you see? Do you see beauty? Do you see a face that could launch a thousand ships or do you see a terror of flesh layered with clumsy hands on crooked and broken bones. What do you see Mirror?”

” I see my face you evil witch, and I want it back!” the Mirror crackled and spat in a rage. ” Give me back my face!”

” The face you hated? The one you scorned, the one you were about to take to the surgeon to carve up and remake? It suited me just fine, I promised to never hurt it. So with me it will stay. Unless that is, you’re up to making an apology and a promise.”

” Go to Hell.” was the reply.

I picked up the mirror and considered smashing it against the door- the one I keep locked with a skeleton key- but instead I turned it against the wall and said. ” Enjoy the view my faceless friend, we’ll chat again soon. Maybe.”

The Request

RDP Monday: BALM

Make me beautiful

make me feel alive again

put the roses back in my cheeks

make my hair shine

Polish my nails

put a smile on my lips

make me feel like…

make me look like…

myself again

said the corpse to the Funeral Director

for just one day.

Tea Time

“Have you ever wondered what it would be like

to bake a batch of poisoned cupcakes” I asked my friend- not because I was interested in baking poisoned cupcakes but I was desperate to change the subject


if I had to hear her talk about her unnatural affection for her brother

and the story about how she slept with the man she felt was responsible for her other brother’s suicide one more time I was probably going to skip the cupcake part and drink the poison MYSELF


her story about her twisted desires was boring.

Her story was boring the first time I heard it and it was boring the half millionth time I heard it.

She wrote poems about her brothers, she bought artwork that reminded her of her brothers, she even had pictures of them next to her bed.

” No.” she said stopping her well worn tale midsentence. ” You know, this is a pretty important story from my life and what you said just now was totally non-supportive and not something a real friend would do.”

” I’m sorry. ” I said.

” What kind of thing to say is that? Poisoned cupcakes. Who would actually  bake and serve poisoned cupcakes?”

I shrugged as she picked a shortbread cookie off of my cookie tray and began to nibble at it.

” An idiot” I said after some careful thought.  Cupcakes take forever to prepare. Cookies though…” I said. ” I can mix and bake and fill and cut those things out like-”

She dropped the cookie back on the tray and our afternoon tea ended.

At last.