Sharing rooms with a corpse isn’t as bad as some may think. True, they’re poor conversationalists. But they’re unparalleled listeners.
Tim moved in with me a few days ago. I’m really glad he did, too; things were starting to get a bit lonely. We met while I was a mortician, you see. It wasn’t a bad job. Not much advancement opportunity, but it was steady work. I easily supported my family on my salary. That’s them in that picture over there. See? There’s my lovely wife and amazing son, Eric.
I met my wife while we were both in college. We fell into the kind of love that was sickly sweet and so very embarrassing to look at. The beginning was full of awkward conversations and careful feeling of each other’s likes and boundaries. Over time we became more comfortable and confident with each other. We were married two years after we met, and we had little Eric not long after that.
He always loved to go with me to work when he was out of school for the weekend and during summer break. Strange, I know, to take a little kid with me to a funeral home but I guess all little boys like to see where their dad works. He kept me company while I made the bodies something that somebody could stand to look at in an open casket. Oh no, he never got anywhere near them; I made sure of that. I didn’t want him to learn about death just yet. He mostly brought flowers in when they were delivered and little things like that. All of my coworkers loved to see him around; he was the kind of kid that made everybody’s day that much brighter.
Last winter, though, Eric got sick. It kept getting progressively worse, no matter what any of the doctors did. He had to stop coming to work with me, and eventually he started to spend a lot of time in the hospital, but we got to take him home…at the end, you know. We had no trouble getting a nice little sunny space for him next to the funeral home.
My wife’s there too, now. After, well, everything that happened, she started to get quiet. Maybe I didn’t pay enough attention to her, or maybe I should have stayed home from work more often. I don’t know. I try not to think about it these days. Anyway, she’s next to little Eric now. We used to have family meals together on my lunch break, which was always nice.
I got bad for a while after…all that, though. I didn’t have any desire to do anything anymore; I just went from home to work and back again. I stopped talking to my coworkers and friends, and eventually they stopped trying to talk to me, too. Then I met Tim! He had come in to be made up for a viewing later in the week and we struck up a conversation. Well, I say “we”, but I did most of the talking. He put in a word here and there, where they were needed. It was actually nice to talk to someone again.
We developed a friendship really quickly. I learned that Tim had just lost his house, and his family was no longer talking to him, which was a shame; they don’t know the kind of guy they missed out on being with. I offered to let him stay at my house while he got back on his feet. I brought him home with me. That was three days ago and we haven’t looked back since!
I haven’t been back to work since then. I figured it was time for a change; maybe take a chance on doing something else. So Tim and I talked it over and I’ve started to collect newspapers to sell as antiques. Papers are starting to go out of print, what with the Internet being able to give you up-to-date news, so copies of the paper are going to start to be collector’s items. We’ll make a fortune!
In any case the things just kept piling up, so I thought that we should do something with them. That’s what Tim is doing over there on the couch; he’s sorting through all of the papers and arranging them by the date and company. I kind of let them get out of hand. Oh well, he’s pretty diligent about it. He’s there when I go to bed and still sitting in the same spot when I wake up.
That? Oh that’ll probably be the police again. They came by yesterday, too. They keep asking aboutTim, so maybe he’s in some kind of trouble. That’s okay, though. We just kept quiet and they went away. I can’t imagine that Tim would have done anything that he would need to talk to the police for; he’s such a nice guy.
In any case, I wedged the chair under the door. If they try to get in they won’t be able to. Maybe they’ll just go away this time, too. If they do, I’ll take Tim to meet my family.
I’m sure he’ll just love them!
Carl R. Jennings occupies a particular point in space and time located in Southwestern Virginia, United States. Apart from his writing (which makes him oodles and oodles of money) Carl R. Jennings spends his days drinking tea, pipe smoking, and working a normal-ish job.
Image by Adrian Clark