Saturday, July 25, 2015

Randy #2


Randy walked into the Strang Line Funeral Home, it always weirded him out how homey funeral homes were. Strang Line was actually in a home, an old Victorian built in the early 1900s saved from demolition in 1985 when the funeral home bought it. Randy stood in the foyer for a couple minutes then noticed a sign above a button that read “Press button for service.” He pressed the button and waited a couple more seconds.

“I will be right up,” a voice answered.

From the basement, Brian emerged, in a suit and tie. “Brian?” Randy asked. “You work here?”

“I thought you knew. I went to school to be a mortician and funeral director,” Brian explained. “I’m the only one here right now. How can I help you?”

“Dad and Erin sent me here to see if I wanted to add to anything to Mom’s service. Do you know what they requested for her?” Randy asked.

“Come into the office and we can look that up,” Brian motioned for Randy to follow him and they went into an office. Brian flipped through some files on the desk and found the paperwork for Sally Brubaker. “Ooh, good choices. The gold-trimmed walnut-mahogany casket, It’s in our showroom if you’d want to see it. She will be buried with this jewelry,” he held up a baggie with her wedding ring, pinky ring, a cross necklace and earrings that Randy had given her after selling his book. “The clothes she will be put in are downstairs.”

“Were you working on her?” Randy asked.


“Can I see her?”

“No. You’ll see her tomorrow.”

“Why can’t I see her?”

“It’s illegal and only authorized people can be downstairs and that’s limited to the five people who work here.”

“How come I didn’t know you were a mortician? Actually, how come I didn’t know you wanted to be a mortician?”

“I’ve always had respect for the dead and I wanted to help people,” Brian shrugged. “It was a good career move because people like me will always be needed.”

“So everyday you work on dead bodies, cutting them open, removing organs, embalming?”

“So what are you working on?”

“Absolutely nothing. Well, I have 1,600 pages of complete bullshit on a flash drive right now and a publisher breathing down my neck threatening to revoke my advance,” Randy said.

“Who would’ve thought that writing would be hard when you aren’t stealing a life,” Brian said.

“I know,” Randy jokingly agreed. “How is Becky?”

“Becky? I haven’t seen Becky in years. We broke up after college.”

“What? But you were high school sweethearts, you got engaged senior year. What happened?”

“I don’t know. She said that the reason was that she had thought that she would never do better than dating me. Her words,” Brian said.

“I can’t believe you broke up. Do you know what she’s doing now?”

“Eh, she’s been dating around, I can see some of her profile online since she and Jess and Chrissy are friends. I miss her art.”

“Her art sucked, Brian. Everything looked like something out of a Tim Burton movie,” Randy said. “Are you seeing anyone? Been sowing your oats?”

“What about you? You seeing anyone?”

“No, he broke up with me the day my Mom died. He didn’t know that she was dead so it’s okay. We’d been together for three years and I guess he...we...weren’t feeling it anymore.”

“I’m not seeing anyone,” Brian answered. “I haven’t seen anyone since Becky so I’ve been focusing on my work.”

“You’ve been single for six years? You haven’t had sex in six years?”

“That’s kind of personal, Randy,” Brian said.

“We were best friends, Brian. We used to tell each other everything. It was your description of going down on Becky that I’m pretty sure turned me gay.”

“I’ve only been with one girl since Becky and me broke up. It wasn’t serious, we just both needed something a bit different,” Brian explained.

“Who was it with? Do I know her?”

“It was with Erin.”

“My sister?”

Brian nodded.

“Why my sister?”

“It was shortly after Aiden was born and Jeff had abandoned her. She had been working twelve hour shifts and then caring for Aiden the other twelve hours. She needed something to calm her down,” Brian said.

Randy sighed. “I didn’t think it was possible to become even more gay,” he said. “Erin never told me. Did you guys date or what?”

“No, we just slept together. We had sex three times over the course of two months. Had we had sex a fourth time, I would’ve asked her out but she started seeing someone else so she didn’t need me anymore.”

“Remember what we used to do back in high school?”

“Oh, God, why? We can’t do that, Randy. We’re in our late-20s.”

“After the funeral, we’re going to do it,” Randy said.

“It’s so juvenile, I’m not going to do it.”

“You will and you will love it.”

“Nathan? What are you doing here?” Jess asked as Nathan approached the playground at the daycare center where she worked.

“Picking up my niece, Sammy,” Nathan said as he pointed to a little girl. “Heather has to stay late at work so she asked me if I could pick her up.”

“I didn’t know Sammy was your niece,” Jess said. “Are you close with her?”

“I see her a couple times a month.”

“Hi, Uncle Nathan,” Sammy said, coming over to Jess and Nathan.

“Hey, Sammy,” Nathan kneeled down and rubbed her hair. “Ready to go?”


“I’ll see you tomorrow, Sammy,” Jess said.

“See you tomorrow, Miss Jess,” Sammy smiled and waved.

“Hey, Jess?” Nathan stopped and turned to Jess.

“What is it, Nathan?”

He was silent for a few seconds. She was starting to get confused so he had to say something. “You’ll be at the funeral, right?”

“Of course.”

“Okay. I’ll see you then,” he said. He sighed as he helped Sammy into a car seat. “That is not what I wanted to ask her.”