Group 30 - Comedy / A morgue / A permanent marker
It is Friday afternoon, and it is a time for mourning.
We all kinda figured his wife would kill him eventually, but Dad seemed to be OK with the possibilities and the dangers of marrying Mia.
He met Mia in the basement of a funeral home, the same funeral home Jeff and I were driving to, at this moment, contemplating how long, or short, is acceptable to stay parked at a drive-thru funeral viewing window.
Jeff hadn’t really planned on attending the viewing, it was just kinda something I sprung on him. Friday afternoon as we carpooled home from the office - like we do most days, he drives half the time I drive the other half, sometimes other office members are involved – I took a turn on Grant St. and pointed the car toward the Saving Grace Funeral Home.
“Where you going,” Jeff inquired.
“I wanna grab a beer,” I said.
I pulled into a small, hole-in-the-wall tavern along Grant and we hopped out. This spot had a semi-sexy bar maid and we never stayed too long because Jeff got angry at the video poker machine and threatened to burn the tavern down after 30 minutes or so of playing, so we always got some beers to go and headed out, before the cops got called. Today was no different.
“Who in the Hell made this machine?” Jeff yelled. “This sure as Hell ain’t no machine made in the U.S. of A.”
That was my cue to settle up the tab and ask for a case of Bud to go.
I coaxed Jeff away from the evil, communist, fascist, socialist, money sucking, capitalist, contraption and we got back in the car. Jeff was a bit tipsy. I had only had a beer so I was OK to drive and felt enough liquid courage to attend the viewing, so we pulled out of the tavern and headed toward Saving Grace again.
There were at least a dozen cars lined up in the funeral home drive-thru viewing window lane. I cursed softly to myself, at this wonderful new drive-thru option now available at funeral homes to let mobility impaired individuals, people with oxygen tanks to lug around, people who can’t sit without help, people who get tired quickly, people who value a speedy viewing service, people who don’t have proper apparel for a funeral viewing, people who are afraid of public settings, people who are convinced ghosts are in funeral homes, people who are afraid of Gremlins waiting in hidden places in every room, people who worry the government will implant chips in their head if they are in the open too long, and sons who don’t care that much for their fathers and just want to drive-by the viewing to fulfill requirements for inheritance money.
Jeff leaned over from the passenger seat and pressed the horn on the steering wheel on my car. It let out a loud burping squeal that shattered the silence of all the mourners in the line.
“Dammit Jeff,” I screamed. “We are at a funeral.”
“Oh shit, who died,” Jeff asked, meekly, confused and trying to overpower the alcohol in his system.
“I didn’t know you had a Dad.”
“Shut up Jeff, open up that case of Bud and hand me one,” I said.
Jeff opened the case and handed me a can of Bud. Jeff began to drink his own beer. I recalled my Dad teaching me to drink and drive. He was so good at it. Music floated from a speaker above the drive-thru window.
We kept drinking and Jeff pulled a black permanent marker from the glove box and started doodling on the beer case, then started getting pissy, saying he was tired of waiting. I was getting drunk now, so I yelled back at him. We had the windows down and were cursing at a full ‘reality’ show level waiting in the drive-thru viewing line, ready to punch each other, just then the car in front of us drove off and I lurched our car forward.
The curtains on the viewing window opened as we pulled up, and I saw my dad.
I noticed the funeral home gave him a new fake eye for the funeral. It looked like a shiny hard marble. He had always used some squishy thing as his fake eye, like part of a potato or a squishy ping pong type ball, or he wore a patch, cause he knew Mia was just gonna stab him in the eye again anyway. Dad had come to Saving Grace Funeral Home to identify Mom, after she had left him and had died without telling him. Mia was a Saving Grace employee, in the morgue on her day off, stabbing dead bodies in the eyes. She was working on a new eye stabbing routine for the circus. The circus had become so bland and didn’t have any edge or bite anymore, she wanted to develop a new-agey extreme circus, like the ESPN X-Games of circuses, and was working on eye stabbing techniques for gross out horror, slight-of-eye, magic acts and such.
Mia stabbed Dad’s eye out on their one-year anniversary, and he started his fake eye/eye patch routine. The new-agey circus ideas Mia had didn’t really go past eye stabbing. She killed Dad after one of the eye stabbings caused a brain infection or somesuch.
Bette Midler “Wind Beneath My Wings” was playing over the speaker, Jeff threw an empty Bud at me, I pressed the gas, we sideswiped a parked car and ran into a tree. Jeff was laughing hysterically as the cops arrived to arrest me. As they handcuffed me he drew a smiley face on my cheek and started to walk home.
The cops took pictures of the accident scene and arrested me on various drunken and motor vehicle violations, giving me proof that I had, indeed, attended the viewing for 30 seconds.