- After transferring the deceased to a cot and wrapping them in plastic, we place a rose on the now-vacant bed.
The first dead body I ever saw was that of a 15-year-old street kid with shoulder-length brown hair and a battered blue body. He was curled up like a fetus and in a white plastic bag. It's the same bag we put everyone in before we stick them in the cooler along with the others. The cooler is a bit like a triple-tiered dorm room, except it's coed and everybody in there is dead.
I didn't intend to work for a funeral home, didn't even think of it as a possibility, but my bank account balance was sinking and rent was just about due. Had it not been for the 300-pound man in my sambo class, it never would have happened. Sambo is a Soviet-era martial art that stresses throwing and grappling; it ends when the sambist has successfully pinned their opponent to the mat, or some other form of submission. Only after I had been thrown through the air and pinned by the 300-pound man did he offer me a job.
This happened on a Wednesday around 7 p.m. I had driven my old Volvo up to Lake City to get in some grappling practice early. I don't compete or anything, but I like the way the exercise keeps my head outside of itself. I had just been having a conversation with my coach about needing a job and not wanting to work in movie theaters anymore.
"You got a suit?" the 300-pound man butted in.
"Me? Yeah, I've got a suit."
"You want to pick up dead bodies for a living?"
"Sure," I said.
A urine test later, I was interviewing for the position with the office manager. A week after that, I was officially an employee of the booming death business…