Chapter 10: changes are afoot
The first changes were simple things, such as the lovely flowers sent by mourning relatives and friends were resold to the next funeral after they were rearranged a little. The next thing was starting down the road of the gruesome. People, who were scheduled to be cremated, went through a regular service. Then instead of going to the crematorium they were rerouted to the Taggart farm to be buried.
These two ventures would net the couple thousands of dollars. The Taggarts had bought a farm on the outskirts of town. That’s where Fletcher and Kate had been living prior to their death. Frank and Jean moved in shortly after the funerals.
The changes, however, did not end there. Embalmers use formaldehyde, aldehydes, alcohol, lanolin and phencyclidine to prepare the body for burial.
The drug pushers of the day would pay good money for embalming fluid. They would soak their marijuana in it. When dried and smoked it gave an extra special kick, a new kind of high to the user. Then there were the producers of the drug known as PCP. The chemical known as phencyclidine used in embalming was also used in the manufacture of PCP.
The funeral home could acquire larger than normal quantities of the chemical and then sell it to the makers of the illegal drug.
Jean also had a macabre use for dead bodies. Jean, and her friends had a secret. They loved to party with the dead bodies. Sometimes doing strange and unthinkable things to them and with them.
The two siblings had a profitable enterprise going. As long as they didn’t get greedy and didn’t take unnecessary chances they could milk this out for years.
Frank had to appear to be the straight funeral parlour type. He was the sales person, the one that dealt with the customers and directed the sales. It was of utmost importance that he at least appear to be his father’s son. He had the act down pat. He dressed in his funeral director suit and said and did all the right things.
Jean on the other hand could dress and look any way she wanted to within reason. She did have duties during the funeral services. She had to wear a trench coat and drive the hearse. She also had to act as a pallbearer when the need arose. This was in addition to her accounting duties.
Jean’s one ambition was to be an embalmer, for obvious reasons. She trained under her father. First starting out applying make-up to clients as they were called. Before long she was a qualified embalmer certified by the province. Working with the dead didn’t bother her in fact she loved it. Dead bodies couldn’t tell her what to do. Handling the accounting duties was her father’s wish for her. She reluctantly assumed this role. She would only do embalming when the need arose.
Frank was also a qualified embalmer, having been trained by his dad as well. Frank showed no concern for the dead. He didn’t care how they died or who they were. The dead were the dead. He did take pride in getting them ready for their families. He had to be careful now that he was watering down the embalming fluid. The cheapest thing he could find to replace the missing fluid was motor oil, ten-w-thirty to be exact.
The Taggarts had built a thriving business, and had been well respected in the community. When they had both died in the car crash, it was a shock to their two children. They hadn’t thought much about taking over the business. Fate had thrust them into the situation they now found themselves in.
Along with the funeral home, the Taggarts owned the small farm outside of town. It was a retreat they had bought once the business was declared a success. It was fifty acres and had a beautiful old farmhouse.
Frank had an idea of saving money for the funeral home. Instead of incurring the cost of the cremation furnace, they would simply bring the bodies out to the farm and bury them there. To prepare for that Frank took the backhoe tractor and dug a one hundred foot long pit. The pit was about five feet deep and three feet wide.
Two years went by, and business couldn’t have been better. Jean and Frank were well respected in the community having picked up where their parents had left off. The company had processed hundreds of clients. They all lay buried on the Taggart farm. Business was so good another pit would have to be dug.