Chapter 12: The funeral
There was one more full day of viewing before the service. After the service, the funeral parlor was always entrusted with proper disposition of the bodies. They transport the remains to the Taggart crematorium to be cremated. Then the ashes are placed in an urn and delivered to the families. At least that’s how it’s supposed to be done.
That night after the viewing was over, Jean stayed downstairs with her friends. She was armed with the bottle of scotch and a glass with lots of ice.
Before too long Jean was in full conversation with her friends. She told them how their families requested cremation. They were not happy with that.
“Boy they really do want to get rid of us and erase our memory.” Whimpered Petra.
“You know I really never thought about my death before. I was so young and thought I was going to live forever. But here we are.” Stated Mohammed.
“I know what you mean, I never thought about when I was going to die, It seemed so far off I really didn’t want to worry about it.” Said Andre.
“Don’t worry guys your bodies won’t be cremated.” Said Jean.
“What do you mean?” Asked Petra
“We don’t cremate our clients. It’s a scam my brother has been doing since my parents passed away. Instead of cremating the bodies he has been burying them in a large grave at the family farm.” Explained Jean.
“What the hell Jean, he’s a thief!” Exclaimed Stefan.
“So now we are going to be put in the middle of nowhere and never get any visits from our families!” Yelled Mohammed.
“That son of a bitch. If he does that to us Jean I’ll never forgive you! The two of you will pay dearly if you allow that shithead to do that to us. We have learned a few things about life and death since this has happened to us! ” Yelled Petra.
“Wait let me talk to him there’s got to be something I can do. I’m against him doing this to you guys. I love you guys (sobbing) like really.” Jean said as she broke down in tears.
Jean was so upset she couldn’t talk to them any more. Besides they were really pissed. Jean went up to her room and started drinking until she fell into an alcohol induced sleep. That night she had a recurring nightmare. She was at the edge of a cliff and someone was standing behind her then pushed her off. It was a very long way down and seemed to have no bottom, and then she wakes up
The next morning Jean refused to get out of bed. She was always fairly punctual so when Frank showed up for work he was concerned about her not being ready to work. Frank pounded on Jean’s bedroom door and told her to get her lazy ass out of bed. This prompted Jean to tell him where to go and leave her alone.
Frank went downstairs and prepared the four bodies for their final day of viewing. The caskets were wheeled into their respective viewing parlors and were ready for visitors. While wheeling Andre into his viewing parlor, Frank could have sworn something bit him on the neck. If he only knew that Andre had tried to smack him in the head, but all he got out of it was something resembling a mosquito bite.
Jean finally got up. She was hung-over and had a hell of a headache. She got dressed and decided to view her friends before the public viewing. So many people showed up the first day of viewing that the families decided to extend the viewing for one more day. That would put the funeral service at 11:00 Am on Wednesday morning.
While Jean visited her friends she tried to talk to them. They said nothing they ignored her. She begged them not to be angry. They remained mute.
After the viewing was over Jean helped Frank to put the caskets back in the cooler in the basement. Jean pleaded with Frank not to put her friends in the pit on the farm.
“We have to Jean. All the other families were told that we used a crematorium in Orangeville instead of the Taggart crematorium. If someone gets suspicious we could be in a lot of trouble.” Explained Frank.
“We should never have started that Frank!” Jean yelled.
“Look just keep your mouth shut or we’ll both end up in jail.” Frank said sternly.
Jean stayed downstairs again with her friends after the parlor was locked up and Frank had left for the day. She tried to talk to her friends to no avail. They were not saying a word. Jean tried for an hour to get them to talk to her. It was no use, the worst thing Jean did was telling her friends about the dirty little scheme she and Frank had going. Finally Jean gave up and headed for the door of the cooler. She had no sooner closed the door than she heard several voices in unison saying
“You were warned.”
Jean didn’t bother going back inside the cooler. Instead she opted to go to her room and have a drink.
The next day Jean was up early and for once not hung-over. She helped Frank wheel the caskets into their respective rooms for the final viewing. The families had agreed upon having one service for all four victims.
Hundreds showed up for the service and the local press covered it as well. During the service Jean was standing to one side of the caskets. While the minister was delivering his sermon, Jean could hear voices. They were faint but she could hear them. She looked around to see if anyone else reacted to it, no one did. Then the voices got louder
“We warned you Jean, we warned you!”
“Don’t do this to us Jean!”
Jean was frantic. She had to get away from the voices. She walked slowly to the doorway and then went upstairs to her room. Frank saw her acting strangely and went after her. He caught up to her and ordered her downstairs. He told her
“After the service, and when every one has gone then you can fall apart”
Jean returned under duress, but fulfilled her duties. The bodies would now be loaded into a van by Frank and taken to the farm for burial.
Jean told Frank she had to get away for a few days or a week. This whole thing had been just too much for her. Frank agreed she needed a holiday, he suggested that she should take a last minute deal on an all-inclusive resort. He told her that she could spend what ever she wanted money was no issue. If Frank needed help there were several part time employees that could be called upon to help him.
That night Frank took the four bodies to the farm and buried them in the pit. He felt bad that Jean’s friends were being treated so disrespectfully. Frank had no other option but to continue the scam with the bodies.
For the next three weeks Frank continued on without Jean. The part time employees were working out just fine. Frank thought to himself that he liked working with the part-timers more than Jean. As far as he was concerned he hoped she met someone and didn’t come back.
He had been thinking for some time that maybe he should return to sending bodies for cremation rather than burying them in the pit.
It was getting too dangerous. His luck wouldn’t last forever.
Frank contacted a crematorium that they had originally done business with years ago and told them he would be sending them business. They were more than happy to oblige.
Jean was distraught. She had agreed with Frank that she had to get away. She hadn’t taken an extensive holiday away from home, so now was a perfect opportunity to do just that.
An all inclusive holiday last minute package was available on the Internet. The hotel was a five star resort in Aruba. Jean had heard good things about Aruba. It was April now, which meant that the resort would be winding down from its busy season. March was always the busiest season of the year for resort operators. People from North America liked to get away with their children during the school break in March. Jean was just looking for warm weather and a secluded beach where she could put things in perspective.
Jean barely felt the plane’s wheels touch the ground as it landed on the runway in Aruba. The sun was shinning unlike the rain she left behind in Ontario. Before long Jean was enjoying her first Mai Tai while enjoying the mild breeze coming off the sea.
It had taken about two hours for the trip from the airport to the hotel and to get through the check in process. Jean had dropped all her belongings off in her room only staying there long enough to crawl into her bikini.