Day 5-PM: The Shock Begins To Wear Off
…I stared at the mauled and lifeless body of Cousin Sid, on the embalming room floor. My innards twisted with a sickly feeling that paralyzed me. I felt like my feet were glued to the floor. Stunned, I struggled to understand it all. Suddenly, the door to the prep room swung open and in walked the Boss. Mr. Becker’s face brightened when he noticed the mouse. “Well, what’s THIS?” CJ went on to say that the cat dragged it in. “Good. Very good! About time Chester did a little something around here to earn his keep!” Mr. B stooped to pick up Sid. He snatched him up by the tail and flung Sid into the trash receptacle, before making his way to the sink to wash his hands. “Filthy thing!”
The cat was licking his paws and running them over his face, pausing to look up, with that smirky smug look he gets when he knows he has done his job well. The cat turned his gaze to the crack, through which I had been watching things. I saw him curl his lips into an arrogant bow, as if he were mouthing, “Look out mouse! You’re NEXT!” CJ busied herself with the work on Mrs. McDermott, securing the dentures and the closure of her mouth. Next, she placed the protective eye caps, carefully reclosed the lids and adjusted features until all were in the form of a natural and pleasant expression. “CJ make sure you have those traps set tonight. Oh, and make sure Mrs. McDermott gets a good injection; we are going to have her for a while. Her family is out of the country on a vacation.” CJ’s brow bunched up, but she did not comment. With her scalpel, she made her incision, affixed the artery, tied off the vein, positioned the body, and stepped to the end of the table. Modern times allow folks to put off Grandma’s eternal repose until a more convenient time. After all, she is dead, right?
“Right, sir. Oh, sir, did you need me to work the rosary this evening?” She began to fill the embalming machine tank with water, reaching to select from the cabinet the chemicals she would need. Mr. Becker answered, “I’ll have to see. May have you run one to the airport if Bill can’t do it. So get Mr. Todd packed up when you finish up here.” He began to exit when he stepped on Chester’s tail, provoking a yowl as he sprang to his feet. “Damn that cat! He shouldn’t even be in here!” With that, Mr. B opened the door, punting the cat’s ample behind with his foot, which sent the despicable fur-ball into a hasty flight up the stairs and out into the parlor. An evil joy came over me briefly as the door shut.
I should have been there to greet Cousin Sid. Because of me, Sid was dead. There would be no happy visit. There would be no catching up, no news, no glory days.
I went to my nest, feeling very low and full of self-loathing. I felt such guilt, such shame. As I curl up, a small tear begins to flow over my nose. I wondered then, what purpose or value do I have, in the scheme of things here in God’s creation?