EPISODE 16 — Trouble At The Car Wash
It was a hectic day at the mortuary, and of all days to be short of ‘livery’ men, this was the day. Mr. Becker needed to get the funeral coaches (hearses), family cars (limousines), and a flower van cleaned for the next day’s services, and there was no one in-house to handle it. Therefore, after lunch, CJ and Mr. B tackled the problem by driving the various vehicles over to the full-service car wash, just a few blocks away.
Mr. Becker phoned ahead to the place to let them know that there were going to be several cars in need of their services; he wanted to be sure they could get them all done. CJ, Mr. B, and a couple of the people from the business offices ferried the vehicles over to the car wash. Another staffer followed to pick up the drivers and bring them back to the mortuary. When the cars were ready, they would return.
A couple of hours later, the phone rang. It was somebody down at the car wash. Seems there was a problem — one of the workers had accidentally locked the keys in the Cadillac hearse. Could we send somebody down with an extra set? So, Mr. B called down to the prep room, where CJ was busy dressing and casketing bodies.
CJ came upstairs to see Mr. B. “CJ, I need you to drive a set of keys over to the car wash. They just called here and said something happened to the keys for one of the coaches, I didn’t get all the details…” Mr. B managed to hide a grin as he handed the keys to her.
CJ looked puzzled. “Did they lose the keys?” She really couldn’t think of any other reason to need an extra set. Funny thing about the funeral coaches: it is considered an impossibility to actually lock the keys in the car. “Oh well, no worries, sir. I’ll take care of it right now.” Then she took off for the car wash.
When she got there, CJ was flagged down by a teenaged kid standing beside the car in question. He explained that he was very sorry to be such a bother, but he had accidentally locked the car without taking the keys from the ignition. CJ smiled and said that really couldn’t be. The kid nervously pointed to the driver door window so she could see for herself. CJ looked. Yes, there were the keys dangling from the steering column. The kid also pointed out that all four doors were locked.
CJ stifled a giggle as she asked the kid about the big rear door. Had he thought of trying that door? She began to explain that the rear door has to be manually locked, with keys in hand.
The kid said, “Yes ma’am, I tried that door. I know it’s unlocked…” CJ looked him in the eye, not so amused, now. “Then why on earth did you need me to bring an extra set of keys down here? I am quite busy today and this is keeping me from my regular tasks!” She was obviously showing her annoyance at this point. The kid averted his eyes and looked down at his feet, fidgeting with a wet rag in his hands.
CJ went around and yanked on the rear door handle, opening the back of the car. She pointed at the empty cargo area, which is reserved for carrying caskets, and stated, “All you really needed to do was go in through here to get the keys!” The kid looked up at her with a serious expression on his face and said, in a boldly assertive tone, “I am sorry ma’am but there is NO WAY I would be going through THERE, to get keys or anything else!”
With that, CJ closed the compartment door, and walked back around to the driver side door. Now she was really trying hard not to laugh aloud as she took her spare key and unlocked the vehicle. As she turned to leave, she could hear the boy stammer, “Uh, thanks ma’am…really am sorry…”
She pulled into the mortuary driveway, went into Mr. B’s office, and closed the door behind herself. I could hear the two of them laughing for quite a few minutes, afterward. I thought to myself, with some amusement, it really is a strange world we live in. Moreover, people can be even stranger!