Episode 30: The Potato Chip Mogul
When CJ was away, attending mortuary college, she had been blessed to find a position inside a rather infamous group of mortuaries in the big city. She worked in a large service center for a conglomerate— inside this service center were many, many people, all deceased, who needed preparation for burial (or cremation). Since the service center served more than a dozen facilities, it was a bustling beehive of activity, in two shifts each day. CJ attended classes in the morning and afternoons so she worked alone at night in this mid-city place.
She was just beginning her shift one evening
, which was just after ordinary close of the office, when she received a call from one of the mortuary executives. Apparently, there would be a delivery that evening of a V.I.P. and she was instructed to handle the embalming of said v.i.p. immediately upon his arrival. Now, you must understand that the rules and strict policy of this service center dictated that all paperwork, especially a signed authorization for embalming, MUST be forwarded to the service center or there would be NO prep work, period. That also happened to be the law. But mind you, the exec calling for this job was habitual in his ordering of work BEFORE the paperwork was sent. Therefore, the rest of the prep room personnel typically blew the guy off and ignored any requests he would make to do work without papers.
CJ knew he was good for his word…he ALWAYS was. But, she knew he was ‘old-school’ in that he didn’t exactly follow the rules, by the book. She also felt, that because his name was on the sign out front, that she could rely on his word. So when he called that night, she automatically agreed to do as he asked, because she knew the papers were a formality that would be cleared by morning.
Later, as she worked on this still warm body, she secretly rejoiced that she had an opportunity to ‘knock one out of the park’ by delivering to the exec a very well-done body, perfectly preserved and looking so well for his v.i.p. funeral coming within the next few days. What she didn’t know about the v.i.p. is that he would be a particularly well-loved, highly reputed man within this huge metropolis…a special businessman of great fame and fortune. Furthermore, he was nearly considered a living saint in his inner circles; he was a prime benefactor for a nearby university. He’d spent much of his life working to champion educational causes and worthy scholarship opportunities for underprivileged but promising youths of high intellectual quality. Those students he would help would go on to do great and noble things with this higher learning opportunity, thanks to his tireless efforts.
After the v.i.p. had been laid to rest on an afternoon later that week, CJ received a special visit from the exec in charge of the potato chip magnate’s arrangements — the exec came down to the prep room to very ‘publicly’ laud CJ’s efforts in making the man look so good. The exec thanked her so much for her beautiful work to make the v.i.p. look so good for thousands of mourners to view. The rest of the staff took notice. They began to whisper and snicker, right in front of the exec, as he was well aware that they purposefully ignored his instructions all the time. He turned to tell them of the 10,000+ people who came to view this magnate, and the beautiful compliments that came afterward. He proceeded to tell the story of the v.i.p. and the very important accomplishments and contributions the man had made in this huge city. The college stadium was filled with mourners, he told the room. The snickers stopped. Looks of envy were falling across the faces of her more experienced peers. How they wished they could be the ones spoken of so highly. CJ had been the low man on the totem pole — until now. But she had worked hard to earn this praise. Earned it she had, and there was certainly no shame in that.
©C. S. Thompson, 2015.