Nightlife in the House of the Dead: Notes from the Second Floor Gerald Stanley Author
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It is not easy living among the dead. Before they go in the ground, they spend some time in a funeral parlor and use the occasion to get you, if you are the Night Man, the guy who runs the place from 5:00 P.M. to 7:00 A.M. When they come at you, they are always smiling, unless their face was botched by the person who makes a living making them smile. They rarely move, while you’re watching. They hide their actions to fool the living, but not me. I was always on my guard. What a plush job, I thought, when I signed up. 1. Answer the phone, then call the boss to report who died and where. (But eventually, a call comes from a hysterical woman: “My husband just hung himself in the shower” and you’re thinking, “How did he do it? Was he a midget?”) 2. If there are any bodies downstairs, take the bereaved to them. (But, eventually, a daughter hugs her mother for the last time, and the coffin hits the floor and Mom rolls out, and you call the boss and say, real seriously, “There’s a problem in the Chapel…”) You can handle these—but not the dead when they come at you in a thousand ways…


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