Saturday, 21 May 2016

Formalde-hides All Manners of Sin by Naomi Elana Zener

It was 3:30a.m. Gus, the driver, backed the car into the loading dock very slowly so as not to hit it again. Eight out of ten times when driving, the hearse’s bumper would kiss the cold, dead concrete of the loading dock. At least the bodies were never worse for wear from the impact. Especially this particular corpse—a multiple gunshot wound victim who was shot in the chest, causing her breast implants to deflate upon impact. The driver chuckled at the thought of the morticians working their magic to make those twins perky for the woman’s open casket funeral.

The morticians were no amateurs—they’d seen it all. Gun shot wounds. Stab wounds. Burns. Acid attacks. Even one came in partially skinned Silence of the Lambs-style.  Then there was the breast implants, buttock implants, chin implants, penis implants, Botox, Restalyne, and cement fillers from board certified non-plastic surgeon, non-MD bullshit artists,   Formaldehyde helped, but ugly could only be made so pretty for one last makeover before these dead people travelled to their final resting places.

Gus honked the horn, signaling the morticians that the body was getting cold. It would get colder, especially once it was buried six feet under—the morticians were in no hurry. It had been a busy day and night, twenty-six meth heads came in after holding a contest to see who could snort more methamphetamine in three minutes without overdosing. Clearly, none of them had won. Gus honked the horn again, this time with more gusto.

“Alright, alright, we’re coming,” Mortie, one of the morticians shouted. He hated the joke that he knew was coming.

“Yo, Mortie the Mortician. Your parents named you well,” Gus laughed. Mortie deadpanned, not helping Gus with the punch line of the joke he’d heard night after night, almost hourly in fact, with each delivery Gus had made for the past four years. “How they knew you’d become a morgue makeup artist is beyond me. They’re geniuses.”

“They’re dead. Unlock the trunk,” Mortie retorted. He leaned forward into the rump of the hearse to slide the temporary metal casket out of the car. “Hey Jackson, we’ve got a live one here.”

Jackson, too, had grown tired of Gus’ singular, repetitive joke he’d heard over the past decade of working together. He stopped at the loading dock doors for a few beats for Gus’ self-congratulatory chuckle had subsided before going over to help him with the casket. The two men lifted the metal box on a gurney, without any help from Gus, who busied himself with smoking his joint. It helped him work as the driver for the dead.

“So, this one is the empty fun bags?” Jackson asked Gus. Gus nodded his head.

“How bad are they?” Mortie asked. “Did you get a peak at the hospital before you left?”

Gus nodded his head again. “Ever see balloons full of helium after the helium left the building?” It was Mortie and Jackson’s turn to nod their heads. “Well, sorta like that. Wrinkled, shriveled, never to be stretched out again. Good luck!”

Mortie signed the paperwork Gus shoved at him. Jackson wheeled the body inside to get started on coming up with a plan to turn her deflated mammaries into mountains once more.

“So, what are we going to do to get these babies to rise again?” Mortie asked. “Got any yeast lying around?”

“Not in here. From the looks of her clothes, I’m guessing our lady of the night friend here may have some in her vajayjay,” Jackson retorted.

“That’s vile and chauvinist. How’d you know she didn’t come from a costume party?”

“I checked her purse. Full of condoms and penicillin.”

Mortie started rummaging through the cupboards, looking for something to use. Even once they’d stitched up all of the bullet holes in her breasts, even if they pumped in enough formaldehyde to perk up her breasts, the fluid would still leak out. Stitches didn’t take to skin where rigor mortis had set in. No, they needed something more that they could pump into her breasts that would act like filler without oozing out. The living were awkward around dead bodies enough as it was, adding discharge to the mix would, especially at a dead hooker’s funeral send people running for the hills, and then to their family doctors.

“Putty?” Jackson suggested.

“Nope, can’t pump it in.”






“We need something that will reverse sublimated—that will turn into a solid, but start off as a liquid.”


“We can’t use heat. Her skin would fry, and no one wants to smell that tomorrow.”

Mortie and Jackson sat scratching their heads. They ran through a litany of options, each one nixed for being too difficult to handle, too lifeless, too rigid, and even too toxic.

“Wait, I’ve got it. Glue. We can use glue,” Mortie suggested. “It can be pumped in, and then, as it dries without heating, it will turn solid and help the breasts keep their shape. We just have to pump enough air into the tires, so to speak, to get her bosom back into it’s plastic surgically altered state. And, since any leaks will dry, the only weeping will be the tears of the mourners.”

“That’s all well and good, but won’t we have a problem with her clothes sticking gracelessly to her breasts?”

Mortie looked at Jackson as if he’d been sniffing glue.

“Gracefulness is not something we need to worry about. I’m sure the bereaved in attendance were accustomed to seeing this broad without clothes. For a change, they’ll be so happy to see her dressed in something that wouldn’t make Jesus blush, they’ll overlook and forgive us if the silk of her blouse is glued to her nipples. Now, let’s get to work. Just like it was for this lady every night, we’ve got a long night of pumping ahead of us.”

© 2016. Naomi Elana Zener. All Rights Reserved.