The Coffin Model, concluded

Happy Halloween, dear readers! Yesterday we learned about Frisky Funeral Home, and the family who owned it. We learned how Fiona Frisky turned the family business around by getting them into coffin sales. We also heard how Fiona’s twin sister Fedora, despite her awful nature, helped the family sell a lot of coffins by lying inside them as a model.

Alas, at the end of yesterday’s tale, I hinted at a tragedy that happened. Now I’m afraid I must tell you about it in full. One dreary fall day, Fiona noticed that a light bulb in the ceiling of the coffin showroom had burned out. She retrieved a stepladder from the back and set it up on the floor of the showroom, very near the coffin where her sister Fedora lay modeling.

Fedora was on her lunch break, but she was so lazy that she almost never left her coffin during her break. Instead, she kept her lunch carefully concealed amidst the frilly silk that lined the coffins. When lunchtime arrived, she closed the lid of her coffin and ate her lunch there in the dark. Often, she put in her earphones during lunch, too, and listened to music.

While Fedora munched on some cheese crackers inside her coffin, Fiona climbed the stepladder to replace the light bulb. From the top of the ladder, she had to stretch awkwardly to get her fingertips on the old bulb. Without realizing it, Fiona shifted her weight as she stretched her arm upwards. This caused the stepladder to tilt and then crash to the floor. Fiona landed on the hard tile floor a split second after the ladder did.

In her coffin with the lid closed and music blaring through her earphones, Fedora didn’t hear her sister fall. Fortunately, Mr. and Mrs. Frisky heard the accident from the office. They rushed out to the coffin showroom and found Fiona lying motionless. Immediately they called for an ambulance.

Then Mr. Frisky yanked open the lid to Fedora’s coffin and told her what had happened. Rather than being sympathetic and concerned about her sweet sister Fiona, Fedora reacted heartlessly. She refused to accompany her family to the hospital. She said she wanted to finish her day of modeling, and that she would lock up at closing time.

Fed up with her attitude, Mr. Frisky slammed Fedora’s coffin lid shut once more, and then turned his attention to Fiona. She was still alive, but unconscious. When the ambulance arrived, it whisked Fiona away to the hospital, and the paramedics allowed Mr. and Mrs. Frisky to ride along in the back.

At the emergency room, doctors discovered that Fiona had sustained serious internal injuries, and they began to operate on her at once. Fiona’s parents sat helplessly in the waiting room. They called friends and family to let them know what had happened.

One of the people Mrs. Frisky called was her brother. His name was Steven Stiffs, and he was in the funeral business, also. He owned Stiffs Mortuary, located in a neighboring town. Mrs. Frisky couldn’t reach her brother, so she left a message for him.

Steven Stiffs didn’t get his sister’s message until a while later, just after he picked up his hearse from getting the tires rotated. His sister’s voicemail had broken up, so all he gathered from the message was that something terrible had happened to Fiona.

Steven immediately drove to Frisky Funeral Home. He found the place empty, except for a body lying in a coffin. Even as a mortician, Mr. Stiffs hated the sight of dead bodies. He looked only very briefly at the body in the coffin, just long enough to see the birthmark on the corpse’s upper lip.

“Poor Fiona,” he whispered, and then he closed the coffin’s lid quietly. Mr. Stiffs had his son with him, a strapping lad as big as two pallbearers. They decided to take care of the body for the Frisky family. After all, no one should have to bury their own family member.

So Stiffs and son loaded the coffin into their hearse and drove over to the town’s only cemetery. Between the two of them, they dug a grave fairly quickly, and then reverently lowered the coffin into it. Then they finished the job by shoveling dirt back into the hole, covering the coffin with a good three feet of soil.

With Fiona buried, they drove sadly back to Stiffs Mortuary. It took them the better part of an hour to get there, and then Steven Stiffs and his son tied up a few loose ends at the mortuary before driving home. When they walked in the front door, Mrs. Stiffs ran to greet her husband and son.

Tears streamed down her face as she asked, “Did you hear about Fiona?”

“Yes, dear, we did,” answered her husband gravely.

“Oh, isn’t it wonderful!” exclaimed Mrs. Stiffs. “I’ve been crying for joy. She’s going to be ok! She came through surgery fine, and she’s just woken up. It’s a miracle!”

Mr. Stiffs and his son gasped and looked at each other in horror.

At that exact moment, Fedora Frisky was screaming at the top of her lungs, even as those same lungs found less and less oxygen to feed her blood. She pounded and scraped at the coffin lid, shaking and sweating. One particular bead of sweat rolled down her cheek and over her upper lip, washing away a cheese cracker crumb that looked just like her sister’s birthmark.

Thank you for reading!
Brent

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3 thoughts on “The Coffin Model, concluded

  1. First of all, well done on the mortuary names! Although Stiff fits perfectly, I think I rather prefer Frisky, although it reminds me of cats, and death, which then makes me very sad. Hmmm. Funeral homes for cats. Remember Kushi? How Mom and Dad buried her (actually, were you there?)? Anyways, I think they just used a box, but imagine if there were actual little kitty size coffins (well, in my beloved chunk-a-munk’s case, it would need to be a little on the large size to hold her massive girth)? Anyway, I love my Phoebe so much that I rather like the idea of holding a wake for her (though I definitely couldn’t handle an open coffin). It would be like in Gilmore Girls when the whole town showed up for a wake for Babette’s really old cat.

    Sorry. I digress. Anything to do with kitties causes me great distraction! Where was I?
    Ah, yes, the thing that made me laugh the most in this tale was the part about Stiff getting his tires rotated. Seemingly mundane, but this attention to trivial detail is exactly what sets you apart from other writers, my dear brother.

    Lastly, I also loved the part about Fedora being too lazy to even get out of the coffin for lunch, preferring instead to simply put in her earbuds and close the coffin lid to eat in peace. Unfortunate that her laziness led to her demise (perhaps there’s a lesson in gluttony as well, since it was the crumb on her lip that sealed her fate?).

    As much as Fedora was despicable, I would have to say I’m sorry to see her character come to an end, especially such a frightening one. I would love to hear more of this remarkable family, should your grace wish to share more with us.

    Thank you for the entertainment, as always, clever, clever boy!!

    Liked by 1 person

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