The Dead

Mark E. Rogers

Published by Permuted Press at Smashwords.

Copyright 2009 Mark E. Rogers

Chapter 1

Gary Gets a Call



But fathers are immortal, Gary Holland thought as he swung his white Pinto wagon into the parking lot of Van Nuys and Monahan, the biggest funeral parlor in Bayside Point. Easing to a halt, he switched off the ignition.

God. If fathers can die, who can’t?

He stared blankly at the funeral home. The man who had raised him, taught him, shaped him, had been scythed from his life with a single stroke. Gary felt as though some part of him had been amputated; memories of his father seemed like feelings in a missing limb, bitter reminders of something that had disappeared forever.

Unless there’s an afterlife, like Mom says, Gary told himself.

But that was bullshit.

He got out of the car. It was a fine summer evening, not too hot; some of the parking-lot lights had already come on in the thickening dusk, and there was a heavy but pleasant smell of flowers and green leaves from the trees lining Beichmann Avenue.

He crossed the lot, passing his mother’s Jetta and his brother Max’s Maverick. There were few other cars, but it was early yet. His father had been an important man in Bayside Point, and Gary expected the viewing would be well-attended.

Entering the parlor, he stopped in the lobby. He had been to Van Nuys and Monahan’s several times, once for his grandmother, twice for pals of his father. Everything in the lobby was just as he remembered it—same tacky landscape paintings and gold velvet wallpaper embossed with harps and trumpets, same expensive aquarium setup with the same dead goldfish floating at the top.

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