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Die Laughing - Chapter Two
Published Apr 3, 2015


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We sat at the small table in the kitchen. I was drinking hot tea to calm my nerves. Carol was giving me the same look she gave when I first suggested that we open a funeral home; the "are you out of your ever lovin' mind?" look. "I'm not crazy," I said, defensively.
"I never said you were," she replied.
"But you're giving me that look."
"This is my normal look, and don't try to change the subject."
"Fine, let's examine the facts," I stated. "Last Wednesday, in the middle of the Howard memorial, there were distinct sounds coming from the basement. It sounded almost as if someone was bowling. Yes, bowling. The rumbling of the ball down the alley, the crash against the pins. We both heard it. Actually everyone heard it, how could they not? But it stopped immediately and we didn't even go down there to look. Right?"
"Of course I heard it, but I didn't think it was bowling. I thought maybe it was thunder," she answered.
"Yes, thunder coming from basement," I said sarcastically. "Anyway, we ignored it. Then on Friday, Mrs. Crumplebottom ran into the office, distraught, because the viewing room was suddenly freezing and the flowers had wilted. Only by the time we got in there, everything was fine."
"You and I both know that Mrs. Crumplebottom is not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer," Carol said.
I nodded and kept going, "That may be, but keep an open mind here. Late Saturday evening, during the Boswell wake, people said they could hear something dripping. Several different people claim to have heard it and they all said it was overhead. We both went upstairs, even into the attic, and couldn't find anything to explain it. But we didn't hear it. Least I didn't."
"I didn't hear it either," she confirmed.
"That brings us to Monday afternoon."
"Ok," Carol nodded. "Monday was weird, I'll give you that."
"I was in memorial room two setting up the extra chairs for the Warners when a herd of buffalo went galloping through the main parlor."
Carol laughed, "It did sound just like that, a herd of buffalo."
"So of course we both rushed in there, and the room was completely empty. Not that we could fit a herd of buffalo in there to begin with. And while we were in there, the sound moved through the house, like they were playing tag."
"Now I'm picturing a herd of buffalo playing tag," she grinned.
I laughed.
"Which brings us to today." I said, sipping my tea.
"What exactly happened?" Carol asked.
"I went up into the attic first, and nothing looked out of the ordinary, but as I was leaving, I thought I saw something move behind your grandmother's steamer trunk. But when I looked, there wasn't anything there. So then I went down into the basement, and the furnace room door was standing wide open."
Carol's eyes narrowed, "I haven't been in there since the day we moved in."
"I haven't either," I said. "But it was open. So I went over, set the lock and closed it, and then started to come back upstairs. And it opened on its own behind me, so I raced up the stairs like all the hounds of Hell were nipping at my heels."
"But it was closed when we looked just now," she said.
"So either I'm seeing things," I replied, "or we have a ghost that likes to mess with people. And when you combine it with everything else that's been going on lately, I vote for the ghost."
Carol nodded. "Alright, let's go with that explantion. But would it really be so strange for us to end up with a ghost or two? I mean, this is a funeral home, we deal with dead people."
"Maybe it wouldn't hurt our business for people to think of us as the haunted mortuary," I said. "But on the flip side, bowling and buffalo in the middle of a memorial service would be extremely upsetting for the bereaved. Losing a loved one is hard enough."
"Good point. So what do we do?"
"I have no idea," I answered. "It wouldn't do much good to try and figure out whose ghost is stuck. As you said, we deal with dead people. It could be anyone."
"It wouldn't hurt, either. I'll go to the library tomorrow, see if I can find out anything about the history of the house."
"This house isn't that old," I pointed out.
"No it's not, but the land is. What about the stone structure this house is built over?"
I agreed. "This is why you handle the business side of things, you're smarter than the average bear."
"Don't forget good looking and modest too."
I laughed. "Smart, good looking and modest. If only you were male."
"Oh please," Carol said. "If I were male, I wouldn't be perfect."

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