The pallet of mourners was offset by the floral arrangements ranging from white to pink to red to yellow to blue. The carpet was musty. It’s base color was a deep maroon and it had gold, flower-patterned insets covering the span of the carpet from wall to wall. It was unevenly padded. Some steps seemed to be brand new and others seemed to have been neglected from years of saddened human beings. There was a coat rod to the right of the main door. It had a few light jackets hanging from it. Mostly from the elderly mourners. The female elderly mourners. To the left of the door was an area for sitting. An area for reflection. Reflecting on the departed. There were four identical chairs. Each one was oversized and near the shade of gold that was in the musty, uneven carpet. In front of that was a coffee table. At each end of the coffee table was a box of tissues. In the center of the table was the Holy Bible. It was closed and slightly off kilter. On the other side of the coffee table, facing the four, identical, nearly gold chairs was a maroonish couch. Behind the couch was a table. On the table were two more boxes of tissues and a bowl of mints.
Burke and Miles slowly made their way through the threshold, avoiding eye-contact with no real destination in mind. As they brushed past the table that was behind the maroonish couch, one of the inhabitants of the nearly gold chairs looked up and saw them.
“Oh shit, Burke?” the inhabitant said.
Burke, in his altered state of mind and with the extenuating circumstances didn’t hear the inhabitant.
“Burke?” the inhabitant said again. This time he got up and started walking towards them.
Miles noticed the commotion and looked over. He immediately smiled and hit Burke’s shoulder.
“What, dude?” Burke asked in response to getting hit. Miles pointed towards the inhabitant. Burke looked over and smiled and hung his head in recognition.
“Oh shit, Jimmy! What’s up, dude?” Burke shook Jimmy’s hand.
“Um, well, you know,” he motioned with his hand around the funeral home. “Nothing much, I guess.”
“Shit, yeah. I’m kind of high. Sorry,” Burke said.
“You sure? I couldn’t really tell all that much.” Jimmy said while blinking his eyes really fast.
“You’re such a dick,” Burke said.
“I know. But you kind of love it.”
“You might be right about that,” Burke said.
“I know I am.” They all stood there and looked at each other for a little bit. Miles had a grin on his face. It was an awkward grin and somewhat inappropriate for a funeral home. Burke and Jimmy looked at him almost simultaneously.
“You alright, man?” Jimmy asked Miles.
“Yeah, man. I’m just so happy right now,” he answered.
“That’s kind of fucked up,” Burke said.
“Yeah, just a little,” Jimmy added.
“Maybe a little,” Miles said.
“You think?” Burke said.
“Yeah, I just agreed with you guys. Jesus,” Miles said.
“God, you guys are hilarious. I’ve missed you two. What have you been up to?” Jimmy asked Burke. Burke brushed the hair from his eyes and tucked it behind his ears.
“Nothing much. I’ve been working over at McManus’s.”
“I know that place. That really shitty, Irish place downtown?” Jimmy said.
“Yeah, exactly that one. Yeah, I’ve been slanging drinks there for a little while, you know, while I try to figure some shit out.”
“Yeah, the world is rough out there,” He said while half chuckling.
“What about you, half-ton?” Jimmy asked Miles.
“Nothing much, man. I’ve been working at the local grocer,” Miles answered.
“Still bagging groceries, huh?” Jimmy quipped.
“Fuck you, man. I only do that when we don’t have enough people on.”
“So, I was kind of right, I guess,” Jimmy chuckled.
“Oh, shit. Yeah. You were. But, no. I’m one of the managers over there,” Miles said proudly.
“Sweet. That shit’s not too shabby,” Jimmy said.
“No, it pretty much sucks, but it pays right?” Miles said.
“I actually like my job,” Burke said.
“Yeah?” Jimmy said.
“Yeah, dude. I don’t really have responsibilities. Nothing to worry about. People come in, they want to get trashed and they pay me for it. Sometimes I get trashed with them. It’s kind of a perfect job for me. If I’m going to stay up until 3:00 at night getting trashed, I might as well get paid for it, you know?”
“Sounds like you have that shit pretty much figured out,” Jimmy said.
“I’m not sure about figured out. I mean, how much of us really have anything figured out. What about you? What are you up to? God, we haven’t seen you since what?” Burke asked Jimmy.
“I saw you last week,” Jimmy said with a dead-pan look. Burke raised an eyebrow at the same time that Miles did and they both looked at each other. “I’m just fucking with you guys. I think it was junior year of college?” Jimmy said.
“When was that? I dropped out after my first semester,” Miles said. Burke looked at him.
“Even so, that’s pretty easy math. Freshman, sophomore, junior…” Burked counted on his fingers.
“I know that, smart ass. But some people go for like five years and shit,” Miles said trying to justify himself.
“Even so, it still would be the same, anyway. What have you been up to?” Burke said to Jimmy.
“Did I yell you that you guys are hilarious? I’ve been working at my dad’s investment firm,” He said. Miles eyebrows went up and his lips curled in amazement.
“Fucking fancy,” Miles said in response.
“Indeed,” Burke agreed.
“Yeah, it’s an alright gig. Learning the ropes, putting that finance degree to work,” he said.
“I’ll say,” Burke said. “I put my psychology degree to work all the time also. Probably not the way that my dad wanted me to. Actually, I can guarantee you that he’s pissed about the way that I’m using my degree, but I use it nonetheless.”
“How do you use your pysch degree bartending?” Miles asked.
“Are you kidding me?” Burke asked.
“No, that’s why I just asked you,” Miles said.
“You guys are great,” Jimmy said.
“Do you know all of the crazy, random shit that I hear people talk about at the bar. Some people engage with me willingly and I overhear others. Some, I’ve been part of, just because I’m a human and human are just sick animals that have sick, perverted thoughts that hide deep down inside of us and the minute we dull our inhibitions, those thoughts spew off our tongue, faster than the drunks at the end of the night.”
“Like what?” Jimmy asked.
“Like what?” Burke asked back.
“Yeah, what’s some of the random shit?” Jimmy asked. Burke brushed the hair from his eyes and tucked it behind his ears while he looked over Jimmy’s head in thought.
“Okay, so about a week ago, maybe two, there was this group of women at the bar. I had just gotten there to start my shift. It was probably 5:30 or so, I don’t know. They were an obvious after work, happy hour 40 something group of women.” Burke began.
“Were they hot?” Jimmy asked.
“Maybe one of them was office hot, but she brought the average weight down to 215.” Burke said.
“Shallow mother fucker.” Miles said.
“What is office hot?” Jimmy asked.
“That’s where you call a girl hot because everyone else she is with is a two or a three, even though she is probably a five or a six herself. If she was out in public by herself, you wouldn’t think she was hot, but in that setting, she becomes hot.” Burke said.
“Shallow.” Miles reiterated.
“Anyway, like I was saying, it was 5:30 or 6:00. I hadn’t been there long. I think I was still kind of high still, that’s how I know I hadn’t been there that long. These heifers are downing margaritas and cosmos and rum and diets and getting trashed. They’re starting to get loud. McManus’s isn’t usually very loud unless we have a band or if it’s Friday night, but I could hear these broads in the kitchen.
“They’re talking about the usually shit that 40-year-old women do. Diets, food, Us Weekly and what guys they would bang in the office. After that conversation started it started the downward spiral of whoredom that every 40 year-old woman wants to tell, but doesn’t unless they’re drunk. The office hot girl talks about some of her recent conquests with some 30-year-old guys. One of the heifers talks about how she’s seen an uncircumcised dick and the table loses it. I mean pure pandemonium. You would think that was the funniest shit ever. Until, the quiet one spoke.
“We all know the quiet one. We all have that quiet friend who sits in the corner and doesn’t say anything while we’re drinking. This lady, holy shit. This will tell you about the human psyche and why I took psychology. She seriously, I mean this seriously is the thing that came out of her mouth as soon as the table calmed down.”
“What?” Miles asked.
Please to enjoy.