A Vein of Shit

Posted: June 18, 2008 in Uncategorized

There’s a block of steel sunk into the wall in front of me, complete with various buttons and a coffin sized recession in it. A smaller depression sits below, about the size of a dustpan. Inside the machine, a forty-year-old woman is burning.
Her family stands in a cramped little room off to the side of the crematorium machine; somber, pensive. They all act in the precise way they’re expected to. An older woman is crying, and the man standing next to her tightens his grip on her shoulders. A gesture of comfort. A warning. Maybe both.
Her sobs are silent behind the thick layer of glass that separates the family from me and my flaming friend. Just by standing there, staring at the machine, I can feel the stares. They’re not watching the fire flicker back and forth over their wife slash mother slash daughter; they’re watching me.
Watching as I bend over and vomit onto the side of the machine. Stomach heaving, muscles contracting, a thin jet of pale bile flavored by the dark grey of uncooked shrimp.
Sushi’s never been good to me.
Work has been hazy today, to say the least. I’ve never understood those people who have to start turning their relatives into ash only hours after their mortal clock stops; case in point, the family today brings in their mother/daughter/wife only eight hours after she crossed Main Street and was hit by a Volvo. Apparently she was on her way to Starbucks. Gotta have that grande latte cappucino everyday, yes indeed.
The paperwork says nothing about this, however; “car fatality” is all the information I’m given.
At least it’s entertaining to fill in the blanks yourself.
Who honestly wants to be a crematorium worker when they grow up? Who marches to their college counselor and says, “Fuck community college, I want to burn corpses for a living”?
Not that the job’s bad. I’m just curious.
The family apparently comes in just as I’m wolfing down a shrimp taco complete with raw shrimp and fetid jack cheese and limp lettuce. Interesting thing about shrimp; as a member of the crustacean family, their digestive tracts run over their backs, contained only by a thin, stretched membrane. A vein of shit that is rendered sterile when boiled.
Uncooked and shitty, it’s bound to have delicious bacteria in it. At least, I think to myself as the bile jets from my throat, it’s not E. coli.
With E. coli it’s a party at both ends.
I wipe my mouth and turn almost involuntarily to the family behind the glass. In front of me, their wife/daughter/mother is reduced to smoldering coals.
I smile, and vomit leaks out of the corner of my mouth.

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