This morning I walked into the National Cemetery Management Council’s offices after having slept only about three hours.
No, not intermittently – I went to bed at 3am and got up at 6am. All for you, readers.
Everything I do (I do it for You) *Drum fill*
At 6am when my alarm clock goes off, I get about fifteen to twenty seconds of current events before I hit “Snooze” and roll over for the first of a few successive cat naps, until I’ve ensured I’m jussssst late for work. This is what I “learned” in those few seconds this morning:
- Either Montreal or Boston won game 7 (I tuned in “mid-copy,” keep in mind) and in either Montreal or Boston there was “rioting in the streets.”
- “In more a tragic story, a local man is reported to have committed suicide yesterday in the bathroom of a local hospital with a firearm. Police have yet to release a name, but the deceased was said to be ‘psychologically unstable.’ According to those interviewed, initial reports seem to indicate a call for increased security in hospitals across the region. In other news—“
And just like that — I’m agitated.
I’ve been up for exactly 12 seconds and my brain is already editing someone else’s shoddy reporting and the overblown reaction of a major city. People always need to know that something––anything!—is “being done” about whatever it is that “needs doin’,” aren’t they?
“Increased security”? Really? REALLY now?
Look, with all due respect, this guy could have blown his brains out literally anywhere. Anywhere at all! He could’ve got up that day, showered, shaved, put on some sensible business-casual attire, and then headed out the door. Maybe he stops to wave at the little tots on a school bus that’s idling at a red light?
“Hiiiya, kids!” he could’ve said with a smile.
And maybe, innocent as little kids are, they smiled and waved back?
“Hey kids! Do you want to see something reeeeally neat?”
The little ones continue to smile on their side of the glass.
And then BLAM!!! In one swift movement he’s already opened his mouth, stuffed in the gun, pulled the trigger, and fallen in a heap.
Muted screams from the bus children. A car alarm. Three or four fender-benders. Hesitant onlookers sheepishly reaching for their camera phones, hoping that everyone is looking at him and not them as they do.
You with me so far?
So given that horrifying little fiction, what did this tortured soul choose to do instead? He offed himself a mere elevator ride from the morgue they’ll wheel him to in a room that is likely completely tiled. Probably even has a drain in the floor for even easier cleanup! If anything, that is the most considerate suicide I could imagine! So no, I believe we already have the requisite security in our hospitals, thank you very much.
Moving ahead to my awkward elevator ride now:
In attempt to break the monotony, I jokingly criticized two ladies for pressing “2.” One flight of stairs and they’re there! WHY?! I of course have an excuse because for starters, I’m already late, and secondly, I work way up on the 13th floor, which the NCMC insists upon because by definition, it is “the spookiest.”
Anyway, they just stared back at me and said nothing. Sorry I didn’t comment on the weather, ladies.
“How ’bout all this rain, huh?”
“Well, we certainly needed it!”
“Oh, for sure!”
So yeah, then Hemlock sees me, and just as he’s about to point at the clock—-the “grandfather variety” by the way, and covered in cobwebs and dust which they refuse to address—-he says to me, “Jesus Christ James, you look like Death!”
Now, coming from Hemlock, that comment hit me like a ton of bricks. He chose not to mention the fact I was late, but instead retreated at exactly 1.5x “normal speed.” Backwards, as though someone had hit “rewind.”
I know that sounds like it might be distressing, but after a couple of years of seeing that kind of thing on a daily basis, much like his “friendly shape-shifts,” I’ve come to know that when he does stuff that resembles what you’ve probably seen in The Ring (2002), he’s having what I now refer to as a “neutral” day.
Sure enough, have a look at what he texted me on his lunch break. Total softball:
“JAMES, HOPE THAT COFFEE RESURRECTED UR SPIRITS THS MOURNING! SPRING IS OUR BUSIEST SEASON AND WE HAVE MANY BURIALS THAT NEED PLANNING! I NEED MY VERY BEST AT HIS BEST. BRB. JUST STEPPED OUT FOR A QUICK BITE TO EAT. SEE ATTACHED PHOTO.”
Think he was trying to be funny?
That’s what’s scariest about Hemlock, I think: everything he says is 100% sincere and always registers at least somewhere on the “Ghoulishness” scale. Did I mention I invented a scale? It goes from one to ten, like most rating systems, but it’s a little different. This episode barely registered with a mere “Vincent Price-ish” 1 due to its (unintentional) “camp factor.” I’m sure I’ll see you through to 10 in time. *Shudder*
Anyway, here’s my idea of good eating: when I’M cooking!