Resurrection 9Posted: November 6, 2016
This is a chapter of the book I am writing for NaNoWriMo. If you want to read it from the start, click here for the chapter index.
Plummer’s Funeral Home
When the phone rang at Plummer’s Funeral Home, Roger Plummer was in the upstairs apartment, passed out on the couch. The television playing the LEX18 12:30am news was the only light. Roger had lived above the Home for the last eight years as his business had dwindled.
Roger inherited the business from his father, George Plummer, when he passed in 1998. At the time the business was doing well. Even in a small town like Silerville, the business of death was extremely profitable. Just two “calls” a week brought in over $500,000.00 per year. After paying all the bills, George was able to keep a good chunk for himself.
George was a good businessman. He paid off the mortgage on the business as well as on his home. He left Roger, his only son, a large inheritance and a thriving business.
Roger, however, was not a good businessman.
While his father had been gregarious and bigger than life, Roger was shy. Tall and thin, he was withdrawn as a child. Awkward. He made few friends. As he grew, life just took him along, in the drift.
His mother’s death when he was 11 profoundly affected him. She was his confidant, his comfort, his protector from his father’s harsh criticism. He had felt empty ever since.
He eventually married. Leona was 8 years his senior. She didn’t fill the empty space his mother’s death had left in him, but she was some comfort. She seemed to always know what to do and had ambitious plans for their life. Over time, her ambitions became obligations. Her encouragement became nagging. Roger, unable to escape physically, began escaping mentally, downing a pint of Seagram’s every evening.
Leona eventually had enough and left him, making sure to remind him just how much a “loser” he truly is. Since then he had been alone.
The funeral business is not good for an alcoholic. It provided days of inactivity and boredom. Roger started frequenting the OTB in Corbin. His drinking went from evenings to afternoons to mornings.
Not being well liked and having a reputation around Silverville as a drunk both hurt his business. The calls went from two or three a week to two or three a month. Prearrangements became fewer and fewer. Roger had more time to drink.
Between the gambling, the booze-haze thinking and the loss of business, Roger eventually had to sell the house. It gave him temporary respite from the downward financial spiral, but a brief one. For the last three years he had been freely spending money from the prearrangement escrow fund to support his habits.
Roger pulled himself out of his stupor and answered the phone. “Plummer Funeral Home.” He attempted to sound sober, it was an act he had practiced many times before.
“Roger, this is Tom. We need you to come out to Bonhollow Park. Got a body.”
“OK, sure, be there as soon as I can.” Roger was less bleary, experiencing the sudden wakefulness of a long-time drunk.
“Roger, it’s J.W. He’s been killed. He needs to be taken to Frankfort,” Tom said.
“Shit, seriously? Damn. I’ll be there in a few minutes.” Roger had grown up with J.W., and since his return to Silerville J.W. had done a few funerals at Plummers.
Roger pulled on his pants, went downstairs to the garage and got into the dark blue Suburban he used to transport bodies. It took him only 5 minutes to drive to Bonhollow Park. Entering the park, Roger navigated to the lights Harlan and Canada had set up around the scene.
Tom walked out to meet Roger as he stepped out of the SUV.
“This is bad,” Tom said as he shaked Roger’s hand.
“What happened?” Roger asked, truly wondering why J.W. would be out here and how he could get himself killed.
“Somebody stabbed him.” Tom replied. “Chief’s talking to his wife now. We don’t know much, KBI will be here shortly.”
“I’m sorry Tom, I know you were friends.” Roger’s comment reminded Tom of the lump in his throat. Tom had been doing his best to push his emotions down and just get through this.
“Yeah, well, I’ll have time to think about that after you get on the road to Frankfort. Right now I’m just the coroner.” Tom willed the tears back as he turned to show Roger to the body.
“Can’t move him yet, have to wait for KBI. Harrison is on his way.” Tom instructed.
Detective Colin Harrison was a 30 year veteran of the Kentucky Bureau of Investigation and lived between Silerville and Corbin. He had been called as soon as it was apparent this was no natural death.
Harrison arrived and started his investigation. He directed Harlan and Canada to take pictures of the body and anything else surrounding the scene that looked like possible evidence. He had them put up crime tape. Once he was satisfied he was done with the body, and with Tom’s OK, he released it for Roger and Truesdell to transport.
“Roger, maybe you should let Canada drive,” advised Tom, he had already noted the alcohol on Roger’s breath.
“Yeah, good idea.” Roger decided the two hour drive to Frankfort would allow him a nice nap.
Roger and Canada bagged and loaded the body, got into the Suburban and pulled away as Tom and Harrison watched.
“Sometimes I hate this job,” remarked Tom.
“Tell me about it,” Harrison responded.