Sister

Drawing of a body bag and gurney in the half dark near a brick wall. Caption reads: Between a street light and a door someone could come through.

Sister short story by Iris Carden

I was doing Mrs Capstan’s final manicure, when my sister rang.

Oh, you didn’t know I had a sister? Actually she’s a half-sister. About five years after my mother left us, she came back for a visit with a three year old girl. She took off again, leaving the girl with us.

My father did the only thing he could do in the circumstance. He sent a client after her. That client wasn’t a killer. He was a solicitor with a creative take on defending his clients – to ensure no-one ever knows a crime has been committed, thus protecting his clients from conviction. The solicitor got my mother to sign documents granting my father full custody of both myself and my half sister, and to promise never to contact any of us again.

So as well as raising me on his own, he also had my mother’s other child, who definitely wasn’t his, and who was soon diagnosed with foetal alcohol syndrome.

When Dad passed over*, he left a large chunk of money each for my sister and me. He also left me the business, as you know. Because my sister’s not the brightest bulb in the box, Dad also left me an extra chunk of money to get her out of whatever trouble she would inevitably get herself into.

Back to her call. She’d been at a club with her boyfriend. This was the first I’d heard about a boyfriend. The boyfriend had got into a fight with some random person from the club, and now they had a dead body and didn’t know what to do.

I took a handful of money out of the safe and went to see for myself. They were in an alley at the back of the club and a number of other businesses. It was quiet, because it was out of hours and the other businesses were closed. But the body was between a streetlight and the back door of the club, a door anyone could come out of at any time.

I told my sister and her boyfriend to go back to my place and wait for me. Then I called my favourite cleaner. While waiting for him, I bagged the body, loaded it on the gurney as fast as I could and loaded it in the hearse. I handed cash over to the cleaner to make sure any and all evidence disappeared, and went home.

I stashed the body in the base of Mrs Capstan’s new deluxe coffin. (Yes, she got a free upgrade. Your friendly local funeral director frequently gives these upgrades to make the funeral experience more pleasant for the grieving family.)

Then I saw my sister and her boyfriend. His first words to me were: “Did you know you live in a funeral parlour?” I bet he does well at quiz nights.

I told them their story: they’d left the club, had a few words with the man the boyfriend had gone outside to fight, and then gone their seperate ways without any blows being struck. Then they’d both come to my place and we’d played Monopoly. I even told them which piece we’d each been (because details matter). My sister had won. We’d had coffee and they’d gone home. I made them repeat the story back to me five times.

I gave my sister the solicitor’s business card, and told her if the police did question them, they should call this solicitor, no-one else. They should tell him to send me the bill.

I decided to pay myself my regular fee out of the money Dad left to keep my sister out of trouble. I think I earned it.

*Passed over Bass Strait. It’s been established in an earlier story her father faked his own death, and retired to Tasmania to enjoy the profits of his criminal enterprise.

The Funeral Director Stories


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By Iris Carden

Iris Carden is an Australian indie author, mother, grandmother, and chronic illness patient. On good days, she writes. Because of the unpredictability of her health, she writes on an indie basis, not trying to meet deadlines. She lives on a disability support pension now, but her ultimate dream is to earn her own living from her writing.

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