Edit: drawing of a glass of red wine. Caption reads: Don't drink and drive.

Wine short story by Iris Carden

I had ten bodies in cold storage at the time, all from the legit side of the business. Ten bodies. Three families. Three cars. One accident. One Christmas party. God knows how many bottles of plonk. Thee funerals each of multiple family members between Christmas and New Year. Merry bloody Christmas.

Don’t drink and drive. I’m busy enough as it is.

I already had my work cut out when the cleaner called. “Can you do a multiple?”

I mentally calculated the number of bodies, and the number of deluxe coffins with false bottoms I had available to upgrade them to.

“No more than six,” I said.

“Great. I’ve got five.”

Ten legit bodies and five for the side business. This was going to be a very long week.

The address for the pick up was a fancy boutique winery. There were three men and two women slouched on seats at a table obviously intended for people sampling the product. They had red foam around their mouths, and their skin had a bluish tint. Glasses of red wine were knocked over on the table and the floor.

“Bad vintage,” I said.

“Meet the Hopkins family. All but one of them. They inherited this place together,” the cleaner began.

I held up a hand. “Not my business,” I said.

“Sorry. Forgot you don’t like to know.” He handed me an even larger bundle of cash than I expected. “I told the client we both wanted fifty percent extra, being Christmas and all. We could be spending the time with our families.”

I snorted. “Families?”

“Well, it’s not impossible. Maybe one day.”

He looked at me. Ever since I’d had coffee with him, he’d been hinting, about having something more. Keeping my professional life seperate from my personal life had been much easier before I had a personal life.

We loaded the body bags into the hearse. “Want to grab a drink when we’ve both finished up?”

I looked around me. “I’d still rather coffee.”

“Sure,” he said. “I’m a bit over wine anyway.”

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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