Here’s a spooky story based on a skit I wrote back when I was a member of the Famous In The Future comedy group. It was only performed once, as part of a double bill at the Mary-Arrchie Theatre’s Abbie Hoffman Festival. It was paired with one of my other troubled short pieces, Messages Deleted. This tale is a little gruesome, but hopefully funny.
On Second Thought, A Closed Casket Might Have Been A Better Idea
No one likes going to wakes. But Syd, a young man in his 20s, felt obliged since the deceased was the father of his best friend, Lucas Graham. It was a brisk Fall evening when Syd arrived at the funeral home. He was surprised to find it empty except for Lucas.
“Hey Syd, thanks for coming,” Lucas said, as the two shook hands.
“I’m so sorry about your father,” Syd told him. He glanced around and still saw no other guests. “So where is everyone?”
“Can you believe it?” Lucas fumed. “No one will come to my Dad’s wake just because he was a werewolf!”
“That’s so lame!” Syd responded. “Haven’t they ever heard of Twilight? Strange creatures live among us. Come on, people! Get over it!”
“Right!” Lucas agreed.
“So, how did it happen?” Syd asked. He only knew that Mr. Graham had died under tragic and strange circumstances.
Lucas took a deep breath, as if summoning the strength to share the unfortunate circumstances. “Well, there was a full moon last Wednesday, and you know Dad! He just had to be out howling! He stopped by the Jansens’ place, and Mrs. Jansen, who just happens to have a supply of silver bullets, stuck her rifle out the window, and . . . “ Lucas didn’t seem like he could go any further.
“Mrs. Jansen?” Syd was surprised. She was an 85-year old widow who lived on a nearby farm. It was hard to imagine her being able to kill anyone, let alone a werewolf.
“What are the odds a woman her age, shooting from that distance, could hit my Dad right in the heart?” Lucas wondered. He wiped away some tears with a tissue.
“I’m just so sorry,” Syd told him again. He clasped a hand on Lucas’s shoulder. “Well, I’m proud to come here on your Dad’s behalf.” Syd approached the casket, and was shocked to discover a werewolf inside. “Gaaaaaaaah!”
Lucas walked over to join him at the casket. He looked highly offended, “Is there something wrong?”
Syd tried to quickly recover. “No, it’s cool.” There was an awkward pause. “It’s just that in the movies, when someone gets killed while they’re out being a werewolf, they turn back into a human again.”
Lucas responded with a sarcastic smile. “I guess real life isn’t so convenient.”
Syd nodded, and turned his attention back to the casket. He struggled to think of something appropriate to say. “He looks great,” he commented at last.
“Yeah, they did a nice job on him,” Lucas agreed.
They heard the sound of the front door opening, and turned to see a flamboyantly dressed man enter the funeral home. He wore a black fedora and his face was mostly covered by a cape he held up with his hand.
“Whoa, who’s that?” Syd whispered.
“Must be a friend of Dad’s,” Lucas whispered back.
The man wearing the cape walked with a limp as he made his way toward the guest book. He noticed Syd and Lucas watching him. “Good evening,” he said, in a voice that seemed to echo in the empty parlor.
“You think he’s . . .” Syd whispered again.
Lucas finished Syd’s question. “A werewolf? Could be. Dad hung out with a pretty wild crowd.”
They stepped aside to allow the limping man access to the casket. Their guest folded his hands as he gazed down at Mr. Graham, and then let out a mournful howl. “Owwwoooooooooo!” He looked embarrassed, and hurried toward the front door.
“No, wait!” Lucas called after him. “We understand!”
But the strange visitor was gone in an instant.
Syd walked over to the podium that held the sign-in book. “I wonder who he was.”
Lucas followed behind him. But when Syd checked the book, there were no names entered at all.
“I know I saw him write something! But now it’s vanished!”
He glanced at Lucas, who was currently fixated on the frail old woman who had just entered the funeral home.
“Mrs. Jansen!” Syd exclaimed.
“I really am sorry, Lucas,” Mrs Jansen said in a creaking voice. “If I had known that was your Paw chasing my chickens around, I sure enough wouldn’t have shot him. I just really hate wolfmen.”
“What do you want?” Lucas asked her coldly.
“Just to pay my last respects.” There was a faint smile on her deeply wrinkled face. “He was a good man. Most of the time.” As Mrs. Jansen arrived at the casket, she shrieked in horror, pulled a pistol from her coat pocket and began firing. Syd and Lucas jumped behind a red velvet sofa for cover. They came out again once she had emptied the gun.
“What’s wrong with you?!” Syd yelled.
Mrs. Jansen shrugged. “Sorry.” She looked into the casket. “Oh well, no harm done.”
She slowly hobbled over to Lucas. “So where’s the smorgasbord? I’m starved!”
Lucas glared at her, as Syd held him back. “It’s after the funeral,” he seethed. “And you’re not invited!”
“Well, that’s just rude!” Mrs Jansen complained.
“You shot his father!” Syd pointed out.
“Twice!” Lucas added.
Syd put his arm around Mrs. Jansen and started to lead her away. “I think you should leave.”
“I just want a quick bite!” Mrs. Jansen protested, but she allowed Syd to escort her to the door. After he had taken Mrs. Jansen outside, Syd went back to see how Lucas was holding up. “Thanks for taking care of that,” Lucas told him. “But I think you better split before any of my Dad’s other friends show up.”
They heard the sound of wind as the door to the funeral home flew open and a vampire entered, holding Mrs, Jansen’s limp body in his arms. When he smiled there was blood on his lips. “Nice smorgasbord!” he said to Syd and Lucas.