Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Lane's Birthday

Aside from the clock going off, Granda was beating on my locked door. I lock it even as an adult, because as a kid I wasn't too sure about the bodies downstairs. The habit stuck which irritated my grandfather. With my head buried under the pillow it was possible to ignore the noise if Granda hadn't started shouting my name.

"Lane! Arse up boy!"

Granda had a nice strong Irish accent which would make him a favorite of Bingo parlors everywhere, if he actually went. Resigned to defeat, I shoved my body upright and staggered to the door in bare feet to let him in. He thrust an oddly-shaped package in my hands.

"For your birthday," he said, standing there to fill my doorway, big hands at his sides. His eyes shined with kid-like mischief. I raised an eyebrow.

"Uhh, thanks."

"Well? Go on, open it."

I sighed and peeled the black paper off in one big orange-peel curl to expose the red cap and green glass of 750 mL of Jameson Irish Whiskey.

"Well?" He prompted. I pasted on a smile.

"It's great," I said through clenched teeth. Even after fifteen years, it was painfully obvious he still didn't know me. He let out a big belly laugh and clapped a hand on my shoulder, nearly pitching me sideways.

"Good. I've got us a big breakfast waiting on the table. Get dressed and come see." He turned and left me standing there in my pajamas holding booze. I sat it on my bedside stand and glared at the clock. If I was going to make lab, I wouldn't be able to sit down to breakfast. Breakfast to Granda was like an eight-course meal. Besides that, I wasn't really hungry. I snatched up my clothes and headed for the shower.

Kade snorted at the rolled tacos I'd thrown together despite Granda's threats. Technically I was still having my big breakfast, never mind the sacrilege of rolling up his potatoes and bacon concoction in tortilla I'm not repeating what he said about them.

"Happy birthday kid," he said as he pulled his surgical mask over his nose and mouth. "Maybe you can go have a drink tonight after this."

"I've never been the type to drink," I said, adjusting my mask. "But after today, I just might start."

Kade's eyes grinned over the pale-blue paper. "It might be a good idea."

The autopsy was basically a slice and dice, measure, dip and stitch. Kade was one of the best pathologists in the state, so observing his techniques was always a treat. I finished the stitch work and disposed of the innards.

"So really," he said, tossing his gloves in the trash to wash his hands. "You don't have any plans? You're only twenty-one once."

I shrugged a shoulder. "There's not much I really want to do. Besides, I'm sure my grandfather will have something up his sleeve."

We finished early, so Kade told me to go ahead and take the rest of the day. Even the Gremlin was nice enough to get me home without much begging. Granda wasn't anywhere to be found when I walked in. Stevenson stopped me on the way to the kitchen.

"Sean's got a touch of food poisoning. He hasn't been well all day."

"Why didn't he call me?" I asked, dropping my keys into my pocket.

"Come on, you know your grandpa. Would Sean Daley ever ask anyone for help?"

"How many," I asked, my voice flat.

"Just one."

"What time."

Stevenson grimaced. His eyes cut to the side. "In an…hour?"

I rolled my eyes. I had one hour to get washed off, suited up and in front of a crowd of mourners. With Granda sick, somebody had to play funeral director. That somebody was going to be me.


  1. I wonder if the Gremlin is a friend's nickname or a crappy old car (in the latter case, I imagine begging aimed at the dashboard). Slick story!

  2. Lovely characterisation! Off to a flying start.

  3. So very cool. Love the characters in this. Granpa sounds like a handful.
    Adam B @revhappiness