by Sly Squirrel
©2003 Sly Squirrel -- all rights reserved
Silence. It's a standby in a Javert's Mortuary, as much a standard as apple pie is to the American home. The yellowed walls and formaldehyde odor only enforced this unspoken rule. Mourners walked into the doors full of tears; their bored children made a game of stealing complimentary mints from the front lobby.
Thus Javert's Mortuary made its honest buck.
Today is business as usual for the Mortuary. Daniella's body had been drained of its precious fluids the day before by a live-in mortician. Her family had arranged the flowers and memoriam walls with pictures from yesteryear. The casket had been brought into the showing room seconds before it opened to the public.
A few geriatric mourners were at the front, each in their own unique state of disrepair. Each had an oxygen tank to call their own. Behind the aging mourners stood a group of men wearing Armani suits. Their faces were untouched with such trifles as grief or sadness.
One of the suits cleared his throat. A woman in a power wheelchair wailed. The pastor up front remained stoic through the ordeal.
"She always wanted to be younger," one of the old ladies said, smiling wistfully. "I guess she got what she wanted."
The men in suits nodded. Longer Expectations had done exactly that, though it never seemed to be enough. She was their best customer in her living years. Every four months she would come in, just like clockwork, asking for another treatment. It was always a bit further, a bit younger, a bit less the woman she once was.
But now, sitting inside a casket no larger than a matchbox, Daniella's blastocyst form was the best they could do.