The Goodbye Girls' Blog

Funeral: Real Fun

See No Evil

“Are you really okay with this? I expect they will have heavy protection on display. And, from the moment we approach, we will be on all sorts of cameras: some theirs, and some the RCMP. But, if we go inside, that’s the end of the RCMP’s surveillance. So, as Donny said, only speak when spoken to, and if they ask a question, keep your answer short. A simple yes or no would be best. I expect they will direct questions to me as they are a patriarchal bunch. So, try not to let that get up your nose. This is not the time for social justice.”

“Noted. I will just acquiesce to you, should anyone ask me a question. I mean, really? Women are still seen and not heard? Freaking believable. That 10-Gauge is a chauvinist prick.”

“Did you hear anything I just said?”

“Sorry. Done. No more rants. I shall be a model of compliance and silence.”

Otto smiled. “No, you won’t. You’re Letty’s granddaughter. Compliance is not in your genes. But just try not to get us killed, okay?”

Coffin Capers

“A couple of the boys’ have their bikes in my shop, so they’ve been gassing with one another while I tinker. Sometimes I listen. Lately, I’ve been listening.” Donny paused, enjoying the fact he had their rapt attention. “Twiggy messed with the wife of the wrong guy.” Donny drew his hand across his neck. “The husband was no Prince Bloody Charming. He had been inside for three years for manslaughter. While her husband was preoccupied on the inside, his wife was preoccupied on the outside with just about any guy she met. The day he got out, she was with Twiggy. Makes you wonder if it was a setup. Twiggy’s women, and there were a lot of them, always seemed to be married to a badass. But, he was serious about this one, more than she was about him. He was making a pest of himself. She was tired of him and realized it was in the interests of her long-term health to pick up the matrimonial thread of her marriage.”

Fishing Off The Company Pier

Sarah looked at Nick, then at Otto. “It wasn’t a coincidence they’re here, is it? You arranged to have them here. Without telling me. What’s that about? I thought we were partners.”

Aislin looked to Nick for help and then Otto.

“Nick invited me, not Aislin,” said Otto.

“And I invited myself,” said Nick.

“Still need an explanation, Aislin,” said Sarah.

“Okay, fine. I was, am, concerned about your apparent attraction to 10-Gauge. It scares me. And from the business perspective, it’s not professional to fish off the company pier.”

Nick and Otto both winced.

Keepsakes

“Here’s how the day’s going to go. All the bikes will assemble in Bowser, and then we will ride down island as a group. Make a show, you know? We expect to arrive at the park early afternoon. We want a platform, a podium, and wireless mics. And seating for about fifty. The rest of the boys will stay with their bikes on the road. When the speeches are over, the boys will fire up and leave for the campground. So, Jill, you only have to provide food and booze for fifty.” 10-Gauge paused. “Can you manage that?”

“Shouldn’t be an issue. Finger food, canapes, and sandwiches. No hot food. A couple of kegs or bottled beer? Wine? Pop for the kids and non-drinkers. Tea and coffee. Do you want a cake?”

Sarah squirmed and interrupted. “If you decide on bottles of beer and wine, we could have labels made up with a nice picture of Twiggy. What were his favourite colours? I think that would be lovely. Just not sure if there’s enough time.”

The Devil Has The Details

the-devil-has-details-goodbye-girlsWanting to avoid unsolicited observations about her appearance, Aislin waited until Letty was in the back garden before zipping out the front door. She was ahead of schedule, so drove to Picnic Park to assess it in terms of access, toilets, parking, and proximity to neighbours. If City Hall had already issued a permit, it was not her problem if the neighbours complained, and she was pretty sure they would. If they were smart, they would lock their doors and leave town for the day—an appealing thought. 

The park maintenance crew was out in force, trimming up trees, edging walkways, installing extra garbage cans and portable toilets. Traffic barriers were stacked and ready to be placed. 

Despite the whine of machinery and a small army of park workers, there were some die-hard park users. And then she realized they weren’t locals out for a walk; they were undercover cops. She watched the workers and noticed some were more efficient and focused; others were not. One gave her a hard once over as he strolled past with a rake. She assumed her license plate had been recorded and her photo taken. 

Deadheading & Dead Men

deadheading-and-dead-men-goodbye-girlsLetty showed Aislin how to hold the stem and break off the spent rhododendron blooms without harming next years’ buds. Aislin had not thought to bring gloves, so her fingers quickly grew a mudge of dirty, sticky sap. She hated the stickiness. 

“If you can’t manage the deadheading, why are you so careful not to break off next year’s buds? It seems like you’re aiding and abetting your doom.”

“What a question! Why would I deny myself the indulgence of all this colour after a long, wet winter? Most people think of spring bulbs as the harbingers of better days, but not me. I like to watch the big buds swell. And I like the solid comfort of the trunks and branches. Bulbs are a bit ephemeral for me.” 

“If you say so. But, it seems to me you need to watch what you wish for.” Taking advantage of the unscripted opening, she followed up with, “Speaking of wishes, how was your conversation with Otto?”

Otto’s Riddle

Otto's-riddle-goodbye-girlsLetty poured the tea and passed around the cookies. They sipped in silence. 

“Anyone know how to plan a funeral?” asked Sarah.

“Not a clue,” replied Aislin. Looking at Letty, “Was hoping, with your vast experience in attending them, you would be our advisor.”

“I’ve only been to funerals for people who die of natural causes. Nice people. Not murdered bikers.”

“Really? You’re suddenly aware that we have a problem here? Where was your concern when Mr. 10-Gauge was dripping charm all over you two? I still can’t believe we’re going to work with a guy called 10-Gauge!”

Drinkin’ & Dancin’

drinkin-and-dancin-goodbye-girls“Fine. We’re in, but I am neither happy nor comfortable. For the record.” Aislin crossed her arms. “And, I suggest we all prepare our last wishes before we get going. And further to that thought, who will do our funerals if we all die in the crossfire?”

Letty poured liqueurs for each of them, which they drank in silence, Sarah grinning widely, Letty looking bemused, Aislin frowning. Sarah jumped up and started jigging around the kitchen. She dragged a reluctant Aislin in, and after a few turns around the kitchen, Aislin grabbed Letty. Elaine barged in. 

“What is going on? I’ve been worried sick about you, Letty. I’ve left three messages. I heard a biker gang was here. And here you are all dancing? And drinking? It’s not even noon! Letty, you know you’re supposed to avoid excitement. It’s not good for your blood pressure.”

And then Jim Brownlee barged in. “Anyone hurt?”

A Rift Arises

a-rift-goodbye-girlsAislin ran into her room to change. Flipping through her office clothes, she pulled out her most severe suit jacket and favourite jeans, both of which felt a bit tight. She checked her bum in the mirror; then switched the jacket for a long sweater. She ran back downstairs, checked to make sure Fitz was still in sight, and assembled the coffee tray, trying not to slam the coffee mugs. Steeling herself to be pleasant and not show fear, she went out to greet the bikers, who were smiling and chatting with one of the neighbours about the bikes.

“Good morning. Here’s your coffee. Mr. Whiteside, can I bring you a coffee?”

“No, that’s fine, Aislin, but thanks. I was just telling these young men how I always wanted a Harley. I had dreams of cruising through my retirement with the wind in my face, but the missus wouldn’t go for it. I heard these bad boys coming well before they arrived. Couldn’t believe my luck. What a great way to start the day.”

Letty & 10-Gauge

Letty-and-Ten-Gauge-Goodbye-girlsAislin was wired from top to toe. She took a hot shower, but there was no calming down. Sleep came in snatches and ended in full-body spasmodic twitches. Intermittently, hysterical laughter engulfed her. It was a relief to hear the obnoxiously insistent robins. She squeezed into her running gear. It had been a month since she’d last laced up. She crept downstairs, careful to avoid the creaky treads, and slipped out. It was a hard re-introduction to running, but it was good to feel her muscles singing again. And the air was sweet and fresh. 

Letty was up and making coffee. Riding her endorphin high, Aislin greeted Letty cheerfully and made small talk about her run, her running schedule when she lived in Vancouver and all the positive differences between the two running experiences. Letty replied monosyllabically. Breakfast was a quiet affair. 

“Sarah and Fitz are coming over at nine. Fitz wants to see you and Secretariat.” Letty’s face softened. “Also, apparently, we have our first gig as funeral planners. This all came down yesterday while I was out.” Aislin hoped Letty would not latch onto what went down between them.

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