Just a few hours later, Simona arrives at Jones Funeral Home, yawning, ready to start the day. She walks in through the cavernous garage -- it has to be big enough to maneuver two hearses, three upright body refrigerators, and another, smaller refrigerator where employees keep their lunches and sodas. Office manager Rick, the ultimate early bird, is already buzzing around, checking on bodies and making notes on files. He sees Simona and gives her a hearty hello.
RICK Mornin’, doll.
SIMONA (Groans.) Good morning. I wish it wasn’t morning. I wish it was night, and that I was SLEEPING!
RICK Out raising hell again? Oh never mind. You were on call!
SIMONA I had a call... that called back, like three times, and then the alarm company called about the garage and... whatever. Never mind. Did Sher come in?
RICK Yeah, I left her out for now… do you know if the family wants to embalm?
SIMONA (Annoyed with herself.) I knew I was forgetting to ask her something!
RICK Well, I guess we’ll know soon enough and I’ll ask Joe to get to work on her. He likes ‘em better when they aren’t all stiff and cold.
SIMONA Something about blood flow?
RICK Yeah... you don’t get the clots and the color’s better. (Very focused) So! We're going to be very busy today. We got five bodies in last night.
SIMONA Geez! Really? I'm surprised I only heard from Sher! (DAN enters, pushing a body on a gurney. Stops mid-stage with enthusiastic, flamboyant flair.)
SIMONA (Smiles, always amused by Dan. Her mood lightens. She's waking up.) Hi! (Looks at body Dan is pushing.) And who is this?
DAN This is Mrs. Craig!
SIMONA (Peers at body.) Are those ants?
DAN Yup. She's got ‘em alllllllll over. What’s up with the family? Anyone gonna see her?
RICK Nope. I just spoke to her daughter and she's the next of kin. Kid's in college in Michigan, getting ready to take a mid-term.
SIMONA Well that's a bummer for her…
RICK Yeah, I know. She’ll make arrangements after class. I’ll email her everything. We’ll ship the urn to her dorm in a couple weeks.
(Dan pulls a can of Raid from his apron pocket and starts shaking it.) DAN Ok, well I’m gonna kill these little guys.
RICK Get her in cardboard, please. That's all we need for this one.
DAN (Cheerfully, to Simona.) Want to give me a hand?
SIMONA Not really, but I will.
(Simona and Dan move offstage, pushing the gurney. JILL JONES, funeral home owner extraordinaire, walks in, passing Simona and Dan as they exit. They both greet her. She is confident, arrogant and very well-dressed.)
RICK Morning, Jill.
JILL (Disinterested.) Good morning. (Gestures toward Mrs. Craig’s body.) That the only new one?
RICK Nope, we got five in last night. (Jill brightens up, rubs her hands together.)
JILL Oh, yeah? Let's hope they’re all burials.
RICK Care to take a family in a few minutes?
JILL Sure. What family?
RICK The Gepson’s are on their way right now. Simona’s helping Sher at 9:30 and I’ll try to get Joe to help a family after lunch. We might have to double up today.
JILL That's fine. I want all families served today. No putting anyone off until tomorrow...
RICK Ok, we’ll do our best. There are five families.
JILL (Firm, looking Rick in the eye.) I don’t care. Get ‘em in here. I don’t want to lose any more cases to those bastards at Haven’s Chapel.
(Looks in mirror and fluffs hair.) I’ll wait in the front office for the Gepsons. Get the papers ready and bring them to me, please.
(JOE MEAD, a paunchy and spectacularly grouchy embalmer in his late fifties shuffles in from the garage.)
JOE (Mumbles) Good morning.
RICK Morning, Joe.
JOE There's some lady in the parking lot, wavin’ her arms in the air.
RICK (Sternly, with concern.) Uh oh. Waving her arms?
JOE Yeah, she’s on her phone and she’s pacin’ around and doin’ this. (Joe demonstrates, flailing his arms.)
RICK Probably Simona's 9:30.
(Simona approaches, peeling off her latex gloves.)
SIMONA Hey, Joe.
JOE You got a lady comin’ in kid? I think she’s out in the parking lot. (Chuckles.)
SIMONA Yeah, that's probably Sher’s daughter.
(Just then, the front door bell rings. Rick and Joe look at Simona like "You're up!" and she rushes off to greet her first arrangement of the day.)