Mortimer Morte came from a long line of morticians. His father, Mortimer Jr., was a mortician. As was his grandfather, Mortimer Sr., and his great grandfather, Mortimer the Motheaten, and his great, great grandfather Mortimer the Mediaeval. And they had all made their fortunes through the time-honored practice of picking up, preparing and disposing of dead bodies.
Abominable, you say. Abominable, indeed! And at the onset of our story, you’re not entirely alone in this sentiment. Mortimer’s thinking the exact same thing, albeit it for different reasons. It’s not that Mortimer had anything against death, per se. It’s just that there are many things he’d rather do in life. He was, after all, only 15 years old and decidedly too young to bear the generational weight of his fusty forefathers.
In fact, Mortimer would try and look you in the eye, then openly reveal that he’d more reasonably drink a bleeding bowl then assume the Dismal Trade. “Oh, Indeed, ” you might have responded, perfunctorily, wanting nothing more than to be done with this burble; but then the conventions of gracious behaviour would have likely inspired your next question: “Well then, my dear boy, what would you care to do?”
And here it ends. Mortimer wouldn’t say. At least not now, and certainly not here, because Mortimer was convinced that the plaster walls in the Morte Funeral Parlour had ears. Even though they’d all slipped off and long turned to dust, he still believed that they were – everywhere, really, perhaps even hidden in the wallpaper, straining, listening.
There was no other explanation, reasoned Mortimer. He sensed them in the drafty hallways. They’d camouflaged themselves in his mother’s cadavarium and cat damasks, and then, with the slightest stimulus, they’d perk up, and like lotuses unfurl their grizzled lobes to catch, in flagrante, the tenor of defiance.
This, Mortimer was well aware, was then curiously punishable by a sudden increase in chores. Miseries of them. Tedious, time-consuming, back-and-balls-soaking, character-building, ministering-to-the-interminable-dead kinds of chores.
Now you understand why Mortimer looked around fearfully as he padded down the long, dreary hallway that led to the chapel. Once inside, he closed the double stained glass doors tightly behind him and, trying to avoid noticing the casket that had just been placed on the bier that morning, he walked into his favorite hardwood pew. Mortimer kneeled. He raised his slow, dark eyes heavenwards and collapsed his sweaty palms in prayer.
Dear blessed father who’s probably in heaven, please god…
And then Mortimer begged for shitty weather.
Because when the rain drummed down upon the roof, and paradiddles of thunder alternated with crisp attacks of lightening, and the wind rasped and howled and the screeching of the parlour’s brittle bones reached an impassioned pitch, only then could the faintest, almost imperceptible truth slip straight from Mortimer’s thin lips to God’s ears: Glam-Angst-Riff-Rant. I want to rock.