I am despondent to report that after five months and over 20,000 miles of corpse driving, I am no longer a body van driver.
The Man took my beloved Mercedes Sprinter body movin’ van and replaced it with a desk and computer. Now I’m but a normal ‘ol funeral director in a HUGE six room office that no one else works in except me. I see precious few humans. Not even dead ones. It’s rather like a solitary confinement death bunker… at the end of the world. One day someone’s going to come in and find me whimpering under of a fort I constructed of cardboard urn boxes to “protect myself.”
I suppose in most circles this new job is considered a promotion. Driving 300+ miles a day while hauling corpses in and out and in and out of a van is a grueling task for the living body. Especially mine, which in its natural state is the lily skinned temple of a Victorian maiden that steps outside only to catch butterflies and read her novel in the strawberry patch. It’s an epic struggle against nature to keep taking these hyper physical/dirty cremation and corpse moving jobs, I assure you. But anything for the revolution!
I will not tell stories of those magical, grotesque things that did take place in my time as a corpse hauler- just yet. Instead, I will lament over those things that did not take place. Those events that, despite my most furtive wishing, never came to pass during my tenure as chauffeur to the dead.
Being Stopped by Border Patrol
Picture the scene. A large, unmarked white van moves slowly towards the front of the inspection line. The officer waves a Prius and a Volvo through, but as the van approaches- he smells trouble. What does that woman have in that big ‘ol van? Inmigrantes?! Explosives?! I must pull her over and investigate further. The woman rolls down her window. “You don’t got any people back there, do ya missy?” the officer drawls. “Eleven, officer” she replies, and, whipping off her sunglasses, “former US citizens.” “Former?” he asks, confused. “Oh they’re dead officer. Real dead.”
I’m not exactly sure why the border patrol officer and I have southern accents. Southern california doesn’t really count. And realistically the conversation would go more like, “can you open the back hatch, ma’am?” “Uuumm, yeah so it’s like, eleven dead people.”
Unfortunately, every time I rolled up and the officer saw it was a young smiling white woman I was waved right on through. Ne’r a bit of hesitation. I could have smuggled hundreds of Mexicans into the country in cremation containers! I could be a rich woman by now! The man who is taking my place driving the body van is a gentleman from Ecuador, so fingers crossed he’ll get to live the dramatic search scenario I never got. He’s probably not as excited about that as I am, methinks.
Getting into a Horrific Accident
Now just hear me out a second. I know I shouldn’t be having such morbid thoughts (kidding! that’s all I have) but this would be good. Say I got into a crash on the freeway. Wheels spinning out of control, screeching brakes, shattering glass. By the time the body van comes to rest, the back doors have flown open and all my eleven passengers have come flying out.
Corpses are littering the freeway. The police show up and chaos and confusion reign. How were there eleven fatalities? Why are these people all very dead, cold, and without signs of bodily trauma?
Once the smoke clears and they figure out that all these traffic fatalities were pre-dead, I’ll become an internet meme. I’ll likely be dead, which is fine, obviously I’m ready to go. My ironic slice of internet fame will come post mortem. There will be animated .gifs of corpses flying through the air. My little head photoshopped into a swirling Wizard of Oz style corpse tornado.
I used to dread getting into an accident. Not because I would potentially die, but because it would be on my way to pick up bodies. No sense dying in an empty body van, right?
Tragedy of Epic Proportions
Nobody likes a natural disaster. They’re a burden on the resources and force people to face their mortality in the least helpful & most terrifying way.
But- if there were to be one, my body van would be one of the hottest tickets in town. Most transport vehicles are for one, two, maybe three corpses at a time. Not the Sprinter, boy howdy. Eleven was the norm, but I could go twelve if I needed to. And with the volume that the crematory is able to handle, we’d be the hottest body disposal game in town, too.
There actually is a real live Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team! (or, DMORT). But I would be like, “whatever suckahs, I don’t need your institutional government disaster death response rules! I’m going rogue! I’m like the Tea Party of mass fatality death collection operations- for the people, by the people.” I could be the Florence Nightingale of body van drivers. Tending to the corpses with dignity and a stylish bonnet.
Alas, these are things never to be. I shall have to create new dreams as my life in death soldiers on.
Viva la muerte!