Alice was never the sort of person to care much what other people thought about her strange appearance. The tattoos and the piercings were certainly her business and not a concern for others. The fact that she liked black best of all and always wore a silver cross around her pretty neck didn't make her a freak like the druggies over on Mission. Her parents had pretty much disowned her ever since the accident with the fire at the day-care center. No matter how much she protested her innocence and pleaded with them to give her another chance, they insisted she find her own accommodations and make her own way in life. She had thought her father would be more understanding because she knew deep down inside he liked her better than her dried-up old prune of a step-mother.
She had moved in with Tracy her best friend who seemed have her special problems and baggage far worse than Alice's mundane mistakes. Tracy was slim and shapely and a girl of color who strutted around on the highest heels imaginable letting her booty roll to and fro like a low slung ship with lots of ballast in the bilges. She concentrated on staying out of Tracy's way and making sure her half of the rent was in her hot little fist each Friday night.
It was easy to get a job at the Thrifty Town to just pack the plastic and paper bags and help people out to their cars with their groceries. They weren't allowed to take tips because it was store policy. She got $8.46 an hour and after all the mysterious stuff was deducted from her paycheck she wound up with $211.50 each Friday which she immediately transferred to Tracy because her half of all the living expenses was $800. She wasn't allowed to work more than 29 hours each week because of some rule on the health care fiasco. By that third week with no extra cash in her hand, she realized it would be necessary to find a second job and it didn't make any difference to her because she had no boyfriend to go out with and no place to go to spend money.
The kindly old lady that she carried groceries out to the car for told her of an opening in a nearby funeral parlor. Alice was not very keen on the idea of working in a funeral parlor what with all the stiffs all over the place but when she found out it was sort of an "under the table" job and she could keep the entire $10 an hour, she agreed right away hoping the supply of corpses continued unabated in the near future.
Since most of the viewing were in the evening hours after people got off from work, the fit with her other job was perfect. There was no limit on the number of hours she could work and she managed to work 50 hours that first week. Not wanting to keep the money in the apartment because Tracy had some weird looking friends, she opened a bank account and in less than six months had slightly over $10,000 in the bank. She knew the teller was looking at her strange probably thinking she was selling it on the side to get ahead.
Mister Christopher at the funeral parlor was happy with her work taking care of the clients and making sure they were comfortable for the showings. They never got any feedback from the deceased because they were already embalmed and all and not likely to make much sense. Unlike the job at the grocery store, she could accept gratuities from the family and friends of the dead people and she made out real good on that score but she kept that money under the mattress in her bedroom. Alice had no idea at all at how much she had accumulated under the mattress but it was starting to get a little lumpy in the middle of the bed.
They had two funerals this evening and she was in charge of the one in the main wing. There had to be at least a hundred people in attendance and there were enough flowers to start a flower shop. The deceased was getting the "Deluxe" send-off complete with violins and even an aria by some Italian Diva. She looked at the particulars on the brochure and it simply identified him as Salvador "Sal" Sorrentino lately of Brooklyn, New York and that he was 29 years old.
Most of the attendees were older gents with young chicks as their partners so she assumed they were either "Trophy Wives" or girlfriends. At the end of the service she got a $100 bill from the stout man with the big beer belly who seemed to be the "go to" man for all the others in the group. The young girl at his side told her,
"This is Mister Rizzoli, kid. He wants you should know you did a good job here. Take this card and give him a call if you find yourself out of work or something."
The old guy didn't say a word almost as if it would be inappropriate for him to chat up a broad at his nephew's funeral.
She didn't think too much of it but was glad she kept the card when she found out the grocery store was laying her off at the end of the month because they needed to boost their bottom line. Fortunately, she had plenty of dough under the mattress to keep her rent straight with Tracy for a while but she hated to touch the funds in the back because it was like an emergency stash.
The job at the funeral parlor was still going fine and she had even started to do some cosmetic re-touch work on the stiffs in the basement to help out the Puerto Rican lady who tended to booze it up over the weekends. She was a little scared at first but they were already all scooped out inside and in no danger of coming up off the table anytime soon. She liked working with the women best of all because she had this sort of fetish for dressing up her dolls when she was a lot younger.
Mister Rizzoli's secretary was a voluptuous blonde with a pair of diamond studded glasses that made her look a little like Dolly Parton. His office was sort of Spartan with no frills to be found anywhere. When she called him Mister Rizzoli, he told her, "Call me Carmine". After that she was a lot more at ease and when he told her to come behind the desk she didn't hesitate because she kind of liked his take charge attitude.
.... There is more of this story ...