The wake went about as well as could be expected, and given the size of Mr. Simmons’s extended family, it was a very nice turnout. Things had quieted down by around 6:30 that evening and Mr. Kim wheeled the coffin containing the elderly man’s body out of the chapel of rest once the last family member had departed and brought it into a viewing parlor where three other deceased lay in their coffins waiting for their funerals. As he was preparing to leave the room, a familiar voice piped in.“Hey, Mr. Kim. How’s the family?” It was James, a tall, 29-year-old good-looking black male that had been working for the funeral home for around two years as their regular night-shift guy.

“Oh, hey Jimmy,” he replied politely. “They’re doing just fine. In fact, we’re going to dinner with her parents at that new seafood place off of Whitaker. So, I’ve got to get home and get ready.”

“No worries, man. You guys get out of here whenever. I’ve got a couple shows I’m going to watch on the laptop, so it should be an easy night. Anything new I need to know?”

“Nope, not really. We got a couple new clients in, but I don’t think the boss needs anything particular. Enjoy the shows. Are you still trying to catch up on Game of Thrones.”

“Of course. I love me some Daenerys, man.” James smiled at Mr. Kim and waved as he walked down the hall to the small office the night-shifters usually hung out in and got his Acer laptop out of his backpack and got it plugged in. He logged in and messed around with his Netflix account until he was sure that he heard both the director and Kim get their stuff, go out the back door, and lock up. He waited another five or so minutes for them to drive away so that he was certain he was alone.

James may very well have enjoyed Game of Thrones, but he had another passion too, and Game of Thrones certainly wasn’t going anywhere.

Certain that he was now alone in the quiet funeral home, he shut the lid on his laptop and walked out in the main hallway, looking around out of instinct and then shaking his head. He turned and went down the hall, making a right and reaching the double doors that led into the viewing parlor. In his hurry, Mr. Kim had left the doors unlocked, which would save James the effort of going back to get the key out from the funeral director’s desk. He entered through the doors and shut them behind him, flicking on one of the nearby light switches and turning on a bright lamp on a table near the corner. Three caskets lay in the middle of the room, the top half of each open. A couple other caskets lined the far wall, presumably to be used in the next day or two.

The tall man walked up to the white oak casket that was closest to the door and peered in. Laying at rest inside was a middle-aged hispanic woman with long, black hair, gentle features, and bright red lipstick. She was wearing an elegant, blue velour sweater and her recently-manicured hands with cherry red nail polish were folded carefully across her breasts. James reached along the edge of the lower lid, feeling for the clasps that held it down, his fingers carefully searching until at last they found it. With a quick tug, the clasps came out of place and he lifted the white lid so he could get a better look at her lower half. The woman’s family had chosen some soft, silky black dress pants that tapered off at her mocha-toned ankles, leaving her soft, lightly-wrinkled bare feet pressed against the pink inner-lining of her burial vessel. A plastic, bar-coded anklet was affixed to her right ankle, presumably put there by the hospital morgue, while a blue toe-tag was tied around her left big toe, the tag itself resting on the top of her foot.