Waiting for a reaction he didn’t get, Mel said “yep. This used to be a funeral parlor. Those three bay doors in the garage was where they parked the hearses.” Then he said “I’m sorry, I’ve forgotten your name.”
“People call me Jones.” Then as casually as could be, said “I guess that old Troy walk-in ice box was where they kept the bodies.” Mel looked at him and said “go on.”
He got up and took Mel over to the little house, opened the door and showed him the icebox. “Do you want to have a look-see inside?” Mel took a step backward and said “nah, that’s alright.”
Mel again offered his services for the air conditioners and it was agreed that he would come check them out the next day. “Now, I won’t be going anywhere near that little house, understood?”
Jones nodded his understanding and then with a twinkle in his eye said, almost as if musing to himself, “that might explain the light in the middle window.”
Mel looked at him and without moving his lips said “seriously?” Jones said “seriously. I don’t see it every night but I see it quite often.”
Still looking at Jones like he expected his head to do a 360° turn, Mel started to stroll back to his truck and said “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Jones wondered if Mel would actually return after having been spooked by the icebox but the next morning, Mel and his crew showed up, just as he had promised.
Much to the dismay of Jones, Mel gave him some bad news. Both air conditioners were more or less shot and needed to be replaced. The summers were brutal there and Jones knew that it would be necessary to at least have some cool air at times, although he would continue to be frugal. A glass of ice-cold water and a fan were most times, all Jones needed.
The workers had the downstairs air working at the end of the day and promised a return for the top floor the next week.
That would prove to be a daunting task as the return was located in the attic, some twelve feet up. Not only that, but the access door was just big enough for a slender worker to get through. That posed a problem in not only getting the old one out, but getting the new one in.
Jones let them work and sweat and probably curse when out of earshot. He didn’t blame them. He was silently cursing at the aggravation and of course, the expense.
They took regular breaks, having a smoke and spraying themselves with the garden hose. During one of those breaks, one of them questioned him about the little house.
Jones delighted in telling them that the grand house used to be a funeral parlor and inside the little house was an antique ice-box. He told them that he believed the ice-box was where they kept the bodies cold. He offered to give three of them a peek and opened the creaky old door, now scarred by pressure washing. He took them in, opened the ice box door and they ran out squealing like little girls.
The foreman, named Walt, laughed at them and said “that kind of thing doesn’t bother me,” yet he showed no interest in going into the little house.
After an eight-hour tour in the attic, he came down and said they were going to call it a day. “We’ll be back at 8 tomorrow morning.”
Jones nodded and thanked them for their efforts. As Walt was gathering up his equipment, he turned and said “what are you going to do with all those old caskets in the attic?”
To be continued________________