#43

Alma stared at Paul’s face, not registering fully his words.  She repeated them to herself in her head. ‘Alma, I am sorry to inform you, Harlan’s body is missing.’
“Paul, what do you mean Harlan’s body is missing. Honey, Harlan is dead.  He died tonight at the hospital.  T. J. and that nice young girl that works at the funeral home came and got him.  Really, I just never would have imagined a young woman like her taking to the funeral business.  But you know, she just has a real nice way of dealing with family. Harlan said to me that she had a calling and that must be it.”
“Alma, did you hear me?”
“Hear you what? What did you say?”  The words still didn’t make sense to Alma.
“Alma, Harlan’s body is missing.”
“No, it isn’t it is at the funeral home.”
“Alma, T.J. called the police when he got to the funeral home.”
“Yes?”
“T.J. called the police because the body. Harlan’s body was not in the vehicle.”
“But T.J. and Sam, that’s her name Sam.  Like a man, but I think it is short for Samantha. They took Harlan’s body, . . . what do you mean T.J. said it was missing? That doesn’t make sense Paul.”
“I know it doesn’t.  T.J. said that he put Harlan in the vehicle, Sam walked over to get her vehicle.  She was on call and had met him at the hospital. She drove her car and had parked. She walked over to get her parked car while T.J. went in to get coffee from the cafeteria.”
“Well, I can understand that.  The hospital does have very good coffee.”
“When T.J. came back Sam had pulled her car up to the funeral vehicle. T.J. got in and drove to the funeral home.  At the funeral home, he realized Harlan wasn’t in there.”
“Sam? Is she ok.  You keep telling me about T.J., is Sam ok?”
“Yes, Sam is fine.  She said she did hear something when she was walking away, she looked around the parking lot, but saw nothing.”
“So someone may have taken his body while Sam was walking across the parking lot?”
“Honestly, I don’t have any facts, but that is what we are looking at; I just don’t want to venture any further until I have more to go on.”
“Oh, Paul, you don’t think Sam or T.J. for that matter have anything to do with this!”
“No, not at this time.  They are both upset and very cooperative.  T.J. said to tell you that if you want to talk to him, don’t hesitate to call. He said he was so sorry.  It shook him up quite a bit.”

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