I had never ridden in a hearse before and the experience was one that was quite unusual. In a way, I felt for the first time that I was someone special, like a mobster riding with other mobsters in a limousine to a gangland meeting. I also found it somewhat awkward to be facing people while riding in a hearse, especially my family members. I looked at all the people who sat around me and I could tell that they felt as awkward about the ride as I did. I rode in the hearse facing forward and directly across from me sat my father and mother. Behind them was a glass privacy partition that was tinted jet black which separated us from the driver. There was something about the partition that I didn't like, maybe it was the fact that I couldn't see the driver which made the car feel like it was driving by remote control or auto pilot.
As we made our way through the city streets with the ability to drive through red lights I looked out on the world and thought about my uncle, who earlier I saw lying dead in the coffin. I couldn't believe how skinny his face had looked, essentially looking like a skull with skin pulled tight overtop of it. This image of him haunted me in a deep manner as I knew that one day I would be just like him in a state of decomposition. I had asked my mother why he looked that way and she said it was because he was found many days after he had died and this was the best they could do to prepare the body. My uncle had looked ghastly no doubt and many people were shocked when the coffin lid was opened as they could not believe that a body would be shown in that state.
My mother also told me that her brother was extremely bitter towards all the members of the family and vowed revenge on them for screwing him out of a large chunk of an inheritance that he believed to be his. He had sent all of the remaining family members death threats through email and over the phone. He never followed up on any of them and died a bitter old man.
I looked through the side window as the lead hearse made a turn into the graveyard. I wondered what the hearse driver thought about making a living driving a car with dead bodies in the back. He probably got paid okay, I guess. We were nearing the graveyard and the lead hearse all of a sudden became many car lengths ahead as we got caught in a traffic jam at an intersection just before the graveyard. I watched the lead hearse cross a set of railroad tracks and enter the graveyard. Only seconds later the hearse had stopped, its back door opened and the coffin was pulled out by the pall bearers but one of the men slipped and the coffin fell onto the ground which caused the lid to open, but there was no body inside. Our hearse lurched ahead in the traffic to beat a train coming around the bend. And just as we were crossing the tracks the hearse driver stopped the vehicle for no reason and the train, now only a hundred feet away, blasted its horn.
Then the tinted partition in the hearse came down and the driver turned around. It was the face of my uncle's corpse smiling at the family, knowing he had finally got his revenge. The last thing we heard was the thunder of train roaring down the tracks.