Please welcome my friend Christine Falcone to the blog. In her post, Christine gives us a wonderful tale from true life. Christine’s debut mystery,
Ex’d Out: A Melanie Bass Mystery, was released on October 18th. Chris is giving a copy of Ex’d Out to one lucky commenter below.
Take it away, Chris!
A Visit To The Morgue
Melanie Bass, my protagonist in Ex’d Out, is a nurse and as such has had to deal with death. She was not prepared, however, to discover her ex-husband dead. She also never expected that he had somehow put her in jeopardy by his actions prior to his murder.
Like Melanie, prior to retirement, I worked as an RN. During this time, I was also writing – mysteries for the most part. As something wonderful or unusual or even very sad happened at work I would remind myself to remember it. Someday it would become grist for the mill.
A few years ago, I decided it would be beneficial to go to the morgue and really see what it was like, especially because at that time I was working on a story with a morgue attendant as the protagonist. A patient had sadly passed during my shift, his family had spent time with him and all the final paperwork was done and his body was ready to be transported to the morgue. This is usually done by two of our Environmental Associates. (Surprisingly, no one wants to go to the morgue alone!) I asked the EA whose job it was to transport the body if I could go with her. I got one of my fellow nurses to cover my patients and Lothel and I set off. On the walk there she told me how much she hated going to the morgue, how it gave her the willies. I assured her we would be there and back very quickly, nothing to worry about.
The hospital I worked at had an old system of tunnels beneath it that had formerly been used to transport patients and supplies between buildings before a new covered walkway system was built. However, the way we were to take to the morgue was through the tunnels. It was just as creepy as portrayed in old horror movies – hot, confined, mostly empty and you could hear footfalls on the tile floor from far away. I had trained in that hospital and as students many years before we traveled all over in them – even toward the morgue to prove our bravery and satisfy our morbid curiosity. So, I wasn’t bothered by our route.
When Lothel and I got to the morgue we rang a bell and an attendant let us in and checked our paperwork, then directed us to the morgue anti-room where bodies are left until they are logged in. I was curious to take a quick look around, noting the stretcher with another covered body on it and the jars of preserved who knows what lining the shelves. The door was heavy and without thinking, I let it close behind us. I heard Lothel’s panicked voice behind me “You locked us in! We can’t get out! What do we do now!” There was in fact no inside handle to open the door. The only thing to do was to yell and knock hard on the door to let the attendant know we were still in there. Even as we were doing it, I thought what a scene that would make – loud knocking coming from inside the morgue and shouts of let us out! Lothel tells me it was a long time until the attendant, a medical student, came to let us out, but in reality, it was only a couple of minutes. The medical student rather irritably pointed out that there was an ‘emergency’ handle on the upper right-hand side of the door to open it. Lothel never let me forget that day, and never trusted me to go to the morgue with her again.
This particular incident never made it into E’d Out, but I have a feeling it may find its’ way into book two. Another lesson learned – not all your friends want to participate in your research.
Readers: Have you ever had an experience that was scary but also kind of funny? Answer the question or just say, “hi” in the comments below to be entered to win a copy of Ex-ed Out.
About EX-D OUT
After their divorce, Visiting Nurse Melanie Bass must keep in contact with Dr. Artie Krapaneck, her philandering ex-husband as they share custody of her beloved dog, Bruno. When she arrives at a Connecticut highway rest stop to retrieve the dog for “her week” she discovers the body of her ex-husband along with that of an unknown woman. It seems that now Artie will finally be out of her life forever. He isn’t. He left a “legacy” that now puts Melanie’s own life in danger – as well as Bruno’s.
Christine Falcone lives on the Connecticut Shoreline with her family and a dog who is not nearly as well behaved as Bruno, the beloved canine in her novel.