Teeminhoffer was late, but no one held it against him, as he was dead. He hadn’t been dead long, so didn’t know the ropes. He hadn’t been to the training session of how to change diapers by rolling them up under the guy, and then sticking the new diaper up under the old one, rolling him back over. So, he was going to be a little nervous when faced with doing that right off the bat.
“Which kind of bat are we talking about here?” Norman is serious.
“The baseball kind.”
“Oh, good. I thought probably, but I wasn’t sure.” Bat whistling sounds, wings flapping, and a wide eyed look with his dry lower lip stuck in under his yellowing front teeth lets you know what he is referring to.
People crowded around the elderly at the workshop for how to care for your loved ones as they aged. The elderly consisted of one man, Norm, lying down on a bed on pink sheets.
“Are you implying something by that remark?”
“No, Norm, just sayin’”
Teeminhoffer was supposed to be showing the trainees how to do some of it, as he was one of the recruited trainers. There was no money available to pay the trainers, so the committee of the town of Powell resorted to using dead people, but not the old, decaying ones, just fresh ones. Those who were kept youthful by their hope for going up to heaven in the Rapture. It did wonders for their skin, that hope.
The people who had gathered to learn decided to set something on fire, had a little arson getting up in their blood. They were getting anxious, without the excitement of training. Norm was starting to snore, though he was still awake. His bed was situated on a rolling hill among many rolling hills, which could be easily seen as far as the eye could look, covered with some kind of purple flowering crop.
“Snort!” says Norm, as, obviously, anyone at this point telling the story should know what kind of plants they are. Sorry.
They started kicking diapers around, and one of the dozen folks set fire to one diaper with his handy lighter and kicked that one around as it flamed. The kittens on the hillside screeched, and dodged, leaped and grabbed, and hid behind people’s legs, making them go OW.
The smoke got to Teeminhoffer’s nostrils, and got him up out of the hammock. He was luxuriating in the timelessness of death, no longer truly feeling the need for linear time, a watch, chronology, as he was looking at the world from an advanced perspective. Everything happening at once, eternity in an instant.
He ran through the purple flowering crops, in the sunshine, hearing the screeching growing louder, following the smoke. “Sorry I’m late, gang!”
They were laughing so hard, they didn’t notice, until someone bumped into him, and went “EWW!”
“Put on your gloves, Teeminhoffer. Time to get going with this thing.”
He did, and bent over Norm to show the first lesson: how to change his diapers.
“So, when you undo them, you first bend back the little tabs here, or they stick to him. Just do that right off the bat.” Norm started shivering, and couldn’t contain his bat wing imitation, making high pitched whistles, and shining his eye maniacally.
“Now, get him to roll over.”
“Woof! Woofwoof!” said Norm. He panted, and rolled to his side, grabbing the bars on the edge of his bed. He squinted, as the late afternoon sun was in his eyes.
“You take out a new diaper, open it out, like this, get this side ready to go under his butt. Set it on his pillow. Now, start roooooollllling the old one up under him, and push it under his butt. Then, take the new one and push it under the old one, under his butt.”
“But…! But…!” sputtered Norm, grinning. “I’m going under!” He splayed his body out, and thrashed, as if he were drowning. He was a bit of a card.
“I heard that,” he says. So, of course, he flattens himself out as much as humanly possible, raising his shoulders up, squeezing his arms close to his body, and lying stiffly. “And guess which one I am?”
“A Royal Flush?”
“Ha ha, you idiot. Now, do you know better than that, or what?” asks Norm. He settles down, worn out by the stupidity.
Teeminhoffer continued with the rest of the diaper lesson, the catheter changing, finger pricking, blood pressure taking, and so on. He was thinking about how he’d be tired if he were alive, and wanting coffee. But he was free. He needed nothing. No naps. No sex. No nothing. He smiled bigger and bigger. The trainees looked a little jealous. They picked at the diaper to straighten it, looked again at the blood sugar log book, wiped the sweat off their foreheads.
Class ended, and the volunteers grabbed Norm’s bed by the metal handles on the sides to pull it.
“SQUAAUUK!” yells Norm, imitating a pullet.
Teeminhoffer thought about how soon Norm would be inhabiting the world outside of time, just as he did, able to watch the action, from afar, being in it, as he had been, but also reading the minds of those who remember it, influencing the minds of those who would be told the stories in the future, doing whatever he wanted. He knew Norm would fully take advantage of that opportunity, while Teeminhoffer was more interested in getting back to his hammock stretched between two oak trees.
Norm lifted up his head as he was being pulled along in his bed, squeezing his lips together, and making his eyes look fierce, his cheeks lifted up in an uncontrollable grin that he was trying to hide behind the bizarre face. He looked at one person in the group after another, enigmatically, waiting for a response. He’d look innocent, as if he were just an old man to be treated gently, as soon as they would grimace or grin, stare, or shake their heads. Then, they would look confused, embarrassed, sorry for their faux pax.
“I’ve got fo paws!” says Norm, holding up his hands, and lifting his feet up as high as he can with a sheet over them, wiggling his hands and feet, and going “Rhharrr!”