Thursday 14 July 2022

Thinking Ahead by Shirley McCann, Earl Grey tea


“Roy, shut the door. You want the neighbors to see?”

“Relax, Janet. What do we care if they see a coffin in our living room?” He narrowed his eyes. “How did you get it in here, anyway? And why is it in the living room?”

“The Amazon delivery guy was too freaked to take it any further into the house. Especially after I had him back his blue van into the garage so the neighbors couldn’t see it.”

“Amazon? You got a coffin from Amazon?”

“Where else could I order one and get it delivered to the house?”

Roy laughed. “You mean he didn’t ask any questions?”

“He did seem nervous about coming inside. He kinda hesitated for a bit until I dangled a hundred-dollar tip under his nose. But he drew the line at moving it into the bedroom, so I’ll need your help with that.”

Roy nodded. “Sure, but why did you only get the one?”

“I thought we might want to test it out first and make sure it’s comfortable.”

He scratched his head. “Oh, yeah. That’s probably a good idea.” He started to lift one end of the coffin when the doorbell rang.”

“Officer?” Janet said when she opened the door. “What can we do for you?”

A uniformed policeman peered over Janet’s shoulder into the living room.

“Officer Perkins,” he introduced himself. “Some of your neighbors called in a complaint.”

Roy lowered his end of the coffin. “What kind of complaint?”

“Is that a coffin?” Perkins asked, his mouth hanging open.

“Yep. That’s exactly what it is.” Janet moved aside, allowing him entry, but he remained by the door.

“Let me guess, the neighbors think we’ve got a dead body in here.” Roy laughed. “I was afraid that might happen.”

Perkins rubbed his chin, his eyes narrowed. “So, do you want to explain why you have a coffin in your house?”

“It’s really very simple.” Roy wiped his brow.

“I’m listening.”

“Do you have any idea how much coffins cost these days? With the cost of inflation, the price is just going to keep going up. And who knows how long anyone is going to live?”

Perkins nodded as if he understood, although Roy was sure he didn’t understand at all.

“We’re preparing for our demise,” Janet pitched in. “By ordering our own coffins now and using them as beds, we’ll save a lot of money in the long run. Instead of waiting for the prices to become so exorbitant no one will be able to bury us, we’ll already have our coffins ready.”

“You’re going to be sleeping in that?”

“Of course,” Roy said. He opened the lid. “It’s actually very comfortable. All we need is one more and we’ll each have our own coffin when we’re ready for the great beyond.”

Perkins shuffled his feet. “Um, okay. I guess I’ll just put that in my report.” He appeared unconvinced but left without further comment.

Roy climbed into the coffin and placed his hands on his stomach. “This really is comfortable. I could sleep in here forever.”

“That’s the plan, “Janet said. “Now how about some Earl Grey tea and a stack of pancakes while I place the second order?”

About the author

Shirley McCann's fiction has appeared in Woman's World, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, and The Forensic Examiner, as well as numerous other publications. Visit her website at Or email her at 

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