The Mark and The Mole

By E Walk

(Copyrighted by the author)

Edited by Radio Rancher

Chapter 15 - The Arrangements

We were getting ready to leave and, out of the clear blue, Dad decided, "I think I'd better go too, since I may be driving the guys back and forth. We'll take my van, since we can all fit in it. Kevin and Chad can share the driving. Mike, why don't you call Father Tom and tell him that we will meet him at the church at 2:00 o'clock?"

As we started to the van, Grandmother handed us a sack, "Here are some sandwiches and goodies, so you can save time going by eating your lunch in the van. We'll save your dinner for when you return."

It is a good thing that Kevin started out driving because, the four adults were discussing all things that needed to be done. Finally Chad had all he could take, "Could we please slow down? I am having a difficult time trying to remember everything that everyone is saying. Can we just go one step at a time? The first thing is that we are scheduled to do is meet with Father Lawler at 2:00."

I could tell that Chad was upset, so I put my arm around him, "Chad, everything will fall into place. I agree, we need to take this one step at a time. We need to talk to Father Lawler and start from there. He may well know more about what is happening than any of us."

Kevin pulled into a rest area. Tim took the bag that Grandmother had given us and took it to an empty picnic table. It was a little brisk, but she had included a thermos of hot chocolate and a thermos of hot coffee. We didn't waste much time eating because of the briskness. After we visited the restroom facilities, we made our way to Iowa City. Tim directed Kevin to the Church.

I was surprised when both Father Lawler and Father Leahy were waiting for us. They hugged both Tim and Chad and shook hands with the rest of us. Father Leahy took the initiative, "Gentlemen, when would you like the service and what kind of service would you like?"

Chad was very businesslike, "Father Leahy, what are our options? This is not something we are prepared to discuss, yet. What would you and Father Lawler recommend?"

I looked at the other three adults and they were anticipating what Father Leahy might have to say. He passed the buck, "Chad and Tim, I suggest that Father Lawler accompany you and your friends to the police station to see what needs to be done there. The church schedule is open, but keep in mind that this is a holiday weekend so it might be difficult to get things done as quickly as I think you might like. I am willing to do whatever it is you two young men decide you want. I will support you. Both Father Lawler and I will make every effort to make it seem as if your parents' deaths were nothing out of the ordinary."

Chad was very gracious, "Father Leahy, thank you. I want to keep this funeral service as low key as we can. I don't want to draw any unwanted attention to my sons and my brothers and sisters. Mr. Walker and his father and grandmother are there to be pillars for us. Father Lawler, if you will take us to the police station, perhaps we can clear that hurdle next."

I think that the four of us adults and the two Fathers were somewhat caught by surprise at Chad's maturity. Chad decided he would ride with Father Lawler to the police station. He was talking to Father Lawler about the funeral service.

Chad asked, "Father Lawler, could you arrange for an organist and someone to sing a song or two. I don't want the person to sing anything like `How Great Thou Art' but perhaps something like `Here I Am Lord' meaning that Mr. and Mrs. Harmon realized they were going to need all of the help they could get to enter into heaven."

Father Lawler was taken aback by Chad's comment. "Chad, your attitude is not very Christian like."

"Father Lawler, how am I supposed to feel. Just think, they abandoned me and my sons and they drove Tim away. You saw how they were treating my other brothers and sisters, and you want us to still love and respect them. Father, that can't happen. I'm sorry, but that is how I feel. Quite frankly, Father Lawler, I am beginning to feel like there is more here than meets the eye, and I am not sure I want to know what it is. I only want to make life better for my sons and my brothers and sisters."

Any further dialog was stopped by our arrival at the police headquarters. Chad left the dealings with the police to Mike's father and Frank. They found out that the autopsy had been completed and that the inspection of the house had been accomplished. The police gave us permission to enter the Harmon house.

Before we could leave, the coroner arrived and asked what mortuary we would be using. That threw Chad and Tim for a loop, but Dad saved the day. "Guys, I would recommend that we call the Gussler Funeral Home. I have been to a number of viewings and services there and they have always seemed to be tastefully done."

Father Lawler nodded, "I agree with Mr. Walker. The Gussler home is less showy than most of the funeral homes. I think you will be pleased."

I could almost see Chad let out a big sigh of relief as he looked at Tim. "Okay, let's call the Gussler Funeral Home and see if they can pick up the bodies and if they are available to make arrangements today."

The police sergeant called the number and handed the phone to Chad. He in turn handed it to Dad. Dad started to speak, "This is Bryce Walker, we have two bodies at the city morgue that we would like for you to pick up. Is anyone available to make the funeral arrangements? ... Great, we can be there in thirty minutes. ... The two people to be picked up are Mr. and Mrs. Harold Harmon. ... Yes, that is the couple, so we may need you to be very discreet on how we handle the burial."

Dad handed the phone back to desk sergeant. "Thank you sir, if you need to talk to us for any reason, we can be reached at 555-515-6217."

We drove to the funeral home with Dad riding with Father Lawler and Chad. `Who knows what was being said in that car?'

We pulled into the parking lot of the Gussler funeral home and the lot was almost filled. We walked in and the attendant asked which viewing we would like to attend. Tim spoke for the group, "We are supposed to meet with Mr. Gussler about our parents' funeral arrangements."

The young gentleman spoke very quietly, "You must be the Harmon party. Mr. Gussler is waiting for you in his office. Let me show you where it is."

When we entered, there was a nice sitting area and a young man in his 30s with blond hair and green eyes joined us. He had a note pad. After the introductions, the young man, whose name was Todd, didn't waste any time, "Gentlemen, I guess you must have realized that the Harmons have prepaid for their funerals. They have even picked out the caskets they wanted to be buried in. I guess the only decisions that need to be made are when you would like the viewing and the service."

Chad asked, "Might we see the caskets they picked out?"

The young man stood, "If you will follow me, I will show you what Mr. Harmon picked out. I must admit that I was somewhat confused by his choices."

We walked into a room that had approximately twenty different samples of caskets. Mr. Gussler showed us a very ornate one, "This is the one that Mr. Harmon wanted to be buried in." He then pointed to a very plain casket and announced, "This is the one he chose for Mrs. Harmon."

I watched Chad and Tim and was surprised when Tim took the initiative, "Mr. Gussler, how much money would we be able to recover if we had Mr. Harmon buried in a plain coffin similar to Mrs. Harmon's."

"Tim, everything has been prepaid. I will need to talk with my Dad and brother to see how we can take care of the monetary arrangements. In the meantime, the funeral home will take care of the all costs associated with the funeral from the obituary and the costs involved in the service to include the fees for the church, the organist, the soloist and even the florists."

Chad didn't bat an eyelash, "Mr. Gussler, we want the cheapest caskets that you have, and we would like to have the caskets closed immediately after the visitation. Our younger brothers and sisters do not need to be reminded of this terrible event. Now, would it be possible to have the visitation from 6:00 to 7:00 on Tuesday night, here at the home. Father Lawler, could we have the service at the church at 10:00 on Wednesday morning?"

Father Lawler nodded his head, "Chad and Tim, you heard what Father Leahy said. We will do whatever you ask."

"Mr. Gussler, we want a private interment at the cemetery following the service, with no graveside services." Chad looked like he was thinking. "Mr. Gussler, will you take care of getting the graves dug? I think I remember Mr. and Mrs. Harmon saying they had already paid for plots at Holy Cross Cemetery."

Mr. Gussler was surprised, "But your father stipulated that he wanted a full funeral service with lots of flowers and people mourning."

Chad was adamant, "Mr. Gussler, Mr. Harmon is no longer here. Now please make arrangements for the obituary to specifically request no flowers. Please also announce that the family is residing elsewhere and ask that no one bring food to the house since no one will be there."

Mr. Long stepped in, "Chad and Tim. You might want to ask that the obituary ask that memorials be made to the Harmon Children Education Fund, in care of St Patrick's Church in Iowa City. That way no one except Father Lawler and Father Leahy will really know where you are residing."

Father Lawler intervened, "Mr. Long, I think it would be better if all checks were made to the Harmon Children Education at either Frank's or your law offices and give your addresses. That way people would not be confused and think they were giving it to the church. We will get some money, but we will forward it to you. Chad and Tim, you need to think of who you want to be the trustee of the account."

Chad and Tim were on overload, but Mr. Gussler still had some questions. "Guys, do you know your parents' full names, when and where they were born and who the other living relatives might be?

Chad thought for a minute, "Mr. Harold Henry Harmon was born on April 1, 1958 in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. Mrs. Thelma Mae (Harris) Harmon was born on August 27. 1975 in Belleville, Illinois. Mr. Harmon was stationed at Scott Air Force Base when they met."

Frank looked concerned, "Chad, your Father was 17 years older than your Mother?"

Chad looked at Tim who answered, "That sounds about right. Mr. Harmon had been married twice previously, before he got Mrs. Harmon pregnant and had to marry her. Chad and I are the result of the pregnancy"

Dad Long was concerned, "Did he have any offspring from those marriages? This could complicate matters. Let's hope that your parents

left a will."

Chad shook his head, "The only reason that Tim and I know about the previous marriages was that Mrs. Harmon would always bring them up when they were arguing, after they thought we were asleep. They had a hate-hate relationship. I think Mr. Harmon was physically abusive of Mrs. Harmon."

Father Lawler stopped anymore of this discussion, "Gentlemen, I think we should be going, unless Mr. Gussler has any questions."

Todd Gussler nodded, "I do need some more information. Here, let me give you this form. Please call me here at the funeral home with the rest of the information. I'll be here until 8:30 at least tonight."

Dad stood, "Mr. Gussler, if you need to get in touch with us, please call us at 555-515-6217."

I was watching Kevin. I think he was getting an education about things that he had no idea existed. As we were walking to the vehicles, he surprised everyone, "People, this is more than my mind can absorb. Things like this don't really happen, do they?"

Dad Long looked at Kevin, "Grandson, you and Kendra have no idea how sheltered you have been for all of your lives. What Chad and Tim are experiencing is just the tip of the iceberg. I have the feeling that we are just about to uncover even more information when we visit the Harmon house. Chad, why don't you and Father Lawler lead the way?"

Author's note: If you would like to read more of this story and other interesting stories you might want to visit


Editor's Notes:

Well that was quite a handful, wasn't it? There was a lot of crud to be sorted out. And heaven only knows what other shocking things they will find at the house. I will never understand how some people can call themselves religious and yet treat their God given children, the most precious gift ever bestowed on people, like they are worthless garbage. I can certainly understand how both Tim and Chad would feel little to no desire to feel sad that those two individuals put an end to their lives. I am certain that neither Chad or Tim would actually hate them, it is most likely just somewhat of a relief that they will no longer have to be frightened as to what terrible things the so called parents might try to pull to make their lives more unpleasant. I am suspecting that the father still thought of himself as a very important person and therefore deserved a fancy funeral and a beautiful coffin. I do wonder what he will find when he meets his fate? I somehow feel that it wo n't be quite as nice as he might think it will be. I wonder too, what his wife was thinking when she pulled the trigger? I for one fervently hope they both get exactly what they deserve. I say that with all my heart, knowing that they really didn't love any of their children. Let's hope things will be better by the time we finish the next chapter.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher