The door swung open to reveal what could perhaps be best described as a very tall and anorexic Santa Clause, or maybe a non-green bearded Praying Mantis.
Slim’s limbs were quit Mantis religiosa in appearance. His hands held slightly higher than his elbows and the slouch in his stance allowed his elbows to fall nearly to his hips. An equipment box of some sort was held tightly in his right hand and his left hand still hovered near the door in case another knock was needed.
“Yes, may I help you?” asked Clarence.
Clarence was dressed in scrubs and still had a surgical glove on his left hand, a pair of mounted magnifying glasses strapped to his forehead.
“Yes” said Slim. “My name is Slim and I am here to see Mister James Spinner.”
Clarence rolled his left wrist toward his eyes and glanced at his watch.
“I am sorry…Slim, but there is no viewing of our guests after hours, and as we closed more than half an hour ago you will need to come back tomorrow.” Clarence stepped back and grabbed the door.
Slim stepped forward and slowed the door as it moved toward him.
“I’m sorry Mister?”
“Mister Jabbs, Clarence Jabbs.” Said Clarence,
“Mister Jabbs, but I’m not here to actually visit Mister Spinner, I am here to work on Mister Spinner.”
“Work on Mister Spinner? I what sense are you going to work on Mister Spinner? This is my business I don’t allow other people to come in here and work Mister Slim.”
“Just Slim, no Mister please.” Said Slim.
“Okay Slim, look you can’t work on Mister Spinner. I have no idea who you are and besides Mister Spinner is unclaimed. The county will only pay the bare minimum for services on him, so whatever it was you wanted to do you can’t nobody will pay for it.”
“That is fine Clarence. You see I have already been paid for my services and that is precisely why I am here, because I have already been paid.” Said Slim.
“Exactly what is it that you want to do Slim?” asked Clarence.
Slim swung his left hand like a gun slinger down to his pants pocket and withdrew a slip of paper, he trust it at Clarence.
“That is the last request of Mister Spinner and I am here to carry it out.”
Clarence pulled the paper apart and read.
“A tattoo, I’m supposed to let you tattoo dead guy?”
“Yes Clarence, that is exactly what I want to do. Would you feel better if I let you see the design?” asked Slim.
“No I don’t want to see your design as a matter of fact I don’t want to see you anymore I need to get back to my work. Thanks for coming by.”
“But what about my tattoo?” asked Slim.
“I don’t care about your tattoo dude, you can’t just give me a note that says you get to tattoo a dead guy and I just let you go do it.”
“Yeah but I have to do it, I’ve been paid and I gave my word to Mister Spinner that I’d give him his last tattoo when he died.” Said Slim.
“Don’t know what to tell you man, but you are going to need to get a court order or a cop or some official person to tell me you can do it. Otherwise the only way you are going to see Mister Spinner is by coming tomorrow before we drop him in the ground over at Potter’s Field. Sorry it’s out of my hands Slim.”
With that Clarence closed the door and left Slim alone on the front porch of Jabbs’ funeral home. Slim rubbed his face and took in the view of the Colorado foothills to his right.
The only vehicle in the parking other than the Hurst was Slim’s old Panhead. Slim stowed his gear bag on the bike, fired it up and headed back in the direction of the little dive bar he had noticed on his way into town.