This sort of interview, was with a Mortuary Make-up Artist who sat next to me at a wedding. The Groom worked with my husband. It started out as a friendly conversation. Then some weird vibe started, I was intrigued and…always wanted to be a ‘Sneaky Reporter. First I was incognito. The interrogation, I mean interview, went something like this:
Undercover Mortician’s Wife: “So, I heard Ryan telling someone you’re a Mortuary Make-up Artist. I didn’t know that could be a private business.”
Mortuary Make-up Artist (Susan): Her elevator speech: “When grandma dies, it’s somebody’s job to prepare her for the open-casket. I paint her, powdered her and give her one last makeover so she’ll look her best for her date with eternity. Sorta like the Lancome Lady”
Undercover Mortician’s Wife: Lancome, come on – Really. You can’t be THAT good? Real question: “Is this something you wanted to do, growing up?”
AKA Lancome Lady (Susan): “No, I thought it was an odd profession. But then, I had a bad experience at a relative’s funeral. I wasn’t impressed with the make-up, and thought, “I could do better.”
Some Pain in the-Ass next to me: “Hi, I’m Melissa.”
Undercover Mortician’s Wife: “Hey Melissa.”
Undercover Mortician’s Wife: “Any hoo. What sort of training is involved?” Trick question. Mortuary College (yes). Practicing on your drunk Uncle (a little).
AKA Lancome Lady (Susan): “You study anatomy, chemistry, law, pathology, ethics—everything you might encounter in a mortuary. Makeup is part of the curriculum. You study color theory, and learn about non-thermogenic makeup . . . .
Undercover Mortician’s Wife: Wow, very impressive. “What’s Non-thermogenic?”
Okay, creditable…Mortuary Make-up Artist (Susan): “Thermogenic makeup is makeup for live skin; body heat breaks it down so it applies properly. But on dead skin, it just crumbles or blots. Non-thermogenic is what we use for the decedents; it’s specially made.
Undercover Mortician’s Wife (daydreaming): Man, that explains a lot. Years ago, I used something in Morty’s make-up box that resembled foundation. No wonder everybody was giving me strange looks at that party.
Undercover Mortician’s Wife: “Is it ever scary? When you’re working on somebody, do you ever feel a “presence?”
AKA Lancome Lady (Susan): “Absolutely. I always feel the presence. A while back I was working late, all alone, and somebody coughed. I just about peed my pants. I always want to make sure the decedent is really dead. We have tests for that, like we hold a mirror under their nose to check for breath, or we give them an ammonia test. I’ve heard trapped air can make corpses sit up, or sigh . . .
Undercover Mortician’s Wife (thinking – loudly): Okay, enough. Just call’em a Dead Guy – alright? And, what makes you a paranormal expert. Just stick to the make-up Missy.
Undercover Mortician’s Wife (about to be Exposed): “They don’t sit up. That’s an urban myth. But they do make sounds. I mean, I’ve been told they…
Morty: “Hi Honey, I see you’ve met Ryan’s sister – Susan. Susan this is my wife – Lynne.”
Pissed Lancôme Lady (Susan): “What, why didn’t you tell me you were Married to someone in the business!!??”
Exposed Mortician’s Wife looking at Husband with BIG EYES Mouthing silent words…”RYAN’S SISSSSTER?” Face burning.
Embarrassed Mortician’s Wife (turning around to explain): “Susan, Susan.” Where’d she go? “Damn it.” Just starting to like her. Mmm, where’s Melissa.
Mortician’s Wife looking at Husband: “You always scare everybody away.
Husband (Morty): “ME?’