Once he got some overflow into the red-black gunk, he flipped the switch again, unplugged the body, and pushed it to a corner of the room, then trundled Travis’s body to the machine. Travis started feeling sick as he watched his nude body treated like so much dead meat. The embalmer picked up the X-acto knife and pushed Travis’ legs open. He seemed to mumble something and laughed, then cut deep into both femoral arteries in the upper thigh. Travis felt a twinge of sympathetic pain in his legs as the man sneered down at his lifeless body and stabbed the de-sanguinators deep into the open wounds. The man finally turned to face Travis, and he stared back at the familiar sneer. Harry Deeney. Travis had known Harry since primary school, and neither of them liked each other at all. Harry and Travis were the two biggest kids in primary, and Harry started pushing Travis around and in general bullying him. Harry had the advantage in mass, so he invariably won the fights when Travis tried to fight back.
Travis had a growth spurt in middle school and Harry went from being the bully to the bullied. Travis wasted no opportunity. He’d gotten sick of being bullied and it felt so good to put it to Harry. He’d pushed Harry the same way he’d been pushed. It felt so good, being on top that he’d started pushing others around too. It was fun, and big as he was, it was easy. Then, when he felt he had the world by the short hairs, he blew out his knee in the last game of the season. The college scouts that had come to see him play left without a word, and he was left, another casualty of fortune. He’d gotten to asking for the pain pills after the surgery to repair it, and started washing down the pills with beer, and later, hard liquor when the pain got really bad.
He’d gone through the next year in a haze of alcohol and pain medication. He felt drained, and surrounded by a soft fuzz that dulled every sense. Kimmy found him then. She was tending bar at the ‘Lazy Horse’ bar across from the truck stop out west. He was a frequent customer, and they’d started talking. Talk in the bar led to talk outside the bar, and to talk at home, and to other, ‘adult’ things. It was Kim that told him to quit the pills. She didn’t mind if he drank, but the drugs were out if he wanted her to stick around. She was three months pregnant when they married, and a month later, she lost the baby, they both started drinking hard.
Travis hit the bottle so hard it scared Kimmy. He passed out one night and she called the Goldsboro Rescue Squad. Her instincts were correct, and Travis barely pulled through alcohol poisoning. That seemed to give him a wake up call, as he got off the bottle and was sober until he started working for Hillaney Air Conditioning. The company built air conditioners, and Travis was desperate to get back on his feet and take care of Kimmy. The first six months were okay, but then a new manager, Mr. Robert Zillis, was hired.