Funeral Fun - The attack

The garage at Newtown.
    It was a late night, just three of us were to work back after hours for a vigil when one of us was almost attacked.  This incident was perhaps one of the funniest things that has ever happened to me, I ended up laughing so much and so hard that I actually hurt my lungs a little.  I may sound a little strange or mean to laugh so much at the attack of another employee, but read on and see why.

    Three of us were working back late for a vigil, a nice bit of overtime on a pleasant evening.

    The other new guy was an older guy and thinks that he has learnt almost all there is to learn, that the younger people such as the conductor did not know as much as himself.  As a result he had made numerous mistakes over the few months he had worked at the company, and they were simple mistakes he could have avoided had he listened to others.  He also had a certain 'loudness' about him, not because of issues with hearing but as a way to hold dominance over others.  Literally speaking over others if they disagreed with him and often acting quite 'gruff'.  He was also a bit of a douce who nobody liked, out of the 14 staff at WNBull he had personally offended each and every one.  So it was not just my opinion.  Personally I did not mind him that much, you don't like to like someone to work with them.  He could be difficult, in fact he was mostly difficult, but he wasn't the end of the world.

    The conductor on the other hand was actually quite a decent person.  He had experience in the industry, which showed with his high quality work.  A fun person who was always good to work with.  So those were the two I had to work with, not bad considering and I was going to get a decent bit of overtime from it all.

The 'top' hearse at WNBull
    There had been a recent security scare, the garage had been left unlocked and unattended on a few occasions and someone had walked in.  Nothing came of it and they had run off when staff approached them, but it meant there had been a lot of talk about safety and security.  Here we were, late at night and alone.  Also at the Newtown office the garage and mortuary/offices are divided and we would have to wheel a coffin across this lane to the garage.  No issue as we did this all the time, but considering the time of night we decided to keep the gates locked until the last moment.  Better safe than sorry.

    The conductor called me into the mortuary and left the other new guy to open the gates as we came over with the coffin.  He did this as neither of us wanted to work with the other new guy.  There we were, in the mortuary, finishing up getting the coffin ready.  Suddenly we hear the other new guy calling out the conductors name desperately.  He called and called in a plaintive and panicked voice.  I honestly thought he had been hit by a car in the lane way or something.

    We look at each other, completely confused before dashing out to see what was going on.  I followed the conductor as the other new guy kept calling his name sounding more and more urgent.  As we leave the mortuary we see the other new guy.  He is at the gate to the lane holding back a very, very large islander guy.  The other new guy is sheepishly yelling "you can't come in", the islander guy is clearly not happy, yelling back at the other new guy.  The conductor slowly approaches and asks when the guy wants.  The guy starts yelling something about a shop, to which the conductor replies that this was a funeral place, not a shop.  The islander is still yelling, and quite aggressively to.

Side view of '000' hearse.
    The conductor then starts to back off, I was shocked!  The conductor is about to turn tail and leave the other new guy behind.  I must admit that the islander is damn big and agressive, but still, he is about to abandon a co-worker!  So there we stood, the other new guy holding back a very big and angry guy, the conductor backing away, about to run and I and stunned by the situation, not sure what's going on.

    This is when the large angry guy decides to leave, as he does so he leans down to the other new guy and swears at him in an extremely violent way.  What he said wasn't violent so much as the way he said it, he spat the words with such agression obviously in the hope of starting a fight (which he would have won).  Then he leaves, back down the dark lane way he came from.

    Obviously the other new guy was quite rattled, he was pale and shaky.  We had to finish up in the mortuary so the conductor and I went back to there, got the coffin and went to meet the other guy in the garage.  When we entered we found him hiding in the hearse with all the lights off.  As we approached he  exclaimed "he came back! I saw him!"  The conductor and I then went into the change room where we talked over what just happened.

    We realised that the angry guy was most likely a courier who had been told to park on the main road (which was about to become clearway) and enter around back.  He had been wearing a workers safety vest, was in a hurry and looked like he had some papers.  We thought that he was a bit of an angry guy, in a hurry on a bad day and thinking about how he was about to get fined as he came into the lane way just as the other new guy was opening the gate.  He had obviously thought that this was the entrance to the shop and tried to come in where the other new guy had acted gruff and dominating as he often did and obviously with the wrong person.  It would also explain why he came back as he was still looking for the shop and why as soon as he was told it was a funeral place that he started to leave.

Inside the garage during the day with the doors shut.
It's dark at the best of times let alone at night.
    This is where the conductor also admitted that yep, he was about to abandon the other new guy.  He told me how he planned to lock himself in the women's toilets which were behind him and wait for help to arrive.  I had to laugh, the image of him hiding in a women's toilet combined with the thought of the other new guy finally getting what he deserved for acting so agressive to people.  I honestly believe that if the conductor had not gotten there that there would have been a fight.  A completely avoidable fight only brought on by unnecessary gruffness and agression from the other new guy.  If he had simply asked what the guy wanted it would have never happened like that.

    Here is where the problem started as we began to laugh, a lot.  The other new guy then came in and we explained what we thought had happened, that the guy was a courier.  He agreed but said "it's not funny!" in his usual agressive way.  Now we just laughed at him, he kept saying "it's not funny!" and we kept laughing.

    On the drive over to the vigil and back he would try and change the subject and we would just laugh.  By the end of the night I had laughed so much my throat hurt a little.  But it got better!

    The next morning as people came into work they asked him about the incident, he couldn't believe it.  That they knew before they even got to work.  As one thing I have learnt is that a good story spreads like fire in the funeral industry and in just one night all the staff at WNBull knew of the story.

    So there it is, one of the finniest things that happened to me.  The look on his face, the fact that the conductor was about to hide in a toilet and the pure irony and karma of how his attempts to dominate everyone had gotten him into the mess.  Despite all my dislike of the other new guy I thank him for such a funny night.



  1. "He was also a bit of a douce..." What word was this supposed to be? Definition of Douce: sweet, sober, gentle. I don't understand.


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