Resurrection of Mother
by Loraine N. Lindsey
part 1 of 2
Jackson Humphrey had killed his mother. He was not sure how, but as sure as he stood looking at her lifeless body he knew it was his fault.
“Mother, please wake up.” He lowered his oversized body to the floor next to her bed, his knees creaking as they bent. Kneeling, he looked at her still somewhat serene-looking face. He lowered his semi-bald head, closed his squinty eyes and began to cry. Sobs shook his body and his double chin jiggled with each burst of emotion.
Jack wanted so desperately to touch Mother, to shake her and make her wake up, but even in death he obeyed her wishes: touching is dirty and sinful, she had always told him.
So, he shook the mattress with all his might, calling her name emphatically. Nothing happened.
Mother was dead.
She lay there with the patchwork quilt pulled up to just below her chin. Her gray hair was cut short with every hair in place, as if she had died soon after going to bed. Her arms, though not visible, were crossed on her chest; he could see the shape of them through the quilt.
What was he to do? He had lived his life with his mother as his only companion. Of course, he did know a few people from work, but had no real friends. How could he? Mother would not allow it. Just last night they had a big argument because he had gone to dinner with a few of his co-workers from the post office.
“This ain’t fair. I went to eat ’cause it was Calvin’s birthday. It was only Calvin, Joe and Pete.” Jack had pleaded with her. For the first time in twenty years of working as the janitor at the post office he had been invited to something. He was not exactly friends with the three men but they were nice to him. And he had finally been included.
“You were supposed to be home at five-thirty. What if I had needed you? What if I had fallen or had another spell with my heart?” She had said, towering over him as he sat in the chair next to the sofa. She was not a large woman, rising just to Jack’s shoulders when they stood side-by-side. But from Jack’s position in the overused, sunken side chair she looked like a giant.
He wanted to say, I’m fifty-five years old and can do what I want. But he knew better. He was not like everyone else. He was special. Mother had always told him how special he was.
“You should have more respect for me. After all, didn’t I give up my life to raise a retard?” At times like this she never called him “special,” only bad names. “I had a promising career on the stage and I gave it all up for you. To stay home and wipe your snotty nose and clean your nasty ass.”
He had sat in the chair, hands crossed neatly in his lap, legs hanging to the floor with his feet crossed and his head lowered. It did no good to argue. Mother was always right.
This had gone on for almost an hour. Then they had gone to bed.
This morning he awoke, showered, dressed and shaved before leaving his room. Upon going into the living room, he knew something was wrong. There were no noises, no smells coming from the kitchen as Mother cooked his breakfast.
Then he had found her.
At first he thought she was asleep but after calling her name from the door he knew something was wrong. Though she was nearing eighty, Mother was not hard of hearing. She would have answered him if she could.
What was he to do?
Then, like in the cartoons when the light bulb appears over the person’s head, he had an idea.
He had been searching on the Internet last week for some odd topic or other (he might be slow but not dumb) and he had found a website that might be the answer to his problem.
He ran to his bedroom where the computer was located. Once seated at the tiny desk in the corner, he turned on the computer and waited for it to boot up.
His hands began to shake. What was he to do with Mother dead? How would he survive?
“No, no... can’t think about it. Have to fix it.” He said to himself as the screen lit with the Microsoft logo. It took another couple minutes for the connection to be made over the very slow modem.
After concentrating very hard, he remembered the word he had been researching. “Resurrection”. He typed it in the search engine and waited. Slowly the screen changed and there was a list of sites with that topic.
What was it called? He thought as he read them. The Resurrection of Christ, Resurrection at Amazon.com, Alien Resurrection, Tupac’s Resurrection. Who on earth is Tupac?
Finally, after clicking on Next a few times he found what he was looking for. The site was called “Resurrection Center”.
“Fix Mother,” Jack said out loud, rather proud of himself.
“Death does not have to be the end. With our special techniques we may be able to bring loved ones back to life.”
Jack read the first line and let out a sigh of relief. This was his answer. He did not care how long Mother lived, as long as she didn’t die because of him. And, he wanted a chance to say he was sorry and that he would not do anything to upset her again. He owed her.
He searched the first page for information on how to contact them, not finding anything. It took a while longer of clicking on links and going back to the home page to find a telephone number. No name. No address.
Finding a piece of paper and pencil in his desk, he wrote down the telephone number.
How lucky could he get? The number was an Atlanta number and he lived in Atlanta.
After logging off the computer and shutting it down he went into the kitchen where the only telephone in the house was located. Before calling, he looked at the clock and realized that it was only eight in the morning. He also realized that it was a Saturday and wondered if anyone would be there.
Deciding to give it a try he picked up the receiver and pressed the buttons to place the call. He rocked from his left foot to his right, head hung low as always, and he waited patiently. On the fifth ring he heard, “You have reached the lab at Hampton University. Please leave your name and telephone number and we will be glad to return your call.” BEEP.
“My Mother is dead and I want her to be alive again. I saw your website. Can you do it now? The cost don’t matter, I got plenty of money.” Jack concluded with his telephone number and another plea to call as soon as possible.
After returning the receiver to the wall phone he sat down in one of the metal dinette chairs, pulled it up to the table and placed his elbows on the tabletop. Resting his head in his hands, he began to cry again.
* * *
“Hey Mason, come here and listen to this.” Corey Nichols said as he pressed the play button on the answering machine.
Mason came to his side in the corner of the lab where the telephone and answering machine were located and listened to the caller plead for help to bring his mother back to life.
“Can you believe this guy? Sounds like he found that website I did for extra credit in computer class. He believes it.” Corey could barely get the words out between bursts of laughter.
Mason was amazed. What kind of dummy would believe any of this? he thought.
“Why don’t we call him back and have a little fun?” Corey suggested as he picked up the telephone receiver.
“We can’t do that. His mother just died.” Mason swept his bangs to the side in order to see Corey better. Need to get them cut, he thought. “Besides how do we know he wasn’t calling us as a prank?”
“There’s one way to find out.” Corey dialed the number and as the phone started to ring he heaved himself up to sit on the counter.
Mason pulled up a chair and listened to Corey’s side of the conversation.
“Yes, is this Mr. Humphrey?... I am returning your call from the Resurrection Center... Yes, how can we help you?”
Mason watched as Corey listened intently with a huge grin on his face.
“I am sorry to hear about your loss. You do understand that we cannot guarantee that your mother will respond to our efforts. There is always a chance that too much time has passed and any effort we make would be futile.”
He listened more, then continued, “Our work is quite costly... Oh, is that right?” Corey gave Mason a thumbs up sign and went on, “we charge ten thousand dollars cash, no checks. We do refund fifty percent of that if the resurrection process does not work.”
Mason stood shaking his head and mumbling, “Don’t do this Corey.” However, Corey simply shrugged him off and continued.
“Yes, we do have an opening this morning. Bring your mother in and we’ll give it a go.” After supplying the caller with directions to the lab, he hung up the phone, burst in to laughter and jumped off the counter.
“How could you do that Corey? This man thinks we can bring his mother back to life!” Mason said as he paced the lab floor.
“Come on man. We can make a quick five thousand bucks. That’s twenty-five hundred a piece.” Corey was walking around the lab as if searching for something.
Mason could tell that Corey’s mind was at work figuring out how to fool this guy. And, to be honest, Mason could use the money to pay off his credit card, which was two months behind. What could it hurt?
“And how do you suppose we’ll pull this off?” Mason asked following behind Corey.
“Well, I told him there were no guarantees and he repeated every word I said so I know he heard it all. Besides, it didn’t sound like the guy is all there so we can probably fool him pretty easily.
“First off, we’ll get the cash. Then we’ll get him to bring his mother in here, lay her on the table and send him outside. We’ll spend a little time in here with mom and finally go out and tell him that it didn’t work, give him back half of the money and send him and mom on their merry way.”
Corey and Mason began cleaning off the wooden table on which the class performed their experiments, preparing the room as best they could.
The telephone rang. Corey ran to answer it.
“Hello... Yes, I just talked to you... Oh, this is a highly unusual request but I think we can make an exception. Of course, there will be an extra fee for making a house call.”
Mason stood shaking his head vigorously and mouthing, “We can’t do this.”
Copyright © 2006 by Loraine N. Lindsey