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Prom Night


Harry Buschman

The moment he opened the front door, Mr. Hopkins’ worst case scenario for his daughter’s prom night came true. “Can I help you?” He asked, hoping the ghoulish figure had the wrong address.

“I’m Lance,” the figure mumbled.

“Oh, you’re Lance, yes ... Patty’s not ready yet. Why don’t you come in?”

“She said to be here 8 PM, it’s 8 PM.”

“I know, I know – but that’s Patty for you.” Mr. Hopkins laughed nervously and walked to the foot of the stair and shouted, “Patty! Patty! Your Lance is here.” He turned and looked looked for help in the kitchen. “Martha! Patty’s date is here. would you come in and say hello to ... er ... Lance ... please?”

Mrs. Hopkins walked in briskly drying her hands on a dish towel. She stopped dead in the living room when she saw who was at the door. “Oh, you must be Lance. Patty’s told us so much about you.” She turned to her husband, her eyes filled with terror. “Patty tells me Lance is going to medical school when he graduates, dear.”

She made a supreme effort to pull herself together and closed the door behind Lance. “Why don’t we sit in the living room? I’m sure Patty will be down in a minute.”

“What’s holdin’ her up – I ain’t got all friggin’ night.”

“Oh, I almost forgot, Lance – did you bring Patty a corsage?”

“No. She need one?”

“Well, yes – it’s customary on prom night, you know. But I knew you couldn’t have any idea what she’s wearing ... and the color is so important, you know. The flower should compliment the gown – so I got her one.”


“ ... and at the same time, I bought you a carnation. They look so distinguished on a tuxedo ... you are wearing one under that ... that ... whatever, aren’t you.”

Mr. Hopkins, ever the practical one asked, “How are you kids getting to the prom? I didn’t see a car out there.”

“I rented a hoise.”

“A hoise?”

“Yeah. Like for dead people. It’s gotta King-sized BeautyRest in the back.”

Mr. Hopkins was about to say something meaningful just as Patty rushed down the stair. “Oh, you’re here, Lance,” she gushed. “You’ve already met Mum-mums and Dada – aren’t they the sweetest couple?”

Mrs. Hopkins held out the corsage for Patty’s gown. “Look what Lance brought you, dear. Wasn’t that thoughtful of him. Say thank you, Patty.”

“Thank you, Lance.”


Mr. and Mrs. Hopkins stood in the open door as Patty and Lance walked quickly to the hearse parked at the curb. The elderly couple looked at each other affectionately. Mrs. Hopkins sighed deeply and in a tremulous voice recalled the night of their high school prom. “Father didn’t like you at all, did he? He couldn’t understand how I chose the son of the only mortician in town ... the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree, did it dear?”

“Whatever,” said Mr. Hopkins.

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