1. indy5live
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    indy5live Active Member

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    I just can't do it!

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by indy5live, May 23, 2012.

    "I just can't do it! I can't kill a person!"
    "You won't have to so stop worrying about it. I got a plan where we won't have to kill anybody."

    Trying to fix a problem with my novel and need some advice. In one scene, I have two people that have to steal a body from the funeral home. In my current story, I have the female character going into the funeral home saying she wants to put a necklace around her dead sister's neck (which she claims is her favorite necklace) and, once they leave the front desk together, the male character follows the two of them through the building, keeping a distance, but tracking their movement on his mobile phone (his phone is GPSing their location based off the female's phone location). Also, the necklace acts as an identifier so the male character is sure to steal the right body. BUT, looking back, funeral home owners aren't going to escort people down into their morgue and let them put a necklace on them...they would take the necklace themselves and put it on the body without the presents of the other person.

    So I was think, let's put a tracker in the necklace, so when the female character request to have it put on her (not real) sister so-in-so the guy can come back later and take the body. But I'm not sure how easy trackers are to come by and if an average Joe will know how to conceal it in a necklace. And then there is the problem of having to break in, verses just following them in from a distance, hiding himself, waiting for them to clear out, then sneaking out with the body. I thought about knocking the owner out but then the cops are going to get involved before I'm ready for that to happen. The girl's funeral isn't until the next morning so she most likely won't look into the casket that day, or at least not until later that night.

    Basically, I need a way to steal a body from a funeral home/morgue without being caught, without setting off any alarms, without having to knock someone out, and without any background in this sort of theft.

    Additional Note: This must take place in between 5AM and 9AM (the first service at the funeral home starts at 10AM and they don't know the identity of the body they need to steal until 4:30AM)
     
  2. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    Have someone who works at the morgue be in on it. Paid off, or a friend or ally, whatever.
     
  3. Helmsing
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    Helmsing Member

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    Hmm a challenge, I'm thinking but Ettina brings up a simple way to deal with it. Does it work or can I go back to my attempt to come up with an over the top plan?
     
  4. indy5live
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    indy5live Active Member

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    They have to deliver a body that matches a very specific description that they receive at 4:30AM. So they use the newspaper to locate the closest matching body (because they aren't killers) and then go to the morgue it's listed at. I don't think anyone in the right mind would let a person take a body from their place of business for money, and a funeral home/morgue, in my opinion, only have like 4 employees...they wouldn't risk their job for a stranger...note also these people aren't rich. And they can't have a friend at every morgue in the city, that would be too much of a copout.

    "I'm getting cold feet," female character says to male character who is reading the newspaper at the kitchen table. "I don't think I'll be able to kill anybody when the time comes, I've not slept more than a couple of hours over the course of the last few days and just thinking about it makes me queasy."

    "Look," male character says holding up the obituary section, "we won't have to kill anybody. We have four days worth of dead bodies to pick from. We'll just wait until we [have the description in the morning], find the closest match, steal the body from whatever funeral home it’s listed as being at in the paper, and [deliver the body]. It's a foolproof system."
     
  5. Helmsing
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    Helmsing Member

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    When you say first service do you mean it is going to be the wake or the actual burial?
     
  6. indy5live
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    indy5live Active Member

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    Guest are allowed to show up one hour before the memorial ceremony or service that starts at 10AM in the building. So at 9AM guest start showing up for whatever funeral is scheduled that day. They open at 8AM, and flower guys are there delivering flowers (but they wouldn't have access to the basement (where the morgue is located and the bodies are stored until viewing time.)

    "Hurry up [Male], they'll be opening in just a minute and we won't have much time to steal the body before the first wave of guest start showing up for some person's memorial service that starts in an hour," [Female] insist as she takes one final look at her disgust in the car's passenger seat visor mirror.

    "I'm ready if you're ready!" [Male] exclaims as he pulls on an old brown cowboy hat and presses his fingers against his fake mustache to ensure it's well attached.

    "Alright, but real quickly let's go over the plan one more time," [Female] says as she watches the owner unlock the front door to the funeral home, indicated they're open for business. "I'll go in and tell the lady I'm Lindsey Hooper, one of the sisters of the diseased we read about in the paper, and I'll request to go see my sister Danielle's dead body. If she needs a reason I'll tell her I have a very special necklace that she loved to wear as a teenager and I want to put it on her before tomorrow's viewing."

    "And once she starts leading you to the body," [Male] takes over, "I'll sneak in the building an follow you on the cell phone GPS tracker that we synced up and practiced using last night. Once I see you've stopped moving I'll find a place to hint nearby and wait for you to leave. Once the coast is clear and I see your dot has moved outside of the funeral home, I'll move in and take the body to the back exit."

    "Where I'll have the car ready and waiting to load the body," [Female] chimes in. "So if you're ready, I'll head inside."
     
  7. Helmsing
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    Helmsing Member

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    Just looking over the time frame. There is no way to form a plan when they learn about who they need to steal at 4:30 and than have to actually move on the location of the morgue. How about the body has to be moved to the church on the other side of town. That should open up some more options. The body would have to make a trip across town early to meet the 10 a.m. start and there would be no extra secruity.
     
  8. indy5live
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    indy5live Active Member

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    The body they are taking isn't the body that's ceremony is going on that day. It's pretty much be drained of it's blood and insides, dressed up nice with clothes and make-up, and it sitting in it's casket waiting for her ceremony the next day...
     
  9. indy5live
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    indy5live Active Member

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    I think I figured it out. But feel free to continue the discussion.

    I'm going to have the girl go in and distract the owner somehow, where the male was planning on just slipping in and browse around. But then a flower delivery truck shows up and has propped open the front door, the male character then decides to steal a bouquet of flowers and randomly walk around the funeral home looking for access to the morgue in the basement. He comes across one employee that is actually walking out of an elevator pushing a casket (which has the 10AM's person body in it) and the employee is bringing it to the viewing room or whatever. Employee looks at the male holding the flowers and ask if he can help, male stutters a bit trying to think then says he's going to the same place he is he thinks, because he doesn't know the name of the dead. They walk together for a second before the man decides to drop the flowers, making a small mess. He said he'll catch up to the employee and just as the elevator starts to close he sticks is hand in and stops it from closing shut. (I'll have to note that its a key access elevator only from the outside)...something like that. Getting the body is more important than how they get it, I was just trying to make it more mission impossible then it has to be. A flower delivery person isn't something they wouldn't be use to seeing, so this works.

    EDIT: Then again, this is suppose to be a small conflict and if it comes across too easy it'll take away from the building up to the climax...so still a work in progess.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I hope you aren't really having this conversation between your characters on the way in to do the dastardly deed. That's B movie exposition. Your characters should know the plan by then, and there would be no reason to go over it again like that. In fact, it would probably be better to leave the readers somewhat in the dark about the plan, and let them see it as it unfolds.

    As a practical matter, the viewing room would be set up, with the deceased's casket, well in advance of the viewing, not after the funeral home is opening for non-staff. The only things that might take place in that last hour might be arranging late-arriving flowers (rare), and making sure everything is as tidied up as can be. All the "body work", including transfers, would take place when the home is closed to viewings.

    Your story would be more plausible if the body snatch took place when the place is NOT open to the public, but staff were onsite for prep work and general maintenance. There might be outer doors not locked up tight in that case, especially during times they don't expect nosy or confused people wandering around the premises.
     
  11. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Are you wanting to steal the body or secretly exchange the body for another one?

    If you are wanting to steal the body and are not bothered about the theft being discovered then plan it the same way as you would plan a bank robbery. I imagine that funeral homes are unmanned at night.
     
  12. indy5live
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    indy5live Active Member

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    They have to steal the body and then smuggle it past security about an hour later. They do this by putting a hat and sunglass on her head and hope for the best as they push her in a wheelchair through the gates. They aren't criminals. They have no experience in this sort of thing. They have to get this body to a certain location in order to save someone they love. But if they just ran in the funeral home and stole the body cops would be looking for them, most likely at this security location as well. So it would make it more impractical for them to successfully sneak it through without getting caught.

    EDIT: As a sidenote: The male character is an off-shore oilrig worker and the female character has yet to receive a job in my story. I could take this opportunity to give her employment in some field that isn't law enforcement but, just maybe, she owns a flourist shop? This would give her an established relationship with a lot of the funeral homes around the area. Then again, it will still have to be the guys idea to steal a body instead of actually murdering someone. She just wants to see how the events will play out originally.
     
  13. Kay Lesgo
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    Kay Lesgo Member

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    Your storyline doesn't have to be probable, just plausible. (Sorry, watching too much Mythbusters). I don't want to suggest a TV detective/cop type scenario, but characters often outsmart people into doing things that would never happen in real life. The night watchman could fall asleep. There could be no watchman (most likely scenario in real life) and they could spray paint the camera. Temp fix, doesn't cost too much to fix to ease their conscious. If you are keen on the necklace as a plot device, that could be a way the female character charms or cries her way in to being alone with the body. The whole tracking this seems elaborate and too unreal. There wouldn't be too many bodies in a single funeral parlor unless a disaster of some kind has occurred or they are taking it from a hospital anyway. Funeral homes typically have one to several bodies on ice awaiting funeral (BY LAW). So, she could talk her way in and discover a defect in security (a window that can be cracked open, an alarm system that is obviously broken). There are 3 funeral homes nearby me (woo hoo) and none of them look like they have state-of-the-art security.
     
  14. indy5live
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    indy5live Active Member

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    True, funeral home staff has to be simpathetic to some extend. Perhaps her crying in their lobby and making a scene could work. Perhaps she can't make the funeral because of her job (not sure what kind of work someone could be in that wouldn't let someone off for a funeral thou) and she just wants to see her body and put the necklace on her. Also, there are 5 bodies down in the morgue, too many? This is a rather large city my novel is taking place in.
     
  15. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Wait. Is it a morgue, or is it a mortuary? They are entirely different things, you know.
     
  16. indy5live
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    indy5live Active Member

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    Im thinking of a place that the funeral home would store a body a few days before the ceramony/viewing in there building...where ever that might be.
     
  17. Leonardo Pisano
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    Leonardo Pisano Active Member

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    If the theft is allowed to be discovered you can let them go in as some kind of police authority confiscating the body. If the theft must be sneaky, maybe setting off some fire alarm creating chaos could create a setting in which the body can be snatched without early discovery?
     

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