People who were afraid of aging would peel off the top few layers of skin on their face, including their scalp, and send them to me. I would tan and preserve the faces and send them back, to be used as durable forever-young masks.
There were ten of them, and four of them were from the same guy. He was really picky about his hair, I knew, but I messed up the hair a little on one mask. One of his faces had eyes in it. The right eye was a wandering eye. Both eyes rolled back until I saw only the whites and it became a zombie face.
I can't do this. I can't. I'll just have to send in the six faces I've done and call it quits. That means I'll only get $6 instead of $10. It doesn't matter. I can't do this.
Later my dad was telling me that when he was young he was the band-leader for a 9-piece jazz ensemble. They'd booked a huge performance hall that seated 20,000 (!!!) people. Just days before the show, he couldn't find the pianist. He looked all over. Finally, just a day before the show, he found the pianist's gravestone. He dug him up and took him back to the performance hall and put him down in front of the piano.
"He just wouldn't play anything. I'd pick up his arm, and down it would plunk on the keys. Sure, it made noise, but it wasn't music."
I guessed that he just left the body there and acted really surprised at the performance the next day when he turned out to be dead. He could pretend that the pianist had just died at the performance. A little sensational and a lot better than admitting you booked a dead guy to play a show.
"That's not a bad idea," he said. "But here's what happened...."
That's when I woke up. I can only hope that my resourceful dad turned the pianist into an automaton.