‘McCann–Goldberg. Good morning!’
‘Mr. McCann is in our New York office this week, and Mr. Goldberg is on a conference call.’
‘Ah... Right...’ ‘May I ask what it’s regarding?’
‘Hello, yes... Can I speak to Mr. McCann, please? Or Mr. Goldberg?’
‘Yes, it’s regarding a...
‘Naturally, sir. Are you currently an account holder or a client at all?’
‘No... No, I’m not.’ ‘How about I put you through to Eve Klammer, our head of new business?’
‘Yes, that would be perfect, thank you!’
Oh, hi, yeah, I just wanted to enquire about your services...
Of course, mister...
Ok, Mr. ...Smith-Klein. And which services are you particularly interested in? Er... er... well...
Are you primarily interested in our post-life programme?
Yes! Yes, exactly, that’s the one... Ok. And you’re the client?
Yeah! Er.. No! ...it’s for my wife, actually.
So your wife will be the client?
May I ask what her current status is?
Oh... Fine! Oh, I see...
I mean, yeah, sheâ€™s alive.
Right. So why donâ€™t you let me take you through some of the options, and you can tell me what sounds right for your wife?
Our most popular product these days is Grand Finale
...and includes a reception with delicious canapes for up to 20 guests.
...an end-to-end package which celebrates the life of the client...
...which starts at 1,995 before tax...
Is that cremation or burial?
Most of our programs are available with either option...
...but I must say the fireworks that accompany the cremation with this one are really rather wonderful.
For this we offer Eternal Peace, which really is your classic burial and mourning solution.
Yeah... Do you have anything a little bit more low key?
Yes. There is a market for a more traditional send-off.
Itâ€™s tres tasteful, sir. Candles...
Clients usually go for unscented...
Does that sound more like Mrs Smith-Klein’s milleau?
...but we can do scented, cinnamon, say, for no extra charge. Yeah, it does. Nice and tasteful.
So, to recap. Your wife’s status is ‘living’... And have you thought about the time for these arrangements?
Oh, well, that’s after when she’s passed away, isn’t that the norm?
Oh right, well...
Well, yes. But what I meant was have you thought about the timing of the departure itself?
Pretty hard to predict, she hasnâ€™t been in the best of health, I suppose.
Is she prone to heart attacks, and/or suffering from advanced stage cancer of the lung, breast, or colon at all?
No, not really...
So, shall we say that the estimated time of death is not imminent?
One never really quite knows...
... does one?
Have you considered our Helping Hand programme of assisted exits?
Many clients see the value of the departure within a predictable timeframe...
...whether in response to a terminal medical condition... ... or a sense of life simply running its course.
Might Mrs. Smith-Klein be in the latter category?
Helping hand... yeah...
D’you know, I think she might be, now that you mentioned it.
What’s the process?
First, you and Mrs. Smith-Klein must make an appointment to come to the McCann-Goldberg offices to discuss the precise details, morphine...
Does my wife have to be there? We find it usually best for the client to be there in person.
Yeah, well, I’d rather she wasn’t there.
Well, you know, she’s busy... Work...
Right! May I ask why?
If youâ€™d rather pass on the details to your wife, I suppose we can accommodate that.
You would need her signature before performing the service.
Thatâ€™s going to be a little bit tricky...
Look, what if we wanted it to be a surprise?
A surprise? Yeah.
We do offer McCann-Golberg Golden Goodbyes, which is vouchers...
A sort of ‘Helping Hand’ behind the scenes, if you will?
No-no... I mean a complete surprise.
For Mrs. Smith-Klein?
Iâ€™m pleased to inform you that we do offer our ultimate sacrifice range of products which I think might fit your requirements perfectly.
There are a few brief questions that I need to ask first though.
What sort of place do you live in?
Good. What storey?
Ok. What about the cooker?
Gas or electric?
Splendid. Just the last few bits to go now.
What? I didn’t really.. The financial...
Ok. We need to take a deposit for the first £10,000, and it’s non-refundable. Are you sure you’re ready to proceed, Mr. Smith-Klein?
Yeah. Iâ€™m sure.
Are you sure he’s on his own?
Husband Ben Willbond Wife Assassin
Miranda Raison Jonathan Ryland
Frederic Casella Graham Hodge
Director of Photography
Novelisation by Alice Nevermore