Rosita (1)

Willie Garvin returned to his breakfast. ‘Your whiskers keep growing for quite a while after you’re dead,’ he said reminiscently. ‘I found that out when I was knocking around in Rio.’
‘You knew a girl there?’ said Modesty.
‘M’mm. Her old man was an undertaker and she used to ’elp with the business. Stiffs passing through were kept in a cool cellar on army surplus beds. She used to shave ’em after twelve hours, and I used to give a hand. Trouble was, you’d stretch the skin to get a nice smooth stroke with the razor, and it stayed stretched. There was a real knack in getting their faces straightened out after you’d finished shaving ’em. The thing is, I dropped a right clanger the first time I ’elped. I was shaving this stiff, doing a nice job, because the family always like ’em to look right, and I put me knee on the bed to lean across and get busy on the other side of ’is face. The bed sagged in the middle, and ’e sagged a bit with it. That squeezed the air out of ’is lungs, and suddenly ’e was making this ’orrible wailing groan at me.’
Dall said, ‘Good God.’
‘Rosita told me afterwards that it sometimes ’appened,’ said Willie, munching. ‘But blimey, I nearly went through the ceiling.’
Modesty eyed him dubiously. ‘I’m not sure it’s wise, but somebody has to feed you the next line, she said. ‘All right. What was the clanger?’
Willie grimaced. ‘Well, I jumped! Rosita didn’t ’alf create about ’aving to sew the bloke’s ear back on.’
(I, Lucifer, chapter 19)