The informal assembly gathered around William Warrens immobile corpse bustled about over a period of hours, most of it passed in brief discussions and boring interludes. Like any good patient leaned back in a chair and immobile, William’s spirit passed the time staring up at the sky passed the masked faces that busily were at work making detailed examinations of the ravages of his mortal form. They would work individually and in teams. some pausing to take notes while others brandished their I-Phones to denote what seemed to be extraordinary details that for them bespoke William’s whereabouts and actions from the time of his demise. High above more than one buzzard circled for a bit before moseying on, each bird disappointed that the group of men below were interrupting a potential nosh. The activity continued until the coroner’s van arrived and carefully rolled William’s insubstantial remains safely within into a plastic shroud. A bailey was manhandled into place and the bag was strapped upon it and trundled to the back hatch of the waiting van. All throughout the extended exercise William seemed in wonder of how tolerant the living seemed to be for the presence of the dead once the fact of same was embraced. Now fully enrolled officially in the club of the non-living he was being given the type of royal treatment and reverent professional deference that he had never come to know while he was breathing. It seemed odd that so much effort was expended after all to determine the obvious? He was dead? Check. He was full of bullet holes? Check. Whoever he was in life, he sure was and had never been not a stubby fat jowled Mexican! Check, check, double check. The only other thing on his mind beyond these time wasting mental forays was when he might have the opportunity to get up and out of their custody. Hopefully, the attendants might be lackadaisical in performing their duties of transporting him and he could wriggle out of the bag and past the collapsable bailey’s cincture restraints. The vibration of the vehicle on the road was a far cry from what he had endured in Mexico in the old van. Laying prone in the darkness the corpse and William seemed almost in a state of rest as the hum of the engine rose and fell. The darkened interior of the van speeding along up to a and intersection then braking gently to a rest and after a minute or two, speeding off again.
The monotony of a dozen intersections was brought to a halt by a sharp curving turn slowing to a halt and a long leisurely reciprocal journey as the vehicle was being backed up to a door or dock. The sound of cabin doors opening and slamming shut introduced the metallic creak of the back door hinges and subsequently the corpse ridden bailey being manhandled out. If William’s bodily sense of smell might have been still capable of working then the strong smell of some undisclosed clinical medicinal antiseptic would have washed over them. The fully folded legs of the bail eye’s wheels rubbing on tiles occasionally squeaking here and there as if to suggest more than occasional use. Voices rose and fell as the small entourage moved along in habitual salutation and brief details of explanation.
“They found this one about five miles ousted of town by the edge of the desert full of gunshots.”, drawled the male voice of what had to be one of the attendants. “Bridger’s man Manual was out there again with the rile trying to fend off illegals and he claims he didn’t shoot this one, at least not standing.”
“Is Manuel in custody now?”, asked another softer voice hovering along a pace or two away.
“Naw, but he told Bridger not to let him leave the county till we could figure out a bit more about this one.”, replied the attendant.
“Well, bring him in and let’s take a look.”, the other voice resignedly replied.
The cart beneath him banged through one of two double doors, the other presumably held open by the other voice and then wheeled swiftly up to a waiting table. Both men worked in consort of long practiced of cues and moves yanking the inert plastic shrouded baggage onto a stainless steel bier. The zipper tore open with a loud rasp and the masked face of a young woman wearing clear plastic safety glasses peered down into the fissure of the opening. The young pathologist began her dictation into an overhead hanging microphone, “Let’s see, massive contusion and extreme facial facial trauma on the left zygomatic reaching across to the maximilla up to the temporal lobe.” “Possible high velocity gunshot from a handgun.” “Tissue evidences severe Butyric fermentation.” Her dissertation momentarily halting as she looked to the side at the attendant who was still obscured by the vantage point from within the partially peeled covering. “Yup, he’s been out there a while, possibly dumped from another location.” “Go tell Ed to relax for a bit and have a cup of coffee or two, it might take a few hours to iitially sort this one out.”
William Warren and the excavated hulk of his former earthly extension lay inert within the cooling dark of a refrigerator door. The ministrations by the youthful coroner had been clinically thorough removing many of the internal organs both from the abdomen and from beneath the excavated cap of his skull. Scored of new photographs were taken from every conceivable angle and samples of items removed duly jarred in containers of preservative and marked for later reference. The empty cavities left by this process had been stuffed with matting and all the exterior incisions sutured roughly together. Analysis was made along with conclusions suggesting a scenario in which parties unknown had indeed committed felony murder one but was lacking in any substantive conclusion for the fact of the disparity in the identification card found and the conflicting soil samples from what appeared to be a mineral rick area far to the south of their sister city’s locale. The explanation seemed to drone on and on like the annoying buzzing of a determined insect attempting to interject its larvae into the hapless living corpse of its paralyzed victim. All the while William struggled to keep focus upon the faces and future events relating the intended pursuits of his assassins. The places on the outskirts of this town or possibly within the humbler residential districts of San Diego where a final confrontation would take place. The combination of his own methodically devised procedures specifically designed to inflict the maximum in pain and terror upon the mortal flesh of his victims that he himself would enact. The scales in his mind demanded a heavy price not for the simple act of murder alone but the subsequent pain and suffering endured in this recent journey. This seemed an impossibly difficult task to him based upon the fact that his hovering soul knew that once breached, the thread of life between physical existence and its corresponding entity held no more possibility of further fear of earthly pain or disfigurement. One merely was tied by some unseen umbilical dragging forth the hardening clay that now no longer had attachment to the spark of personality that had previously seemed inimical. The harder he tried to retain the power of his will to suggest a plausible solution to the debilitating fact of his current incarceration and surgical dismemberment, the more his absented emotions once again began to arrive as if summoned by magic from some mysterious ether. He felt a child again set to the nearly impossible task of finishing his homework in time to catch the rest of the afternoon with friends in the park playing baseball before he would have to surrender to the lateness of the evening and prepare for bed.
The cool stainless steel walls surrounding his pallet seemed to reflect the pinpoint of stars within this encapsulated darkness. His mother’s voice calling him home once again for supper. The call emanating from some undisclosed point just out of sight the quality of its tone inferring no subsequent interruption from that final point long passed in his childhood when it had last rang out. William’s self now floated far up in the scarce branches of the trees of Terminal Park slowly buffeting about. It’s string still partially entangled ever straining to slip from its unexpected winding seeking the aid of a more gentle wind whose variable force had in its rougher form had temporarily enthralled it before finally unraveling its temporal cincture and giving that brightly colored helium balloon attached at the other end a final measure of freedom to soar up and far away into the heavens. The deep blueness of the surrounding sky illuminated by the bright promise of the morning Sun towering high above the Sonoran desert completely indifferent to the minor struggle below of a large coyote as it dragged off the remains of an abandoned human carcass.