Playing Doctor

Initial Visit?

Thursday, May 12

L'odeur de la mort
The Decomp Room

I went into the Decomp room to see an enormous blue-black man who was repulsively swollen. But though I say repulsively swollen, nothing about his appearance could even begin to compare with the stench. The room is small and the stench hits you with one hundred million years of evolution commanding you to get the fuck out.

Turn around. Vomit. Run.

Rid yourself of anything to do with this putrid stench.

Your nose begins to run and your eyes tear up.

Get out. Vomit. Just get the fuck out, now.

‘Well, look who’s joining us,’ the Medical Examiner said.

My hood and mask hid that my eyes were tearing. Staring through the tears, I steadied my voice and asked, ‘What’s the story?’

‘Sixty-two year-old Anglo garbageman found in his bathtub after not reporting to work for three days.’

‘That’s three days worth of decay?’ I asked.

‘Don’t take long in South Florida.’

‘Any idea what killed him?’ I asked, my voice is steady, but all I am thinking is: Don't Vomit. Don't Vomit.

I’m sealed in a hazmat suit. If I vomit, it will smear the front of my mask. It will pour down and soak my clothes.

‘No, and we’re not likely to either,’ he said. ‘Finding a definite cause of death is truly rare. But when they show up like this, it is damn near impossible.’

I am breathing through my mouth, trying to think of only the case. I am forcing myself to ignore that I am taking particles of this dead man into my mouth. I am not thinking that. I am not thinking that. I am not thinking that I am eating this rotting corpse.

Tomorrow: Those Other Scents


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