Apr 24, 2009

The way of us all

The detective’s voice didn’t hush in the presence of the picture of the dead. He flopped open the investigation folder to show me and he pointed and said he was shot there and there and there.

The detective wasn’t supposed to show me the picture, it wasn’t procedure, but he did. They all did. Whether inured to the images themselves or assuming that I, like them, was a professional at death, I don’t know. But they showed me pictures. I asked where and they opened up and pointed.

The pictures weren’t violent. Just cold. And naked.

Detective said the man was a long way from home, but he didn’t know why he’d come.

The last thing he’d said was “save me,” but there was no one to protect him from the part-time pimp he’d paid to take him to the room where he died. He asked the prostitute to save him, but she couldn’t. She was sorry but she couldn’t save anyone. It was like the end to a bad Bukowski story. The shitty things we want. The self-destruction we seek. Salvation eludes us again. How’d we think we were going to get out of this, doing more of the same?

And then he got shot to death and the part-time pimp took his money and his car.

The wounds were clean on the naked man’s chest when he lay there on the table under the lights, looking cold. He came a long way just to get goose bumps in death, to lie like that on his back before the bright light and get his picture taken for the homicide detectives and me. There wasn’t a cloth to cover his nakedness, nothing like what was so delicately draped around the cross to cover Jesus Christ, so he was naked and dead.