Sunday, February 5, 2012
Magpie Tales: Fragile Life
There is always a crowd where dead bodies are concerned. The fresher the better. Neighbors lining fences watching the stretcher for some sign, perhaps a finger sneaking from underneath the shroud, to dispel the mystery life, that ends in death. Strangers seeking a simple glimpse beyond the pulled back veil, happy not to hail a ride, second saddle on the pale horse, this time.
They whisper. Some prayers. Others their version of truth, formulated behind the safety of lifted slats on the mini blind. "I just knew he was going to be no good for her. Why, I heard them yelling just the other night." "Did you know, I was told by..." And fifteen seconds in the lens of a camera to fill space on the evening news.
"When we get out of this car, you will see things you hope you never see. It will haunt your dreams and drive you crazy if you let it. Do yourself a favor. That body, it's evidence. Treat it with respect, but at the end of the day, it's evidence," and we are out of the patrol car, our soles wearing thin on sun hot asphalt.
Pill bottle, paper, half a CD, bills due. Plastic confetti glittered from every imaginable piece. A hat, a shoe, pennies, a paperback with a dog eared page. Fluid rainbow rivers running and every car slows to a crawl to take in the chaos of a car wreck. Against one back seat window a little face framed by hands flat on the glass and we are eye to eye and then gone.
This is my first time. Male, age 38, truck driver. From Alabama, by the license in his wallet. His kid's soccer picture tucked behind, orange and black uniform, posed with the ball before the goal. Fell asleep coming down the exit ramp, plowing the concrete center column of the bridge. Maybe he never woke up.
We gather everything, information in paperwork boxes for filing, keep traffic moving and are back in the car, on to the next and that evidence trick...it's like the lie we tell ourselves about leaving work at work...it just doesn't work.
this is a Magpie Tale.