Saturday, 21 August 2010

Of Death and the Dead Men, 1.

Danny Clark's story began two minutes ago. Two minutes ago, the coroner went for a luxurious piss in the urinal down the hall, leaving Danny on the ice steel autopsy table, grey eyes staring up, chest hairs taut, flaccid penis curled up, skull fragments swimming in brain and blood on the street where he was shot. Two minutes ago. Two minutes ago he was dead, the victim of some horrific, unspecified crime. Two minutes ago, whoever had pulled the short straw with their shift was waiting to hose down the scarlet tanged side-walk. Two minutes ago a too-eager medical assistant had prodded the fleshy gash in danny's throat with his pen, and considered licking the tip. Two minutes.

One minute ago, meanwhile, Danny's eyes began to focus. Focus on the hanging orb of light above him, focus on the fact that-- Danny jerked up from the table, and scrambled with terrified fingers at the back of his head. No, no, he was fine, he wasn't-- he checked his throat, and went to speak, but thought better of it-- he remembered before, before the bullet in his head, and how his throat was a scabby meat whistle, sending spittle and blood out instead of words. He couldn't bear that
sound again, could he?

"No," he whispered, and he smiled-- a sure fire sign, he thought, of being alive, before looking down, past his body, and to the corpse meat below-- where Danny Clark-- he-- was still lying, his modesty decidedly un-modest, his throat an open wound, and, if he dared to take a peak, a bloody void where the back of his head should have been. "No," he repeated, his smile twisted inside out.

"Rough times," said the girl who had mounted herself on the gurney opposite. "Bad way to go, worst way to wake up."

There was a pang of embarrassment-- Danny was naked, his cock shrivelled and sluggish from the pang of cold in the morgue-- but it soon passed. This girl-- barely in her twenties, if-- was wearing a fishnet top, her pierced nipples clear for the world to see, and a short black skirt. Her eyes were shadowed bright blue, her thin lips a shade darker. There was a smile there, a twist at the corner, and Danny didn't know what to think-- She didn't seem to mind the cold, and her lips smacked as Danny looked up from looking down.

"Where are your manners, Danny? Eyes up."

"What? No, ugh, sorry, wait, no, no, not sorry-- what the fuck is going on? And why the fuck am I-- am I alive and then.. there? There on that fucking table? Shit! Shit!"

The girl shrugged. "Luck of the draw, innit? You were dead but now you're alive."

"What? How does that-- what the fuck are you talking about?"

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