Fiction: “The cruiser”

The Cruiser 

I could tell as soon as the door was open just a crack, by the smell. the doorstopped against the full extent of the security chain and bounced back against the master key. The manager darted a complicated look at me and said

“See! I told you, they’re in there”

I swallowed the keys back into my fist and nodded at him.They usually were. As I’ve said, I could tell. Shidhur went to get the bolt cutters from the cruiser. Shidhur isn’t much to look at, and he’s not really much to talk to either, what with having only been here from Bangladesh about five months; but he understands simple things like “get the bolt cutters from the cruiser please,” and more to the point he could be trusted to perform such simple tasks and be absent from the story while the manager bellowed threats and inducements through the crack in the door. I let him. Shidhur left without a backwards glance; not big on curiosity is Shidhur. I leant back against the far wall of the corridor and let the manager exercise his throat. It didn’t matter. the show in 411 was long over; I was sure of that.

The “Belgenny” might lay some sort of claim to being the oldest block of flats in Sydney. I certainly don’t know, its not my area of expertise, but what I do know is that the place looks really damn old. I’d guess that it was built in about 1920, which would make it 120 years old or about 40 years older than me. I can retire next year, and I feel every year like a lead  weight; even though paramedic is a protected occupation and I don’t look any older than fifty – and a young fifty at that if I do say so myself, but since I turned 65 it’s like gravity got just that bit stronger, and at the end of the day, the soles of my feet seem to hurt just that little bit more. ‘Be 80, look 40, feel Grumpy’ that’s my motto.

The manager kept shouting into the crack of the door; he was trying conversational gambits now. Silly to think that Carlsen would suddenly come to his senses and decide to come out because “tom is worried about you, he misses you. I’ve got him on the phone right here.”I took it that somewhere down the line this “Tom” was probably the source of the original enquiry that had gotten us here on this “Welfare call.”

That started me thinking. my phone was in the cruiser. If I had it I could have rung up Shidur and found out why he was taking so long to come back with the bolt cutters; It was a simple enough job and I was seriously sick of this corridor, the dingy green paint, the faint tang of aged carpet, and the rasping noise of the manager.The place smelled of tired sunlight.

The manager jumped when I touched his shoulder

“I’m going down to get the bolt cutters.” He looked up at me, confused
“No. your -the other guy-”
“He’s been gone a long time, I’ll go and see whats holding him up”
I cut him off; no point in letting him think he had a vote.
“I’ll be back in a couple of minutes.”

I patted him on the shoulder, reassuringly, turned on my heel and walked to the bend in the corridor that led to the lift foyer on this floor.

Shidur was standing in the gutter behind the cruiser’s open rear door, staring into the dim interior; he held the bolt-cutters in his limp hand and was obviously deep in thought; so deeply that I almost felt guilty in disturbing him. He jumped awake at the sound of his name, regarding the bolt-cutters with incomprehension, and then me, in the door of the building with almost comical shock.

“Shidhur stop fucking around and bring the damn things upstairs, there’s no way we’re getting into that room without them!”

I watched Shidhur’s wheels spin up to his definition of ‘speed’ and  for understanding to kick in.

“Sharon! What’s up?” As usual he mispronounces the “Sh as an almost guttural “Ch”

He gave a kind of shrug that better expressed a range of emotions from ‘failure to understand’ through to ‘Couldn’t give a much of a fuck anyway’. I put a handle on some of the catty things I was moved to say, and remained safely on the subject.

“I just want the fucking door open, my curiosity is aroused.” This was only partially true, but the tone and the smile I tacked on the end of it was intended to reassure Shidhur that I was not going to put in a negative report on his performance and thereby fuck up his standing with the vampires at the department of immigration. He smiled back at me, nervously, whatever it was that he had been thinking about, I knew, had not been pleasant.

the bolt cutters slammed around the chain the way my first son used to bite at my nipples; the image came unexpectedly as a slight jostling of the door brought the smell to my nostrils again: the chain flipped inside the jaws, presenting its narrowest profile to the cutters, and merely allowing the notched blades to only slightly dimple the cheap chrome surface of the link. I swore, held the cutters in my left hand, fiddled the chain with my right, Shidhur took the bottom arm of the cutters, pushed up, I took the upper, slammed down. The chain parted with a noise like a pistol shot, the door popped open inwards into the room, Shidhur fell forward, mostly on his face. My fall was a slightly more controlled. I took a long ungainly step forward, mostly over my erstwhile partner. and Even as I entered the room I knew somehow to look left and I saw them both on the bed.

It’s only ever the details that are different, and as somebody once said, (and no; I won’t look it up for you;) “The Devil’s in the details.” It’s true; it’s the details that make horrible things horrible. It’s the details that you can never forget and which come back unasked for, into your dreams, years later, to roll you out of bed into the cold, into a different version of the same nightmare. Lord knows I’ve seen enough details to tide me over in this life; the cheap Jute twine too tight around the old lady’s wrists, behind her back; the dead guy, open mouth full of busy silver flies, the anal leakage on his designer jeans wriggling with silver, his eyes black with flies eyes looking back at me. The little black boy, raped to death, his anus un-shrunk by post-mortem lack of interest, lying in the garbage, pissed on; somebody’s shat in the corner on the carpet, maybe before, maybe during the maybe three days the body’s been here since it happened; the flies prefer the shit to the dry black blood spray up the wall.

Place is silent.

They’re both on the bed, their heads almost touching the wall to the corridor. They’re both dead, of course. He’s lying spread-leg on the bare mattress wearing baggy khaki street pants, his head propped on a pillow resting against the headboard which appears to be sealed to the wall. he has the usual rictus of a smile on his face, showing all of his teeth and the trademark pale gums caused by catastrophic liver malfunction. She’s lying with her head in his armpit, where they were cuddling when they died. Her head is at a really unpleasant angle, and I guess that at the end, in his galvanic response to the drug, his arm has contracted really tight and broken her neck. In the disturbance her dress has ridden up very high, and I find myself staring at the crotch of her panties and several stray, red pubic hairs that peek out. The crotch of his pants are saturated with a large wet stain that the flies adore. He came first so the outer ring of the patch is simple wet khaki colour. When the semen turned to blood the stains blended and the colour changed. It seems that his heart stopped beating before the blood could overwhelm the semen.

Such is life, the idea and the sight before me seems to hypnotise me. my heart is loud in my ears. I can understand that people have no desire to go on living. that is easy, but the official kits are softer, painless, wafting the- passer away neatly, politely, continently. If you want a centre assistant will counsel you and keep you company as you take your dose, in the location of your choice.

On the other hand, a simple  dose of OrgX will give you the most powerful orgasm you have ever had. It will seem to last for an eternity, because you will die while it’s underway.It’s Guaranteed 100percent fatal And the newest craze to take an old planet by storm – already far more popular than the clinics or the combat clubs; Soon the planet will be empty; just like the pill bottle beside Carlsen – his last testament. The flies seem very loud.

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