VOICES IN THE CROWD
A crowd gathers ’round the front door of the condominium unit; the trauma team emerges with a zippered body bag; the stink from the apartment quickly drives the curious back again.
As the path widens, the conversations start up, fueled by questions from one who apparently is experienced at gathering information.
“Hello ma’am, do you live next door?”
“Well yes, but he kept to himself; He’s a writer and rarely leaves his unit except to get mail. I work long hours. My cat would have nice things to say about him if he could talk; they are very good friends.”
Turning to the crowd, “How many of you live here at Villa Saguaro?”
Hands raise; voices ring out as one, “I do.”
“You there; any idea when he died?”
“His lady friend is right there beside you.”
“Oh, Hi, I don’t want to seem rude Ma’am, but were the two of you very close?
“Off and on.”
“Are you aware that he had two strokes last year?”
Eye brows raise. A gasp. Hand comes up to mouth. “No I didn’t know; he always seems okay except for the medicine he takes, which appears to slow him down.”
A DOCTOR IN THE CROWD: “Not all strokes have obvious signals but a disabling stroke for one who lives alone could cause the victim to die a gruesome death with no way to eat or drink or go to the bathroom.
Part of the stink you detected was from urine and feces. Does anyone ever call and check on him?”
‘Who found him?”
“He was offered $200 a month rent for his unused parking space and he turned it down so his family would have a place to park if they came by.
“His landlord came by to collect the rent. The rent is usually in the door; it wasn’t there so he came in. The door wasn’t locked. The deceased always left the front door unlocked when he went to bed. That way if he had to call 911 in the middle of the night the door wouldn’t have to be knocked down.”
Another very audible gasp.
QUESTIONER: “If you checked on your friend now and then you might have saved him from all this.”
“Well, it doesn’t really matter.”
“Why’s that Ma’am.”
“Well he brought it on himself; ya know what I mean?”
“No ma’am I don’t know what you mean; what do you mean?
“He was an agnostic.”
“I beg your pardon?”
(A Frown darkens the face of the questioner.)
“That doesn’t make sense.”
“He wasn’t a believer.”