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Red Winged Black Bird on a fence post in a field.

That is Where We Keep Them

2006-08-22

Category: prose

The man ran quickly down the street, his baseball cap falling off as he ran. ?Officer! Officer!? he yelled as he ran. He waved his arm frantically trying to gain the attention of the police man.

Deputy Jenkins turned to look at the approaching man.

The runner slowed as he came up to the deputy. He gasped for breath, his having been used in the run. Bent with one hand on his knee, he held his other hand out with his index finger up in the sign for ?wait a minute, I?ve got something to say but I can?t until I?m breathing again.?

?Are you all right?? asked Jenkins.

?Yes,? gasp, gasp, ?I?m fine,? gasp, gasp, gasp, ?I found something.?

?That sounds important,? said the deputy. ?What sort of thing did you find??

The man took a deep breath, held a moment, and expelled it. His mouth began to speak but his lungs took over and he inhaled deeply again. ?Yea, back there, I found the corpse of Dr. Fredericks in the cemetery.?

Jenkins smiled. ?Nothing to worry about, that?s where we keep them.?

?What??

?That?s where we keep them, corpses I mean. It?s what the cemetery is for.?

A look of deep concern leapt to the runner?s face. ?That?s not what I meant. He?s not buried there. He?s just lying on the ground.?

?Oh, did you ask him what he was doing there?? Jenkins said.

?No, I just asked him if he was ok.?

Jenkins tucked his thumbs into his belt buckle. ?And what did he say??

?He didn?t say anything,? the man screamed. ?Half his head was missing. There was a huge puddle of blood on the ground. He was not ok.?

?Puddle of blood, you say.? The deputy rocked back slightly on his heels. ?Do you think that Fredericks may have slipped in it thereby hurting his head??

?What? No, I don?t think he slipped in it. I think it?s his. He?? The man stopped, stammered, waved his hands, looked back toward the cemetery, and then back at the cop again. ?What does it matter? There?s an injured man back there. You should call somebody. You should be going there and finding out what happened.?

?Injured, you say? I thought you said he was dead. That?s very suspicious.?

?I?m not a doctor. I can?t be sure he?s dead, but with that much of his head missing he is definitely injured. Just call for help.?

Jenkins removed a small, spiral-bound notebook from his pocket and drew the pencil from the wire. ?When you saw this injured person, why didn?t you summon help??

?That?s what I?m doing!?

?Hmm, right,? Jenkins mumbled while scribbling. ?So, you?re getting help at the moment, hmm, and when do you think this help will arrive??

The runner threw his hands down to his sides and snorted heavily. ?You are supposed to be that help.?

Jenkins kept writing, his tongue hanging out. ?Right, right.?

The man shouted, ?Agh! Forget it.? He turned and stomped back toward the graveyard.

Jenkins slid the pencil back into the spiral and put the notebook back into his pocket. He tipped his hat and smiled at a passing woman, then he whistled softly while walking down the street.


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