By Ron Riekki

“Godzilla’s awesome.”

“Godzilla’s weak.”

“Godzilla’s the opposite of weak.”

“Muhammad Ali’d kick Godzilla’s ass.”

“Godzilla’s nine hundred feet tall.”

“No, I’m saying if Muhammad Ali was nine hundred feet tall, he’d kick Godzilla’s ass.  If they were the same height.  If Godzilla was six feet tall and Muhammad Ali was six feet tall, Muhammad Ali would kick Godzilla’s ass.”

“Come here.”


“Just come here.”

“Just why?”

“Because.  I want you to see this.”

“Just tell me.”

“It’s a body.  I think.”

“You don’t know what a body looks like?”

“Just come here.”

“Quit fuckin’ with me.”

“Just come here.”

“Jesus.  Jesus, that looks like—Jesus.  You think?”

“Should we 911 it?”

“We’re 911.”

“I mean the real 911.”

“Tell the boss.  Call the boss.”

“What’s he gonna do?  He’s gonna dial 911.”

“Just dial the boss.”

“You do it.”

“Why me?”

“I hate paperwork.”

“God, you’re lazy.”

“Are they sleeping?”

“No, that’s a body.”

“But is that somebody sleeping?”

“They’re dead.  Look at the arm.  That’s not what a human arm looks like.”

“He’s human.”

“You know what I mean.”

“This sucks.”

“What do you mean?”

“This is gonna be paperwork forever.”

“Stop with the paperwork.”

“Call it in.”



“My phone’s dead.”



“Use the walkie.”

“What’s the code for dead body?”

“I wouldn’t have that memorized.  This is never gonna happen again.”


“Just use your phone.”

“Then it’s on me.”

“I’ll help with the paperwork.”


“It’s not gonna be paperwork.”

“Dude, just call.  That’s a dead person.  Have some respect.”

“Fine.  Fuck.”

He walks away, leaves me there.  I’m not sure why he wants a private moment with the boss.  I stare at the body, leaning over, making sure I don’t fall off the railing.  Maybe that’s what happened to him.

“Don’t go down there.”

“I wasn’t planning on it.”

“He said, ‘Don’t go down there.’”

“Absolutely no plans on doing that.”

“Well, good.”

“Is he coming?”


“What’s he doing?”

“Calling 911.”


“We’re screwed.”


“I guarantee they’re going to say we did something wrong.”

“Look, we didn’t kill the guy.  We just found the guy.”

“You know what it’s like when the cops come.”

“I don’t.”

“I do.  They start blaming everyone.”

“When did you have the cops come?”

“Mountain lion.”

“Mountain lion?”

“I saw a mountain lion.  We had to call it in.”


“The cops were pissed.  They have to drive all the way up here and look around and, of course, the mountain lion isn’t going to stick around, so they took all this info on me.  Like I made it up or something.”

“Why do we call in mountain lions?”

“Because they kill people.”

“That’s happened?”



“I dunno.  Not that I know of.  But probably.”

“You think that’s what happened to that guy?”

“No idea.”

“Why’s he down there?”

“Maybe homeless.”

“But why down there?”

“Maybe he was sleeping down there.”

“He doesn’t have a blanket.”

“Maybe someone stole it.”

“Killed him and took his blanket?”


“Doesn’t sound likely.”

“I don’t know.”

“Are we supposed to stay here?”


“Till the cops come?”


“How long’s that gonna be?”

“No idea.”


“It’s a far drive.”

“I know.  So we just sit here and stare at this guy?”

“If you want to.  I’m not gonna stare at him though.  I’ve seen enough of him.”

“You think someone murdered him?”


“So he could kill us?”


“Don’t say that.”


“We don’t have guns or nothing.”

“We’ll kick his ass.”

“You think it’s a him?”

“Murderers are always hims.”

“Not always.”


“I dunno.”

“Murder is men killing men.  That’s ninety percent of your murders.  More.”

“So you think he was murdered?”

“Or fell.”

“Or had a heart attack.”

“Or a million things.”

“Yeah, million ways to die.”


“How you think you’re gonna die?”

“Don’t ask me that.”

“It’s a question.”

“I know it’s a question.”

“I’m just curious.”

“Worry about your own death.”

“I do.”


“Don’t be a dick.”

“You’re the dick.”

“I’m just trying to make talk.”

“Let’s be silent.”

“I can’t be silent for that long.  It’ll drive me crazy.”

“Just talk to yourself.”

“I do.”


“How do I know you didn’t kill him?”

“Shut up.”

“I’m just joking.”

“The cops are gonna smell that kinda stuff.”

“You don’t make sense.”

“Just don’t be weird.  Be professional.  They’re going to be all over us.”

“You think.”

“Yeah.  We’re gonna be suspects.”

“Get outta here.”

“That’s how they are.”

“Get outta here.”

“We’re security.”

“We’re nothing.  They hate security.  It’s like when doctors talk to nurses.  They hate nurses.  And nurses hate paramedics.  And paramedics hate EMTs.  That’s how the world works.”

“We’re all working together.”

“That guy ain’t working.”

“Not now.”

“He looks horrible.”

“He’s dead.”

“Like horrible.”

“He’s dead.”

“Jesus, I wonder if he was that ugly when he was alive.”

“Don’t talk about the dead like that.”

“He can’t hear.”

“Unless he’s sleeping.”

“If he’s sleeping, we’re dead.”

“He’s not sleeping.  That’s rigor mortis.  Look at his arm.  His arm is all haunted and shit.  That’s gonna give me nightmares.  Arms don’t go in that direction.”

“He fell.”

“You think.”

“He fell.  That’s a long fall.”

“Or someone threw him off.”

“Like you.”

“Don’t say shit like that.”

“That’s how the world works though.  You can be talking to someone and they could be a murderer.”

“Dude, I’m gonna have to tell the cops you said that.”

“And I’ll tell ‘em you said it.”

“And I’ll kill you.”

“And I’ll tell ‘em you said that.”

“Dude, did you really kill that guy?”

“You’re high.”

“If you did, tell me.”

“Fuck you.”

“Just tell me.”

“Just tell me if you did it.”

“OK, I did it.”

“You’re sick.  You’re kidding right?”

“What do you think?”

“I don’t know.”

“Fuck you.”

“I don’t know.”

“I couldn’t kill anyone.  And, look, if the cops think we did it, we’re on camera all night.  Everything is on camera.  We’re on camera right now.  They can just watch all the footage.”

“Is there sound?”

“I hope not or they’re going to hear all the stupid shit we’re saying.”

“Maybe they can read lips.”

“Then they’d read lips about stupid shit about Godzilla fighting a thousand-hundred-foot-tall Muhammad Ali.”

We stare at the body.  The leaves of the trees softly shaking from the wind.

“This shit makes me sad.”

“It was his time.”

“It’s never anyone’s time.”

“Yeah, it is.  That’s how it works.”

“It could work differently.”

“And we’d all live forever.  And that’d be hell.”

“I wish the world was different.”

“Are you going to try to make out with me?”

“That’s one thing that’s never going to happen in this lifetime.”

“So in the afterlife?”

“Yeah.  In the afterlife, I’m totally going to stalk you.”

“And I’ll beat your ass in the afterlife.”

“I think Socrates said that.”

“Socrates was an idiot.”

“If that guy’s alive, he’s listening to all this stupidity.”

“I was talking about how sad death is.  That’s not stupid.”

“I’m tired.”

“I am too.”

“I hate this job.”

“I like it.”

“What do you like about it?  It’s monotonous.”

“We just found a body.  That’s not monotony.”

“This never happens.  This is once in a lifetime.”

“People will talk about this for years.”

“Not really.”

“You kidding me?  We did something big tonight.  This is like heroic shit.”

“Nothing’s heroic.”

“There’s a dumb quote.”

“Nothing’s heroic in this life.”

“What about James Bond?”

“I’m talking about in real life.  In real life, everyone is just nothing.”

“Again, quoting Socrates.”

“Fuck Socrates.”

“Do you believe in God?”

“Of course.”

“We should enjoy life.  That that’s going to happen to us one day.”

“I hope I won’t look that ugly.”

“You will.”

“You already do.”

“I don’t care.  I’m not into looks.  I’m into being real.”

“Real ugly.”

“Look, just say normal things for a while.  Just try to be a normal person for a few minutes.”

“Nobody’s normal.”

“Just try.”

“I’m too tired to try.”

“I’m exhausted.”

“He gets to sleep forever now.”


The clouds are up there somewhere.  Tonight, you can’t tell if it’s clouds or just blotchy sick sky.  The dark coming on like the world will only be night from now on.  There’s all of these filler moments where all life is is waiting.  Then you get a body thrown into your life.  I feel like I should say this out loud, but I just think it.  I’ve given up.  On my partner.  But, in my head, I think, I’m not going to give up on me.  Maybe that’s all that matters.

We look down at the body.

Maybe he’s thinking of milkshakes and women.  Maybe he’s thinking of the Miami Heat and vodka.  I could care less.  All I know is I’m looking at the body and I’m thinking about death and how to change and how to get on track and how to move on beyond this job and really do something with my life, even at my age, even without having any money.  The body looks up at me.  He’s looking at me, not him.  He’s looking right at me and he’s winking.

Bio: Ron Riekki’s books include Blood/Not Blood Then the Gates (Middle West Press, poetry), My Ancestors are Reindeer Herders and I Am Melting in Extinction (Loyola University Maryland’s Apprentice House Press, hybrid), Posttraumatic (Hoot ‘n’ Waddle, nonfiction), and U.P. (Ghost Road Press, fiction). Right now, Riekki’s listening to Pantera’s “A New Level.”

Read more Crime Fiction Stories on The Yard: Crime Blog

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Publishing Editor for The Yard: Crime Blog.

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