The morgue’s double doors swung inward with a loud groan announcing the arrival of another stiff. Alone, Moe maneuvered the bloody gurney into the morgue.
Bart scowled. "Another one?" He rose and gathered his shoulder-length sandy hair with an elastic band.
Moe positioned the gurney in a corner and blew on his hands to warm them. "Yeah, what else would I bring you in this godforsaken cadaver-stacking weather?"
With a sigh, Bart strode to Moe. He agreed with the ambulance driver; when the sky snowed heavily enough, then rained long enough, it created the right amount of sleet on the roads to cause fatal accidents. So far, they had received four bodies.
Bart jerked his chin in the direction of the lumpy, bloody, and covered mass on the gurney. "What happened to this one?" He unzipped part of the body bag for a glance. The jade-green eyes of a young redheaded kid stared back at him, his face marred only by few spatters of blood on his right cheek.
Moe shook his head. "You’re the morgue attendant; check the report."
A smile threatened to break on Bart’s lips. "Come on, Moe. Save me some time; summarize it for me."
With garlic-laced breath, Moe huffed. "You people e’spect me to do everything. Pay me the salary of a driver and want me to do the job of a senior employee. I say, get bent. The whole lot of you." Moe limped to Bart’s desk, opened a drawer, and helped himself to Bart’s peanut butter sandwich. The chair groaned as he parked his ass on it and crossed his legs on the desk.
Bart’s favorite pastime was the delicate process of irritating Moe, who was ready for action at the twitch of a nose. Smirking, he studied the report that came with the body.
Martin Robinson-born in 1990 and weighing 170 pounds-had killed himself.
"Tsk, tsk, Martin, boy! What could’ve been so bad that life became unworthy of you?" Bart shook his head and donned a pair of gloves.
"You talk as if he can hear ya!" Moe sounded amused.
With the intention of leaving Martin in the positive temperature chamber for Ben, the other morgue attendant, to handle, Bart unzipped the bag, mindful not to lose any hairs or fibers, to perform his usual inspection of briefs-a usually ignored search by the medics and police officers. God bless whoever invented the brief’s hidden zippered stash pocket, he or she gave him the opportunity to increase his income every now and then. He glanced up at Moe, waiting for his opinion of Bart’s actions.
"Anyone hearing you just now would think you respect the dead. Anyone watching you will know you don’t, for sure." Moe was the only person who knew about Bart’s little hobby.
"Yeah, yeah, yea-"
Bart gasped and took a step backward. In his line of business, not much shocked him. He’d expected the body to be intact-overdosing on drugs was the most favorable method for suicides-or at least slit wrists, but not the massacre in front of him. He covered his mouth with the back of a hand and drew a long and deep breath. Mangled limbs, as though chewed by a lawnmower and then spewed into a cauldron of acid, lay entwined and held together by thin tendrils of muscles and ligaments.
On cue, Moe got to his feet and approached Bart, a crooked smile on his lips. "Ha! I knew this would get ya. According to the accident report, our feller here jumped in front of a train. There were complications that made his suicide worse."
Bart swallowed hard, feeling uncomfortable with the way the green eyes stared at him. What on earth happened to this kid to push him to commit such a hideous suicide? He must’ve hated himself too much to go through this painful self-mutilation.
The echo of footsteps sounded from the corridor outside. Moe glanced frantically at Bart. "Quick, or we’ll be caught!"
Bart dug hastily through the body pieces. "Must be Ben, early for his shift." Ben’s sense of righteousness rivaled the straightness of an arrow.
Bart’s fingers brushed over a hipbone and he breathed faster, he must be closer to the briefs now. It was possible that the kid wasn’t the underwear-stashing type, then again, he might be. Bart separated the clothing that covered that part, knowing that very soon he would have to abandon his search. Finally he found an elastic band and a zipper. With haste, Bart unzipped the pocket and found the secret hideout of the money of the wise. He fished out a folded note of money so drenched with blood and gore that the denomination wasn’t clear anymore.
At the sound of Ben’s too lively voice, Bart turned around and backed away into the room to put as much distance between him and the other morgue attendant, giving himself more time to stuff the bloody note into his back pocket. Moe apparently had left at some stage, leaving Bart to fend for himself. The chicken!
"Hey, Ben. You-you’re early."