I pushed the cadaver cart around the morgue while Ghoul window shopped the selection of bodies pulled from the freezer.
“I am looking for something exotic,” He stated.
“You don’t have many options,” I said. “It’s been a slow week around here. Thanks to Guy and the State Police, crime is at a minimum. Right, Guy?”
“Huh? Oh, right. We do our best.”
His attention was elsewhere; not lost, as I personally saw him pop a cocktail of prescribed stimulants chased with a mouthful of formaldehyde. I am confident that he should have died by now, but Guy assured me that his body has built a tolerance over the years. The man is a champion, or, an addict. Guy’s nose was deep in Ghoul’s destroyed torso, observing the rotted workings of his insides.
“Hey, can I help you with something?” Ghoul lifted the remains of his drooping and putrefied head off the slab. “I don’t appreciate being stared at… unless you’re going to take me out for a steak dinner later.”
“Sorry, sorry. This is just so fascinating. How does it all work in there? Do you feel pain?”
“I don’t really feel anything except for my emotions, the effects of drugs and booze, the effects of a good tune—you know, that stuff.”
I pulled another corpse from the freezer and rolled Ghoul close. He appraised the quality of bloat to that of the one on his right and he sighed with disgust.
“What if we take the arms from this one, and the left thigh from here?”
“I am doubtful, but willing to try. We still need to find a new torso and the remaining limbs.”
“I am not sold on anything else I have seen here,” said Ghoul.
“You really don’t have a choice, do you?”
Ghoul’s silence palpitated like an infected toe that is stricken with sudden and relentless gout.
“How do you eat? What do you eat? And how are you put back together?” Guy asked.
“I cook my meats like everyone else; well, like sophisticated cannibals would I suppose and I am kept together by the loving care of Sam here. Damn Guy, what’s with the inquisition?”
“It’s unlike what we hunt with the State Police Special Unit,” Guy shot up and removed his vibrating phone from his rear pocket. “Excuse me, I have to take this.”
Ghoul whispered, “I don’t like all the questions, man. What the hell is his problem?”
“How many other people know about the real you? He’s just curious man, give him a break.”
“Yeah, yeah. Come on, let’s see what else we have to work with.”
The remaining dead offended Ghoul as if he was a well-to-do food critic served abysmal cuisine and he wept at the charred remains of the last specimen offered. He was defeated. I shoved the cadaver cart and hopped on the bottoms rails, riding into the morgues examine space and under the surgical lighting.
“I don’t think I’ll ever be the same.”
“Define this, please,” I said more to myself than to Ghoul.
“I just want to be complete again. I want to be close to the old me… I miss that, you know?” He gurgled in self-pity and hawked a mixture of rotted snot and tears that hit the tiled floor with a splat. “You’ll never understand, will you?”
“Don’t take this the wrong way, but I hope to never find out. And you’re cleaning that up when we get you back on your feet. Well… not your feet. You get the gist.”
The buzzer of the basement’s entrance signaled overhead.
“That’s Liz with dinner. Don’t go anywhere, okay?”
“You’re hilarious, you know that? Regular comedian… asshole.”
Ghoul continued to wallow in his sorrows as I exited the double doors of Knowlton’s morgue. There is something about working on Ghoul that builds an appetite. You would think otherwise with respect to the nature of the job. I punched the release and swung the doors opened.
“How much food can Guy really eat?” Elizabeth handed me a stack of half-a-dozen specialty Pizza’s from the Big Carlton’s Market. “And he is bat-shit crazy if he thinks that I am paying for these.”
“Well, he is bat-shit crazy, so don’t be surprised if he hits you with the bill.”
Five out of six of the pizzas were for Guy and Guy alone; he pulled the replica Rambo knife from his boot strap to show his seriousness.
“You guys gonna save me any?” Ghoul asked.
His spirits lifted when he saw Elizabeth. I know he doesn’t have a thing for her, so I am perfectly fine when the two flirted. She explained that he has grown on her and it makes her happy to make him smile, even though I contested that seeing Ghoul smile was an abhorrent sight that gave way to our neighborhood watch being formed. Those poor kids will never be the same….
“Where’s Guy? I have his fifteen-pounds of meat lovers.”
“Good news—he said a bus filled with South American tourists slid off the ice and plummeted down the valley outside of town. No survivors… what a shame, but on the bright side, looks like Old Ghoul here will have the pick of the litter tonight! Now give me a slice of that pie.”
© Copyright John Potts Jr 2016 – 2017. All rights reserved.