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Natural Causes

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posted on May, 27 2013 @ 01:33 PM
PREFACE: For some reason I've been in a somber mood lately, and I came up with this short story. For those who are unfamiliar, an FTO is a Field Training Officer. My hope is that it moves you, the reader, in some way and I'm interested in hearing what you take away from it. Well, here goes:

Natural Causes

Upon doing a cursory check of the perimeter, I entered the house through the already open front door. Inside it was dark, save for my FTO's Maglite.

"Mmm-mmm." he hummed sardonically. "What do you think he's so happy about?"

The bright halogen glow of the flashlight made the pale flesh of the corpse appear pasty, and, squatting down, it was focused right on the body's face, which featured a grim smile frozen firmly in place.

"I don't know. It's just creepy..." was all I could muster at that point, and it was hard not to stare.

"Ha!" he balked. "If the sight of a dead body gives you the willies, you're not going to last long." He then stood up and clicked the light off. He keyed up on his mic.

"Fifty-one fifty."

The radio was turned up quite loud, and the response seemed to echo throughout the whole house.

"Fifty-one fifty, go ahead."

"Fifty-one fifty we've got one DOA, notify coroner."

"Fifty-one fifty ten-four."

Looking around the rest of the house, my first reaction was that he died of natural causes. No signs of forced entry, no signs of any struggle. As we checked each room, there did not appear to be anything disturbed or out of place. No valuables missing.

"Looks like we get to wait, then. At least we won't get punked with the notification, I hate doing that." he dryly stated, again looking down at ... that face ... then turning back to look at me. He snapped his fingers.

"You ok?"

"... Yeah. I'm fine. Natural causes?"

"Seems to be. Guess we'll find out soon enough."

"It's weird, that's all. Does this happen a lot?"

He laughed heartily. "What, this? I'm afraid so my friend, people die all the time..."

I interjected, "NO! I mean ... that smile. Does that happen a lot?"

"Oh. Ah. Not usually, no. Just because it's not usual it doesn't make it un-usual though, if you get me."

After a short while the coroner made his arrival, and we assisted with the processing of the scene and were finally allowed to clear. I'm not sure why I kept thinking about it over the days that followed, but something about it just stuck in my craw. Well, I know what something, it just seemed a bit silly to dwell on it.

The report from the coroner was what we had expected, nothing unusual found at all, no signs of foul play. Later that week, I found myself thinking about it again during lunch with my FTO.

"I wonder if they were able to get a hold of anyone, you know ... that DOA we went on the other day."

"What? Oh. That. I'm assuming they did. Why?"

"The whole thing just strikes me as a bit odd, still. I can't explain it."

"Well, I'll tell you what. You go ahead and perform your own little investigation if it makes you feel any better. Consider it a learning experience. You can't let the little things like this get to you or it will eat you up."

He then bugged his eyes out and took a huge mouthful of his sandwich, eating it with gusto while trying not to choke from his own giggling.

I couldn't help but laugh also, I mean, that face he made was priceless, yet it was not enough to quell the urge I had in the pit of my stomach. Perhaps, like that poor guy's family, I needed some closure too. I needed it to make sense.

The following is a paraphrasing of the report I ended up filing upon closing this case:

A couple of days had passed, and we made contact with the deceased's neighbors, who related nothing out of the ordinary. Didn't know him all that well personally - but seemed to be friendly enough. He'd invited them over a couple times but they just never got around to it. Didn't come across as depressed or anything like that, in fact quite the opposite. Doesn't remember any problems with loud parties or parked cars or barking animals ... can't really remember any visitors, actually. Just another average Joe, par for the course... the perfect neighbor.

After touching base with the coroner, we learned that he was only survived by distant relatives. They seemed distraught by his passing, and were able to offer up a bit about his medical history. There were no indications of mental disease or defect. As far as they knew, based on what they remembered from many years ago, he was normal, well-adjusted, and well-liked. It's just a shame that they had to move away and after a while they lost touch with him, but life goes on.

We then interviewed a few of the deceased's co-workers - all of them gave pretty much the same story. Wasn't exactly in love with his job, but he didn't hate it, either. He showed up for most of the company's social events, but wasn't the kind of guy to just hang around the water cooler and shoot the breeze. Always had a smile on his face.

It was impossible to locate any friends to interview, though. His neighbors, his family, his co-workers ... not a single one offered up any shred of information about who this guy ... this normal, friendly, well-adjusted, seemingly likable, always with a smile on his face guy ... would hang out with socially, and I suppose it is just as well, since they would probably offer up the same exact story as all the rest.

So I concluded, that upon further investigation, there was no evidence at all to suggest any crime had taken place.

He died of natural causes.


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