Monday, February 4, 2013

The Stalker by Mack Tanner

Warning: This is quite a gruesome and gory visualisation.....

'CARACAS, VENEZUELA.'

THERE WAS NO REASON WHY SHE HAD TO BE THERE before they removed the body and Gomez knew it. All she was supposed to do was take possession of the dead man's passport, inventory the effects, and hold them until the family told her where to send them. Captain Gomez could have easily waited until the scene was cleaned up, then invited her in. Instead, he had called the Embassy and insisted she come immediately to the Fortunata Hotel. The sadistic, chauvinist bastard hadn't given her a hint about what she was going to see either. She had been expecting someone who had died in their sleep, lying on a bed.

 The door to the hotel room was open when she arrived, the room filled with uniformed policemen and investigators dressed in civies. Gomez saw her come in and invited her immediately into the bathroom, then stood there watching, waiting for her reaction. He didn't get the reaction he was hoping for.


A naked man, hanging from a shower head was a gruesome sight, but she had seen a lot worse in her twelve years of consular work.

 Death had not come easy. The man's face was a contorted, deep purple color, the contrast making his long, blond hair look almost white. His open blue eyes had bulged out from the sockets like squeezed grapes trying to escape their skins. His mouth was open wide, making it look like he had been screaming just before he died, and his swollen tongue stuck out, covering his lower lip. The dead man was naked and Lois could see bloody cuts and black bruises on his arms and his body at the level of the water taps, evidence of a last desperate struggle to get loose. A twisted piece of light green clothing that looked like pajama pants held him suspended from the shower head.

 His toes dangled only two inches above the floor. There was a wastebasket in the shower. It was tipped over and lying a foot or so out of reach. The man's bowels had released on death and fecal material splattered the back of his legs, the blue and white tiles of the shower, and a magazine lying at his feet. The open magazine on the floor showed a glossy, colored print of a blond woman lying naked on a water bed. The model was holding both her legs up and open to show a long gash of pink mucus membrane surrounded by thick, blond hair.

 The thing that almost got to Lois, that almost sent her running to the toilet bowl, was the smell, the heavy mixture of decaying human flesh and dried fecal material. The man must have been hanging there for a day or more before being discovered.


 She looked from the body back toward Captain Gomez. He was wearing his uniform, a gray, military style outfit with lots of shining silver telling the world his rank, his position, and how accurate he was with the .45 pistol that rested on his hip in a dark brown, tooled leather holster. Her lips pressed tightly together, she locked her eyes with his and held the stare for enough time to let Gomez know he hadn't rattled her.

 'Let's go look at the effects,' she said, her voice showing a cool she really didn't feel. 'It's obvious he didn't have anything of value on him when he died.'

 She turned and walked out of the bathroom into the hotel bedroom, taking a deep breath of the air being pumped through the wheezing air conditioning system. A pair of cops and two civilians, both wearing white smocks, stepped back into the small bathroom to continue whatever kind of investigation they had been doing when Lois had arrived on the scene.

 The Fortunata was a hotel long past its prime. It had once catered to rich Venezuelans in from the provinces for a weekend. Now the hotel depended upon the young world travelers carrying thick books of traveler's checks but looking for bargains. Despite it's ancient history, the heavy, colonial style of the furniture and the paneled wall decor looked almost hokey tourist. The dark-stained, oaken furniture showed burn marks of forgotten cigarettes and the rings of a dozen different glasses. The bed was covered with a faded red spread that clashed with the worn green carpet.

 'His wallet and passport are there on the desk,' Gomez said, pointing to the narrow desk that was an extension of a chest of drawers. 'His clothes are hanging in the closet and there is a suitcase there, too. The suitcase has not anything worth money.' Gomez's English was well pronounced but not always grammatically correct.

 She walked to the desk and picked up the blue passport and opened it. The dead man was on Steven Morris Temple, born in Ohio on February 4,1964.

 'You going to need to keep anything for the investigation?' she asked.

 'What investigation?' Gomez asked. 'Is very obvious he was alone when he hang himself.'

 'You're calling it a suicide for sure then?'

 Gomez got that smirk on his face she had seen before, the one that announced he considered all gringos, especially gringos who worked for the gringo government, dumb cretins who owed their wealth to a joke of God.

 'I don't think the norteamericano mean to kill himself,' Gomez announced, 'I think he do it accidentally.'

 'An accident?' she barked. 'How in the hell does a man accidentally hang himself with a pair of pajamas from a shower head?'

 'Come! I show you.' He turned and walked back into the bathroom, leaving her no choice but to follow.

 Inside the bathroom the four men jabbering in Spanish at each other still hadn't cut the corpse down so they could take it away.

 Gomez stepped to the shower and, bending over, pointed with his finger to the dead man's right thigh, the policeman's hand almost touching the limp, dangling pe*** of the corpse.

 'See these spots?' Gomez asked, looking back up at her, the macho smirk again on his lips. 'I am positive our police lab will confirm these are man seed stains. In a country of beautiful women, your fellow here prefer to play with his self in a very dangerous way.'

 'I don't believe it,' she said. 'Why would anyone do that with a rope wrapped around his neck?'

 'I find it hard to believe, too,' Gomez said, standing back up. 'But I have read about it a police journal. The article say there have been many similar cases in North America. Your young men, they get extra pleasure by cutting off the air while they play with themselves. They claim it make the feeling much more better. It make this one feel so good he fall off the bottom of the wastebasket he was standing on. The magazine say the same thing has happened many times before when young gringos play with themselves this way.'

 She wondered why he didn't call it mastu******* and decided he probably didn't know that English word. She admitted to herself she didn't know what it was called in Spanish.

 'I've never heard such nonsense,' she whispered.

 'The magazine article say that many times the police and the doctor cover up the true facts out of sympathy for the family. You  North Americans never want to admit your own weaknesses. That is why you continue to blame the Colombianos, because your children can't stay away from poison like cocaine.'

 It was a political argument she had heard before from Gomez and she didn't want to get involved with it again.

 'If you don't object,' she said, ignoring the challenge to debate, 'I'll go ahead and inventory the effects, fill out the form for you to sign, and take everything back to the embassy. I'll have to send a telegram to the family and let them know what happened. Where will the body be when we get instructions on the disposition of remains?'

 'The usual place, the police morgue.'

 It took her another fifty minutes to list each item belonging to the deceased. She included almost everything, the exact amount of money, the number of handkerchiefs, even each individual coin. The only thing she left off the inventory list was the open package of condoms. The condoms were an expensive American variety made out of lambskin instead of latex rubber.

 Steve Temple hadn't left a lot to send home. There were a handful of cruzeiros, an empty folder for traveler's checks, a watch, a small camera, and a couple of credit cards.

 She showed the list to Gomez, when she was done and he quickly signed it. He didn't bother to check it against the pile of clothing, paperback books, and toiletries lying on the bed.'

- Debolina Raja Gupta

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