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FISH SCALE Part 2. a Nostalgic Flash Fiction

Around the corner, moments before Chauncey was Hit by that car.  Jimmy was just entering his tenement building. "Late night coming home from a temp job for some automotive corporation. I was expecting the usual greeting and shaking of the hands with every graveyard shift

fishscale1 - FISH SCALE Part 2. a Nostalgic Flash Fiction

Around the corner, moments before Chauncey was Hit by that car.  Jimmy was just entering his tenement building.

“Late night coming home from a temp job for some automotive corporation.

I was expecting the usual greeting and shaking of the hands with every graveyard shift hustler and loiterer that happened to be outside earning cash or just hanging out into the weekend. But, it was oddly quiet for mid August. Probably because there were three blue&whites parked in front of my building. 

“Great, what now?”

The lobby of building 545 had smelled foul for almost a week. A really shitty smell; like dead rats behind a bodega wall. That stench reached a new level when I left for work, this morning. A Rancid, sweet, wet scent, almost inedible. A dozen pussy plugs in a sweaty soiled toilet kind of smell. And the summer humidity only exasperated that aroma. But, that was this morning?  It’s after midnight. What’s going on?

My cross-eyed superintendent had the front door and the side entrance to the dumpsters open.  The smell was so bad you could smell it from the lobby entrance.

I walked in and was like, “Shit?!?”. The Super told me that someone subletting apartment 1B couldn’t take the odor any longer and knocked on a roommates bedroom door to confront them about the smell. Knocking and knocking before opening the door to find the corpse of said roommate.

The people on the lease never bothered to complain bout the smell beforehand because, they were illegally renting out rooms for a profit. So discreet, they were about things, that even the people renting in the apartment barely knew anything about or bothered each other. 

Shit tends to break the fan when you find the naked bloated body of your housemate in bed still watching infomercials; slowly decomposing on his sheets during a hot August heatwave with high humidity in the nineties. 

I’m not sure if I knew the deceased but my hunch is – it was this forty year old guy that rented there for years. If it was, he was a pervert. I knew this because he at one time offered a kid I once knew a few dollars for “Favors” once. …The kid said No. However, the youngbol and his older brother did grift the guy by luring him to our rooftop promising some “handoverfist” with “happy-endings”, and robbed the vic for whatever money they could shake from him. Then extorted him for a few weeks after that with threats of bodily harm and criminal charges.

If it was him rotting in the building, Good Riddance. 

I sat on the staircase listening to Gang Starr’s Mass Appeal album, smoking a few cigarettes, and watching the PIGS and EMT’s rub ointment under their noses and burn some incense to weaken the stench of rot in the air. I even watched our simpleminded super almost kill us all by mopping our hallway with a strong mixture of bleach n water. The chemicals were the worst. I could stomach dead body odor. After all it wasn’t my first time being near a dead body before tonight. 

I stayed there and just watched. I watched neighbors walk into the building and cover their noses in repulsion. I watched a few of them almost vomit where they stood. I listened in on the police taking statements from the roommates and the Super. I always liked recording witness statements when I worked for a private investigator a few years ago. So, I was kind of imagining myself interview all of them. 

The whole thing went on for a few hours. I saw the crime scene detectives arrive on the scene and the meat wagon pickup the body. But, all I kept thinking was –
What was he watching on television.?”

Fishschale2 - FISH SCALE Part 2. a Nostalgic Flash Fiction

FISH SCALE PART 1 : https://newretrowave.com/2018/11/20/fishscale-a-retro-flash-of-fiction-part-1/

Natural City, the album is still available only at www.samhaine.bandcamp.com
A collection of short monologues and flash fictions highlighting some of the individuals that call Hainesville “Home”. These are stories about people who live outside the margins that define civility and exist in the moment on the edge of a razor-blade. This is a pulp future-present inspired by neo-noir, retro nostalgia and some cyberpunk aesthetics. 

 

sam.haine@newretrowave.com

A misanthropic fiction writer and pop culture killer, originally from NYC as well loiterer of the Philadelphia area. The author of a handful of spoken word albums. Member of the Jade Palace Guard; a collective of underground lo-fi artists. Creator and author of HAINESVILLE. Currently residing in Tucson, AZ.

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