As an officer, dealing with dead bodies is part of the job. Every first responder has a dead body story. Some are more unusual than most.
I had one dead body call that was different for sure. It was so different, I can still picture it like it was yesterday.
Way back in the day, my FTO and I were dispatched to a dead body call at a mobile home. The fire department originally responded to the location for a medical aid call. They ended up finding a possible suicide instead.
When I walked into the mobile home there was a musty smell like the windows hadn’t been opened in years. It was just stagnant air mixed with dust. There was a cluttered look about the place where things were stacked everywhere.
The decor of the place made it seem like I traveled in time to the late 1960s or early 1970s.
The deceased elderly woman was sitting in a recliner with an old knitted blanket covering her. You could see the outline of her body under the blanket with her hands on the chair’s arm rest. The only thing showing was her feet and lower legs from under the blanket.
There was a bottle on the end table that was tipped over with some pink pills spilled out.
I pulled the blanket off of her head and she looked dead for sure. Her head was tilted to the right and her eyes were closed. At least she wasn’t staring at me and there was no smell yet.
There was pink drool on the right side of her mouth and chin. The pink drool had the same color of the pills that were spilled on the end table.
After I was done looking at the body, I covered her back up and sat down at the kitchen table to write my report. I called the coroner and waited for him to arrive. My training officer sat at the table with me as I started my paperwork.
It was pretty quiet except for the occasional radio transmission.
Being new, it was a little weird to sit in a stranger’s home while you waited for the coroner to take their lifeless body away. Even more so when she was sitting in her chair next to you like she was taking a nap. Except she had a blanket covering her head like she was hiding.
It was deathly quiet when I saw something move out of the corner of my eye. Did I see that right?
I looked toward the dead body and saw something moving under the blanket where her left arm was. My FTO and I almost jumped out of our chairs as we quickly turned toward the body.
It looked like the woman’s left arm was moving under the blanket!
Adrenaline shot through me as I wondered what was going to happen next. The arm started moving more and more. Was the dead woman now a zombie coming back to life?
Just as the zombie was ready to attack, this little kitten poked its head out from under the blanket where the hand was.
I won’t lie, I let out the deepest breath ever. I remember my FTO doing the same.
It was the funniest thing in the world and the biggest sense of relief too. Who would’ve thought the kitten was spending its final moments with her?
When I started my shift that night I had no idea I might be eaten by a zombie.
We often dealt with the solemn task of escorting the departed from this earth to what lies beyond with humor. “Civilians” probably would think us crude or disrespectful but we never saw it that way. We confronted death and dying far more frequently than others who lost friends and loved ones only on rare occasions. We saw it almost daily.
I won’t repeat any of those blue humor tales now but they make their way into my books with just enough fiction added. I’m sure you have stories of funny t-shirts, bumper stickers or other creative output from our brothers and sisters that resulted from those otherwise un funny cases.
Mike, do I have stories. lol