On rotations—at the medical examiner.
To die an unknown death and to be forgotten in a room for weeks must be hard to take in. But it was the sweetest death. He smelled like fruit. Of course, that fruit would have been rotting for a week or so.
Others smell so terrible. Turpentine and old chicken gizzards mixed in can of tuna fish. Green slimy eggs inside a dead lizard on a hot summer day. The smells permeate clothing, through socks and underwear. The smells permeate the breath. In clothes, the smell is washed fast. But by swallowing that smell, undertones come through in one’s own flatulence later in the day.
His was of fruit. It was a pleasant mix of rotting orange and pineapple rinds. It was fragrant hibiscus, lemon blossoms, and peaches eaten by mold. It was strawberries and mangoes pulverized by maggots.
He was gone. His face wasn’t a face. His shell was already slipping away. Lucky for him, he had a wallet on his person. What did he accomplish that day? He bought some beer and cigarettes. Pill bottles were scattered around the counter. He ate a microwave meal. He watched T.V. He died.
No one knew he was gone. His family never called. Had he even married? A bachelor for life, he would maybe bring a woman every once in a while to his wall-to-wall carpeted castle. The rooms wallpapered with cigarette smoke. She would see a few dishes dirty in the sink and a trash can empty with a bag of trash tied right beside it. It was filled with beer cans and T.V. dinner boxes. His fridge was empty. His bed was never made. He had one sheet for a blanket and no pillowcases.
And he lay there for a while. A week or so. His trailer exactly still for a week or so. Silence. He was gone, but his presence survived. It was the equivalent of the tale of a great animal dying in the jungle and its carcass replaced by the unending beauty of a vine with vibrant leaves and gigantic electric purple flowers. What does one do to smell so sweet?
His body welcomed maggots of new and flies of old. Would bees have come too if they knew he smelled of fruit? He liquefied into the floor of his trailer. The carpet was soaked. He would never make a sound. His own bacteria were against him now, swelling his intestines with their own gas by-product. His maggot friends slowly churned and crunched so softly on his skin.
A neighbor in the other trailer knocked on the door to shatter the silence. He hadn’t seen the mild mannered friend in a few weeks. He wondered what happened. The knock would rattle the dust about a bit, but the maggots kept at it. If he had pushed open the door, he too could enjoy the smell of rotting fruit.