Rolling Circle Press

Mill Valley, California

Autopsy

The corridor ended with armed doors: Alarm Will Sound.Across from them was a door with a frosted glass pane and a sign: Morgue. Two men’s voices filtered through from the other side.

“Women on his shoulders.” The voice paused. Then, “What’s it say on his hands, Doc?”

“One. And eight. Eighteen,” came another voice.

Another pause.

“Hey, hey, what’s this?” came the first voice. “You imagine having that on your dick? He need to sit down to piss.” The voice drawled disapproval.

“They’re into piercing, these guys. Being punctured. Validation of self through suffering.” Something went click and the voice changed from a conversational tone into a more formal, abstract one.

“There is a metallic piercing fetish penetrating the meatus of the penis. There are numerous tattoos on the back, arms, neck, hands and legs. There is a healed stab wound in the anterior lower quadrant of the trunk. There is a healed gunshot wound in the left deltoid. There are needle tracks in the capsule of the left olecranon and wrist and on both ankles. The clavicle is fractured. There are numerous tears in the intercostal area. The liver is ruptured. The putative cause of death is the ruptured liver. The individual appears to have fallen or been thrown from a height, hitting on the left shoulder.”

Another click. The voice went back to a conversational tone. “Life’s a bitch. Then you die.”

Suddenly the door opened. An African-American orderly with “who are you?” written on his face stared at them. Behind him was a tiled room with stainless steel appliances. A mangled cadaver—shaved head, about 5-foot 6, body covered with tattoos, lay on a dissection table. Rosanna stiffened when she saw the hands: it was the guy from the Dieciocho posse at the Coco Rio Club. Loco recognized him too. “I knew that guy,” he whispered. “They called him Pitón.” A doctor holding a recorder moved into the space behind the orderly. At the same moment a group of hospital security and LAPD noisily approached from the end of the corridor.