The door swung open. I recognized his corpse at once.
All the steel drawers looked the same, aligned like checkerboard squares in a wall freezer. This was a place to keep human flank steak cool until someone like me could come along and claim ownership. Like you could put value to a corpse, right? Gather the keys, the blood-soaked wallet, the funeral bills, and you own someone’s soul.
The coroner said nothing. Looking at cadavers all day like frozen dough on an oversized cookie sheet probably did things to you.
I said it was him. I didn’t look at the face. I already knew what it looked like.
I got the belongings in a crinkly plastic bag. The sheet went back over. The nose had been crushed flat in the last few seconds of life. The head resembled a misshapen basketball under the fabric. I watched as the lumpy body got stuffed back in the unlit drawer. I wondered how they cleaned out the freezers. Probably some poor Mexican on his back with a bottle of Windex whistling and thinking about dinner.
I left. No fuss, no tears, no sinking realization. I just drove with the windows down.