Up On the Hill

The car had been sitting there for over a week, its tires already stolen, the front jacked up sittin’ on milk cartons and all the windows opened, either broken or rolled down. You could see it from the front door of my apartment building, up there under the freeway, over by the new construction and close to the homeless encampment. So obviously no one was really tryin’ ta hide it, cause if they were there’s better places just over the hill between a couple-a-warehouses or down across Third Street where the ground flattens out and chunks of the old freeway have been left to rot.

And who knows, maybe when this all started it was just another stolen car in the process of being stripped. But now apparently it was something more as the cop cars came rushin’ in with their lights flashin’ and sirens blaring vying for space on the one lane road while two uniformed CHP officers cordoned off the area with that yellow police crime scene tape. Yet whatever it was that had happen it wasn’t what you’d call anything urgent. Not with all the police just standing there staring while one of them poked a stick into the driver’s side window. And then after a few long moments while the wind blew and nobody moved they started covering it up with a large white tarp that one of them had just dragged outta the trunk of his car.

Over across the road up on the embankment a group of homeless folks stood around and watched, the closest that anyone besides the cops were gonna get, and even they looked a little uninterested. Yet my imagination was workin’ overtime wonderin’ just who or what it was that was in that car. Like was it someone that got whacked by gangsters and then their body discarded in some rundown neighborhood like mine where’d it take at least a week to find? Or was it just another pathetic wino passed out and died with an alcohol blood level that’d rival formaldehyde as a substance to preserve the body? Although you could tell just by the way that some of the cops were covering their mouths that there wasn’t any of that “preserving” goin’ down and if it was anything like the smell of rancid fried fish that’s been permeating the hallway outside my apartment for the last few weeks, well, they were in for it.

Yet the odd thing is usually in my neighborhood stuff like this just don’t generate much attention, but obviously this one was a little different, more than a stripped car or a dead body usually provoked anyway, and like everybody else I just stood around for awhile and watched the show – funny how the morbid stuff always seems to fascinate folks – and then after standin’ there for a minute while Fast Eddie and the security guard joked about all the dead bodies they’d seen I kinda lost interest and went inside.

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