DEATH IS NOT A DIRTY WORD
By Dr. Quincy, M.E.
I’m Dr. Quincy, M.E. and I’m here to tell you that death is not a dirty word – and if you hadn’t already figured that out from the title of this article I’ve got a good mind to revoke your MENSA membership. I’ve agreed to take time out of my busy schedule trying to fight corruption in City Hall so as to share some of my knowledge and insight with you. Furthermore, by my calculations three murders go unsolved every day I’m not at work because the LAPD are astoundingly ineffective when it comes to solving murders, so you’d better make damn sure you’re appreciative.
When I received a message from Les Floyd on Facebook asking if I’d consider writing a guest entry for his internet diary, I was unsure. But then he informed me that my recent words of wisdom and true stories on so-called “social media” inspired him, so I was only happy to oblige in the hopes that I could work similar forensic magic through my words for your eyeballs. I’m still relatively new to Facebook and things like it, and honestly, I don’t get what’s so “social” about something that keeps everyone at a distance. Websites will never replace my favorite booth at Danny’s, where I can share a gin with my reasonably-talented assistant Sam. Not literally share a gin, you understand. He’s on a good enough wage that he can buy his own.
As a medical examiner, I deal with corpses every single day. You may have seen many of my exploits documented on my television show a few years ago. Let me tell what is a dirty word, or rather, phrase: reality TV. Nowadays it’s all self-obsessed young people trying to avoid doing actual, meaningful work. Back in my day, television companies weren’t afraid to showcase real talent and hard work, like my own experiences and those of my good friend Columbo. Fame has always been a drug to many snot-nosed punks, and I’ve seen the fatal consequences of those who mainline it. People will never learn. But that’s why I’m here. To try and teach them! And by ‘them’ I of course mean ‘you’.
Did you know that the human body decomposes at a rate of approximately 60mph? Or that several of the gases caused by the process can be used as highly lethal explosives? Death holds many mysteries, but thanks to my due diligence I’ve uncovered around 76% of them. We shouldn’t be afraid of him. One way to do this is to humanize Death as both a concept and individual. If he calls round your house in the middle of the night, you might think to call the police – but he’s not a burglar so don’t treat him like a common thief. He’s only doing his job or, if you’re lucky, popping round to give you notice that he’ll be back soon. Treat him with respect and courtesy. Unless he really is a burglar, then you should call the police.
Here’s another tip: Death can take many forms. Unfortunately for many of my clients, he chooses a bullet. That’s too small and fast to notice until it’s too late! My advice: don’t fraternise with people who own guns. Unless they’re cops. Or me, because I own a gun. I don’t think Sam does, though. I suspect he’s really good at some form of martial arts so his hands are like bullets.
I recently investigated a case involving a boxer who punched himself to death. Terrible business. And what provoked such a startling and unorthodox suicide was so bizarre it lead to a television company pitching a brand new series about me, to me. They want to call it The Dr. Quincy Mysteries and have it where I do what I do best – solve murders! But the twist is I routinely uncover strange and unusual causes. Now, I’m not saying it’ll be supernatural, but it might be supernatural. I said to the company “You want to see strange and unusual? You oughta come with me on a drug bust!” I once infiltrated a house full of kids high as kites on drugs. Hashish, Mary Jane, Horse – you name it, they were all on it. And they had these awful Indian-style rugs on the walls and played vinyl records of progressive rock on a constant loop…! It was the sort of place where you wiped your feet leaving. Any of those kids could meet Death any day. We all could. Sometimes Death uses our own bodies against us, other times he uses someone else’s bodies against us. And there I am, figuring out what the hell went wrong.
I’m going to let you all in on a secret now. I’m renowned for guarding my private life with all the tenacity of a freshman trying to score with a girl on prom night, but I think this is the right time for sharing. I’ve been writing a novel about a famous forensic expert called Chuck Connors. He is entirely my own creation. He regularly goes on adventures with his best friend, The President of All the Americas. I didn’t invent him; he actually exists. Along the way they both learn important life lessons, often while combating a new outbreak of Bubonic Plague, or unruly punks, or the undead in Cuba. The President uses all the resources at his disposal to create fantastic and astounding devices, such as an Adventure Jet and a car that can talk and drive itself. I’m downright convinced kids these days could learn a lot from these two men, so I’d like to share an excerpt with you to close this article. I think you’ll agree that it ties in nicely with the overall theme. And who knows? Maybe it’ll inspire enough of you to look at your life in a new light, or maybe even lead to the creation of a best-selling movie or computer game. But what do I know? I’m only a highly-qualified medical examiner.
Chuck Connors stood over his arch-nemesis Buck Summers with all the triumph of a world-class gymnast. “You’ll never learn, Buck,” he said. “My fists are augmented with the power of justice, whereas your face is powered by evil. It can never beat me, whereas I can easily beat you. Which in fact I just did. With my aforementioned fists.”
“You might think you’ve defeated me,” Buck snarled, “but by this point we’re only halfway through the novel so you can be sure I’ll somehow escape and our paths will cross again!”
“Or you won’t, and a new, more exotic villain takes centre stage!”
“Chuck!” The President shouted his best friend’s name as he ran over. “I’ve just had my chief of staff on the Adventure Phone—turns out there’s an exciting and dangerous adventure brewing in Peru. Something about germ warfare and reanimated cadavers!”
“That’s preposterous!” Chuck spluttered the words like he didn’t like the taste of them and just wanted them the hell out of his mouth. “It’s medically—or rather, forensically—impossible for a corpse to reanimate!”
“Sounds like my backup plan is now my main plan!” Buck said with a devilish grin. “Wait until you see what I have in store for Cuba!” He laughed like a maniac. Maniacally, you might say. “I’m going to teach you both that death is a dirty word and I’ve got a potty mouth!”
“Death is not a dirty word, Summers,” The President argued. “Nor is it something we should be afraid of.”
“I couldn’t agree more, Mr President,” Chuck agreed. “And I’ll tell you what you should be afraid of, Buck. Prison. Because that’s where you’re going!” And with that he punched his enemy in his stupid ugly face with all the grace common to the hands of a world-class forensic expert.