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The Almost Rock Star (A Ghost Story) 1, Caput Mortuum

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Chapter One

Caput Mortuum

It was the kind of day that no one remembers. The clouds looked like my favorite dirty socks, the air was too heavy to breathe, and the burning sun shone brightly on the rotting corpse. Flies buzzed lazily around its corrupted body. 

Off in the distance, the happy screams of children on a playground rose in almost musical conversations over the nearer sound of feeding flies. 

I stood there, staring at my body.

It had been a long time. I hadn’t wandered far from the place. I wasn’t sure about how to  handle what had happened. 

I seemed different. I wasn’t sure if it had been a month or two months. I hadn’t been counting. 

Surely, someone would have found me by now. I’ve been missing all this time. I lived alone, but what about work? And the landlord? She must have broken my door in by now, looking for the rent. God, I hoped someone had gotten my dog. If only little Mambo Pambo was OK. 

I stood there longer and thought about Mambo. Maybe I should try to walk home. I knew it was too far, but I didn’t seem to get hungry now and I didn’t have anything better to do. 

My mind was returning, I realized. I was starting to care about things again. 

I cared about Mambo. My Shih-Poo designer dog I rescued from a shelter. Suddenly, I felt like my whole body was racked with pain and anguish, thinking about my chocolate cream colored Mambo, starved to death. 

Then I remembered, slowly, some stories about how dogs had survived long periods of time when people had left town and left their dogs without food and water. Hadn’t some German Shepard lived six weeks? How long had I been here? I think a pit bull lived two months, but maybe it had eaten an elderly lady who died and, well, I couldn’t remember the rest. No one found her - what was it?  No one found - no one found her and the dog until the - what was it? Then another memory shot into my head. 

A Japanese man found mummified in his bed, dead for more than three decades. The New York Times article came back into my mind clearly, as if I had just read it. His 81 year old daughter wanted to keep collecting his pension. It was horrifying. Wouldn’t the whole block smell like death? Didn’t someone complain?

Tears started in my eyes. What was wrong with me, standing here next to my body all this time? Would Mambo be mummified already? How could I live with myself, starving little Mambo to death after all the effort of rescuing him and his tear stained eyes and matted coat?

I felt life in me for the first time in a long time. I looked slowly around the forest. Still no one. My corpse was well off any path, and partly covered by pine needles.

I needed to get home, I realized slowly. It was like I had been dead and now I was alive. Sort of, anyway. 

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