A Sky Burial For Charlie

Thirty hours ago, I identified the body. An hour later, I stole the body. Then, I dismembered the body. Then I began disseminating body parts around empty park grounds in hopes that no one will notice. Somebody noticed, and he could shoot me for being a sick son of a bitch at any moment.

Charlie wanted a sky burial and I was always happy to oblige a friend. In hindsight, I probably should have looked that up before I agreed to it. There is part of a naked dead man about hundred yards from me and I’m waiting nervously for nature to reclaim him. No one was biting and I’m on fourth hour watching over him.

I’m waiting at my truck and slowly a pair of hi beams are coming for me. The Ford Escape comes right next to me and stops dead. The door opens and I notice a badge painted on it. I’m trying to think how I’m going to explain the plainly visible severed human arm to a law enforcement officer. He’s already looking at the mass, lucky for me he doesn’t know what it is yet. I reach into my passenger seat and grab the death certificate. Story time.

“Hi, I’m Tom and that’s Charlie.”

I hand him Charlie’s death certificate.

All Mr. Smoky does is look at me through his mirror shades. He’s wearing a big hat and a silly mustache. I take solace in my baseball cap and smooth face, because right now I need an edge. I’m okay with that edge being entirely in my own head. That’s where I need it anyways.

“So Charlie is an arm?”

“The rest of Charlie is in the bed.”

“All together?”

“All accounted for anyways.”

“For the moment, I can take your word on that.”

“Is that all officer?”

“Lord no, hacking up a dead body is frowned upon in these parts.”

“Not like I killed him, that was a surgeon.”

“No, you’re just the one that didn’t have the decency to find a pig farm to dispose of him.”

It’s past midnight, and Mr. Smoky is five years past caring.

“He wanted a sky burial.”

“And that is?”

“Chop up the body, leave it to the elements, wait for vultures and pray. Real popular in Tibet. I did as good as I’m able but I had no yak’s milk and starching my best friends body would have caused me to wretch.”

“So why aren’t you praying?”

“I’m not praying because I’m not Buddhist.”

“And I’m sure your friend appreciates the distinction.”

“Look can I go now?”

“I’d say we still have work to do.”

The old lawman starts hobbling towards the lift gate and goes to work. It’s oddly enough kind of a relief to get it all done, even if it isn’t copasetic with Tibetan tradition. We take Charlie’s remains and make a sort of compass rose with his left arm being the southern most point. We wait through the night to observe Charlie’s passing. I cry as I watch him leave.