I had something of a shock as Duty Officer in Pleasantville today. Maybe 'shock' is too dramatic a word. 'Surprised,' perhaps. No, I think I should say I was 'mildly interested' when attending a sudden death in the en-Chavened high-rise blocks of Scargill Towers. On this occasion, I learned that the deceased was in fact a Diaspora, and not the indigenous feral alcoholic I had become accustomed to encountering on this working-class estate. He had been dead for two weeks, and had not been missed by a soul. We had only been alerted when an irritated neighbour telephoned police to complain of a smell of 'sumfink like sh*t' emanating from his flat.
It was hardly surprising that he had not been missed, as he had evidently become quite adept at keeping himself to himself. In Scargill Towers, 'diversity' means drinking Tennant's Super one day, and White Lightening the next. Racism is rife, and the local Chavs show no mercy towards any Diaspora who unwittingly enter their domain. The neighbours had never seen him. They had heard him leaving home in the very early hours of the morning and returning very late at night, to catch a few hours sleep before returning to the slavery of his below-minimum wage job.
Due to his advanced state of decomposition, I had been called to ensure that there was no indication of foul play. When I saw his remains positioned between the wash-basin and the toilet, with his underpants around his ankles, I was satisfied that he had died of natural causes. I have attended many similar deaths. The unfortunates who suffered the indignity of death in this state of undress and in close proximity to the toilet had all died of a heart attack. There is something about the onset of a heart attack that causes the afflicted to believe that they are constipated. Nevertheless, I follow procedures and instruct the officer to turn the body over to ensure there isn't a knife protruding from his back, and watch as the officer gags when the skin of the Diaspora's arm comes away in his hands.
The flat shared all of the Spartan comforts of so many Diaspora I had visited whilst posted to Dystopia, only this man had less than I observed even in that desolate place. His living room consisted of an old wooden table and one old wooden chair. There was nothing else. Not a thing. The bedroom had a futon, and that was it. All that remained of his estate to be passed onto his loved ones, if he had any, were these three pieces of furniture that had no doubt been rescued from a skip. It was difficult to discern if the rancid smell within the flat had been there prior to his death, or if it was the result of his rotting flesh. One thing was for sure, I would have to change my uniform upon returning to the station. Death even sticks to your skin, and only a good shower will remove it.
So that is it. A life gone, and nothing in this world to remind us that he once lived, save for the few huge black flies that dart around his flat. His carcass had provided the spawning-ground for their eventual birth, thus ensuring that the essence of his being will continue in an equally insignificant and forgetful life for a few days more. I wonder, briefly, what his life story had been. It's the only mark of respect I can offer to this poor man, before another call requires my presence elsewhere.