Handsome Boy

A handsome boy plays guitar in his garage band, thick black hair down to his shoulders. Man is he in to the music. The drummer in the background is also smiling, the kid on the bass is into it too. The photo colors are faded. I’m thinking 1970. In front of the 3X5 photo in the drug store frame sitting on the book shelf like an offering is one guitar pick. The guitar itself—-a Stratocaster–is hung on the wall like a museum piece. Next to it is a glass framed psychedelic 60’s era poster. Bright wavy yellows, purples and greens. Iron Butterfly at the Fillmore. I can hear those kids now playing at their high school dance. In-da-gadda-da-vida, baby. All the chicks digging it.

I look at the books neatly lined in the cases. Herman Hesse, Carlos Castenada, Hemingway, the Anarchists’ Cookbook, Jack Kerouac, all books I own myself. On another shelf there are others. How to Win in the Sport of Business, Effective Marketing Strategies, The Power of Habit. There is a purple bong that looks like it hasn’t been used in decades either, set up on the top shelf. Memories.

The living room is freshly vacuumed. The Electrolux sits by the door, its electric chord neatly wrapped in place. The superindendent who let us into the apartment stands there waiting patiently.

A middle-aged man in a bathing suit with his arm around three smiling children(maybe seven, twelve, and fourteen), poses on a beach, the Caribbean sea behind them. On the wall in the small open kitchenette the police officer is looking at a framed poster that says “My Kid Made This.” There is a 1st grade drawing of a man and woman and a house and a dog and a great big sun.

On the coffee table in front of the couch is a lap top computer, still open, its screen gone black, a pair of eyes glasses, neatly folded next to it. A glass of what looks like scotch with only one last drink left in it. A neatly typed sheet of paper is also laid there titled “Instructions.”

Down the hall there is a bottle of aerosol on the ground by the half open bedroom door. There is another bottle on the ground by the bed and one on the bed stand. The bed is neatly made. The man lays supine on the bedspread, his arms holding a black garbage bag wrapped around his head.

My young partner runs the strip. Six seconds of asystole. Then he looks at his watch and calls the time.

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