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michael_j_doyle [userpic]

"Ooh, that smell..."

June 2nd, 2011 (11:00 pm)

"...The Smell of Death's Around You!"

One week of last month:

A human body in a state of Advanced Decomposition has an odor that is indescribable, unmistakeable, and unforgettable. Once you have smelled it from a corpse, you will immediately know it ever afterwards; you will never  confuse it for anything else; and there are no words that can express the visceral, puke-inducing revulsion that hits you like a hammer when you catch the first whiff of it. One week of last month, we had our noses rubbed in it - almost literally.

Tuesday, off to the morgue. Subject A was the only fresh one of the week - a young stud who showed the bad judgement to throw down on a state trooper and a sheriff's deputy. I don't hnow who returned fire, or how many rounds, but the young stud caught one in the shin, through-and-through, which severed artery and vein, with the net result of the young stud bleeding out. The second was a homicide where the victim wasn't discovered for a week. While I was there, they also had the victim of a boating accident who was fished out a month after the fact (I consulted briefly, but the hands were missing, and there wasn't enough dermis left on the feet to work with - algae was growing from the soles)

Wednesday, I caught up paper and worked on Tuesday's cases. Thursday, my partner and I assisted one of the junior analysts  Vic was murdered, wrapped in a plastic tarpaulin, stuffed into a filing cabinet (how he managed that, I dunno, barring dismemberment), then thrown into a farm pond, tarp, cabinet, and all. We only got the tarp in the desperate hope that, against all odds, we might pull a print off of it - with bits of rotted flesh and liquid decomposition products still clinging to it. The boss was in the lab with us as we hung it up to dry under a fume hood, and said that this was the worst-smelling job he'd ever experienced - and he's worked Forensics for thirty-two years. The junior analyst had a lot of trouble, but outlasted the second junior analyst who was giving her snark, I hung on to my lunch, despite decomp goo on my clothes. My partner's a better man than I, since he didn't toss his cookies even after he caught a splash of decomp across his face - but it was a near thing for both of us.

Friday, we got two more - one guy who committed suicide and wasn't discovered for a week, then another guy who jumped off a bridge, and was fished out a hundred and fifty miles and two weeks downstream. Between the maggots on the one and the fishbites on the other, I've used up my quota on stinkers, I think. 

... And that sort of thing is why I don't talk shop with my parents...