I generally don’t read murder cases.
It doesn’t help me learn anything about humanity.
Perhaps it’s the way they’re reported:
The vicarious pleasure in the cruelty and nastiness;
The more gruesome, the more worth of copy,
The more praisworthy.
However, I did notice in one of those major ones,
(One of those that everyone hears about –
An English person abroad
A student dead
A woman among the suspects
A diplomatic incident)
a detail of the case that has always stayed with me.
Apparently the police could trace the location
Of the alleged murderers by the place and time
They switched off their phones,
Hoping, it seems, to cover their tracks,
Whatever tracks they had to cover.
Now, every time I turn on or off my phone,
I imagine policemen deep in the bowels
Of some big, square, grey, sixties copshop,
“So, he’s in Brighton, is he?”
“The suspect is still residing at home, serg.”
I did read recently, however,
Of a story of a body of an old man
Found in a park by a dog.
Traced back to a flat,
He was the partner of another old guy.
They had only got together in their sixties.
Apparently, for a long time
Neighbours had noticed a smell coming from his flat.
When one man confronted him about it,
The old man pretended he couldn’t speak.
When they broke into the flat,
They found the old man gone
And the dead man’s hand rotting under the sofa.
He had been dead a while, they said,
And the body wasn’t well hidden,
Just dumped in some bushes in the park.
I like that story in a way.
There’s something beautifully human about it.
OK, maybe the old man killed him
And had sex with his corpse every night
Until it was too decomposed and putrid even for this level of depravity.
(And that’s why I don’t read murder stories
Because you never know the details,
It’s all blind speculation)
But imagine if that were elephants,
Staying with a dead member of the herd
Until she, or he, had rotten away.
We’d probably think it was cute.
Apparently, the dead man was wearing a tee-shirt that said,
‘England: World Cup Winners 2002’.