This one’s not so bad, Officer Prill thought. Curious thing with the jumpers; either they would explode on impact, or just bounce of the ground and look fine. This one looks like he’s sleeping, except for that bit of blood smeared next to his head. But even that could be a nosebleed. I used to get those some nights. Wanda would always get angry the next morning. I ruined another set of sheets, she would yell. As if it was something I could control. Then one day they just stopped. Still don’t know what caused ‘em but they’re done now.
“Sir,” Officer Rick Richter softly shook Prill’s shoulder. “Y’alright?”
Prill blinked once then twice, clearing his throat. He again saw the body at his feet. Sleeping– sure. He crouched down, his knees fighting the effort on the way down. Were they real joints, Prill could just hit ‘em with the ol’ WD-40. He imagined himself with another holster on his belt for WD-40 cans.
“Rick can you get the sheet out of the back of the cruiser. Eyes are piling up.”
Rick nodded and walked back to the cruiser. The lights were still on, grabbing the attention of everyone driving by. They always did; necks would turn to rubber, cars would slow. Prill had taken to calling the lights his magnets. When Rick asked why, Prill said because flashing red and blue’s attract the steely gaze of everyone around. When Rick said that certain types of steel wasn’t magnetic, Prill dismissed him, laughing.
Snapping a pair of latex gloves on, Prill examined the body. First, he closed the left eye and after offering the dead stranger a prayer, he reached into the bloke’s pockets. Prill named each item as he pulled them out– just like the detectives did in the crime shows he and Wanda watched.
“Phone, screen heavily damaged. Keyring. Pair of headphones, tangled. Ah, wallet.”
Rick was behind Prill ready with the sheet. Prill stood up as Rick snapped the sheet open. He held the corners as it floated down in folds over the body. The top took to the pooling blood, bursting into a rusty nova. Prill flipped the wallet open and instinctively looked for cash.
“Just three bucks,” Prill said into the wallet. “Not even enough to buy a happy meal.”
Rick grunted. “Can get something off the dollar menu though.”
Prill didn’t respond. He was trying to lose himself in thought. “Couple of credit cards, gift card, ah, here we go. Poor bloke’s name is, er, was Percival Yandy. Really poor bloke.” He chuckled, waiting for Rick to join in on the laugh. When he did, Prill stopped and scanned over the details. “38. Lived in Soho. Rick, get on the horn and find out who the next of kin is.” He said handing over Mr. Yandy’s identification card.
Prill began to pace around the body, crunching glass underfoot as he went. He looked up. That’s a bingo, Prill thought spotting the missing high-rise window. He would go there next he decided. He waved over at the paramedics and gave the thumbs up to move the body.
“Find anything?” Prill said, leaning against the open door of the cruiser.
“Yeah, we tracked down the fella’s wife. Gonna give her a call when we get back. I found him on facebook too,” Rick said, handing over his phone.
Prill swiped through a few photos. Each featured a smiling Yandy, a wife, and sometimes two smiling girls, presumably daughters. “Looks like a great family.” Prill said, handing the phone back. “Alright, let’s head in there and ask around.” Prill said, thumbing at the high rise.
The two officers entered the building and at the direction of the receptionist hailed the elevator and told to go to floor 22. They rode the spacious, well-lit elevator up, all the while talking about elegance of the elevator and about what they thought Mr. Yandy’s occupation was. Prill said insurance and Rick said that he thought he was probably an ad man– he’d been watching a program with his wife, Linda, about ad men working and riding in elevators in high rises just like these.
The doors opened to rows upon rows of cubicles. The two heard telephones ringing somewhere, and a faint breeze brushed against Prill’s ankles. They entered, looking for their shattered window and were given no notice. Following the breeze, Prill and Rick found the hole next to the floor’s glass-walled corner office. Prill knocked on the glass. The man inside looked up from his stack of papers with utter contempt.
“Excuse me,” Prill said, fogging up the glass. “Mind if we have a word?”
The man inside nodded and exited the office. “What can I do for you today, officers?”
Rick turned and thumbed towards the hole in the wall. “You know you’re missing a window?”
“Yes.” The man said. His matter-of-factness took Prill by surprise.
“There’s also a fellow dead down there y’know? Name’s Yandy. Know him?” Prill said.
“Percival. Of course I know him. Been working here for, oh, ten years now. I watched him hurl himself out of said window earlier.”
“Yes sir. You said that already. Yandy’s dead.” The man said throwing his hands out. “This isn’t the first time he’s done it.”
Prill turned to Rick who shrugged and then back to the man. He placed both hands on his hips, to brace himself and to give the appearance that he was still in control of the conversation. He always felt more in control with his gun close at hand. He thought again about having a can of WD-40 near his left.
“Excuse me?” Prill said unamused. “Did you say he’s done this before?”
The man crossed his arms and leaned against the glass wall. “Yes, that’s what I said. He does this about once a month or so. He starts ranting and raving. First it was about his existence being boiled down to a desk and his phone. Lately though, it’s gotten worse. When he has his flare up’s he says he’s already dead.”
Prill leaned forward and gestured with his hand for the man to continue.
“I don’t know what else you want me to say officer. He gets on everyone’s nerves with such talk. All anyone wants to do here is their job, in peace. Percival made that difficult at times. It’s hard to concentrate when every few weeks someone goes on benders like these. I’ve had to talk to him countless times, but it hasn’t gotten better. I’m probably going to have to fire him.”
Rick huffed. “I think he’s beaten you to the punch, bub.”
The man looked over Prill’s shoulder and gave Rick a confused look. “Actually he hasn’t.” He looked back to Prill. “He’ll be back. You watch. Now is there anything else I can do for you officers?”
Prill thumbed his belt and paused. “Uh, we may need you to, uh, come down to the station and give a statement.” He looked around the office ceiling and noticed the small darkened domes in the corners. “I’m also going to need to look at the security footage from the time of the accident.”
The man pushed himself off the glass and yawned. “That’s it?”
“Done. Just head back down to reception and she’ll show you to security. Good day.” The man said bowing.
Prill turned to Rick. “I’m going to see those tapes. I want you to take pictures of the window and talk to people.”
At the end of the room the elevator dinged and the doors slid open with a low mechanical hum. A man entered. He looked in rough shape. The left side of his head crusted over with blood and he walked with a limp.
The man from the corner office turned and put his hands on his hips. “Ah, Percival. Back already? Feeling any better?”
Mr. Yandy didn’t look up from the floor. “A bit, Henry. But not much. Back to work I suppose.”
“You’ve missed lunch by the way, and about 20 minutes on top of that, so I’m going to need you to stay ‘till 5. Alright?”
Mr. Yandy didn’t respond as he limped up to Prill and Rick. He looked at them thoughtfully for a moment. “Are you the ones with my wallet? The boys downstairs gave me everything else back, but the wallet.” He extended a malformed hand. “Can I have that back?”
Prill shrugged. “Sure,” he said handing it over gingerly. He nodded to Rick and the two headed for the elevator, confused. Prill stopped, turned back, and addressed the man, Henry. “On second thought, I don’t need a statement. You’re all set.”
The man responded by raising a thumbs up.
Prill and Rick entered the elevator afterwhich Prill asked which program Rick was referring to earlier with the ad men and that he and Wanda might very much like that program. Rick nodded and agreed that they would. Back in the lobby the two made plans to grab a hotdog from the stand on the corner before calling this one in.