“Police Procedural”

In a graveyard of the archdiocese of Brooklyn, a young man sits tiredly. He eats a Little Debbie cosmic brownie. He is filled up to his hands in blood. He dials 911.

“911, what’s your emergency.”

He doesn’t really know.

Ennui. The old riverside cemetery blues.

“Officer, I’ve misplaced my life. My whole life. It seems to not be here, and I can’t find it anywhere.”

Wally Szorubczek, listening in on the other line, has been waiting for a call like this for months. A good old fashioned suicide attempt. At least, that is what he’ll write in the report.

“Sandra?” he says to the operator.


“I got this one.”

Sandra raises and lowers her eyebrows over widened eyes; she takes a sip of coffee.

OK then.

In the humdrum and workaday, a disaffected call like this is refreshing. Wally’s pep talks cheer him right up too. And he feels that feeling. It’s the feeling people go to church for. To feel all filled up; to brim, even; to pour one’s soul into a cup and stir it into concentric circles. (Whether or not this kind of tete-a-tete is a waste of police time is less important to Wally. It’s not a busy precinct.)

Wally pulls up to the cemetery. It’s a hallowed place, where time doesn’t pass. Where there’s no time at all, and the world is big with quiet.

In the grey dawn, Wally calls in on the young man, and in effect, takes the rest of the day off.

After the pep, Wally and the young man sit in a greasy spoon, pending hash and eggs. They talk about “Taxi Driver.” Americana plays from the off-black speakers from the 1980’s.

Things seem better.