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July 11, 2009

biohazardIt was a hot but peaceful afternoon today within our small apartment community. Those who had opted not to leave the city for the weekend were gathered poolside watching their kids splash around and making sure no one drowned. Everything was normal, or so it seemed. Suddenly there were whispers from one corner and people trying to peak through the wooden fence to the patio. Soon other adults became curious as to what those on the other side were looking at. I started to smile and wonder if someone was playing a joke as we sometimes see here. Citizens here love a good joke and there’s nothing better than to look curiously in one direction at nothing and wait for others to join you. I’ve seen it done before.

But just as I smiled I saw the typical neon green of an ambulance worker walk past the pool fence. Then another. Then a group of navy blue, which would indicate police. What was going on?

Rumors started circulating about the pool. Yesterday someone had reported that a nauseating smell was coming through apartment 5Q at number 13 and no one answered the door. It is an apartment that is rented and no one was sure who was living there at the moment. They called the police yesterday but all they had done was knock at the apartment and say they would be back today. And here they were. With ambulance workers and….is that someone in a white bio-hazard suit? And another? What is going on?

Someone died. And they have probably been dead for a few days. And it doesn’t help that the city has been a sweltering 100 degrees for the past three days. Apparently the smell is unbearable.

Wait. Did that kid just say that it is a dead cat? What? The cops are here for a dead cat?

My husband and I made our way to the park where our daugher wanted to play. Luckily for our curiousity it was right in front of building 13. The window was open now and a funky smell was drifting down towards us. But was it the smell of dead cat or dead person?

Out came two cops. Then a man dressed in a bio-hazard suit. Was he laughing? Well, I guess if your job is cleaning up where a dead body has been rotting for the last few days you can’t take it too seriously. Otherwise you might go crazy, right?

We watched the two firetrucks outside raise and lower men in white suits from the fifth floor. A few more police. A few more ambulance workers. Between watching our daughter and not being able to see everything we noticed that we never saw a body bag…or a cat.

The firetrucks left and so did the cops. As we walked back ot our apartment with smiles of disillusionment we overheard a kid yell to his mom through the pool fence, “The electricity went out and the food in the fridge was rotting. And there was a cat in there.”

What? My husband thinks it’s something the cops told the kid so as not to give him nightmares. Maybe. As our neighbor said as she left the elevator, “We’ll find out soon enough. This place is like a small town. News gets around.”

Hmmm. Just one question: would they really send bio-hazard guys if they weren’t sure they needed them?

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