Thanks For Your Assistance
By: Walter G. Esselman

The corpse's leg was giving her trouble.

The right knee was barely holding it together, and she sooooooooo did not want to crawl into that police station.

"Come on knee," she pleaded. "Just a little bit further. After we talk to the officer, we'll be all done, I promise."

Favoring her left leg, she reached the door and leaned against it to rest. Dropping by her house on the way from the woods had not been that far a walk, but still.

Slowly, her head lolled against the glass door, which read ‘100 years of service to Bedford City'. She felt her body begin to slide down, onto the concrete, back to rest.

The corpse gave a start.

"No!" she told herself sternly.

Jerking upright, she pulled away from the door. However, now there was some kind of icky goo, from where she had leaned on the glass. She tried to wipe it away, but that just smeared it around.

Because her mother had raised her to be very proper, she automatically said. "Sorry about the icky…whatever that is." Then she realized that she was all alone on an early morning street and felt a bit silly.

Pulling open the door was hard, because her muscles had been decomposing. She had thought that carrying the big knife, back at the house, had been hard. At least there—once she had gotten it up into the air—gravity had helped in the end.

Stepping into the station, the corpse hobbled across the tile floor, towards a desk facing forward.

At the back, an older man in a powder blue uniform stood with his back to the door. Officer Campfell—with just a small crown of brown hair—was making a fresh pot of coffee.

"Be with you in a sec," said Officer Campfell without looking.

A smile played across the corpse's face. "Just needed to update you on Joanie Rickart."

"Who…?" started Campfell. "Oh yeah, that girl that went missing two months ago." He chuckled. "I heard that she's striping in Vegas."

"Really? Well, actually she was in the woods, this whole time," said the corpse.

Campfell's brow furrowed. The scoop of ground coffee started to shake in his hand.

"Also, you might want to send Child Protective Services to 92 Granger Ave before my daughter wakes up," said the corpse.

Haltingly, the officer turned.

"Yo…you," he sputtered.

The corpse gave a friendly wave. "Do you remember when I came in this past July, because my husband had tried to hit me with a frying pan?"

"Y… your husband said he was just trying to throw out the eggs…because you made'em wrong," said Campfell.

"My head was in the way when he ‘tried to throw them out'," countered the corpse. "He missed, but only by an inch."

"He…he said he hates over hard eggs," muttered the officer feebly.

"And you said—condescendingly I might add—that you couldn't do anything about him until something actually happened. And that maybe I should just try and be a better cook in the meantime."

"I… I…," tried Campfell.

"That didn't work out," she said. "But you should have seen his face this morning."

"What did you do?" demanded Campfell.

The corpse smiled. "He was starting to look funny at my little girl, so I…" She suddenly froze and stared at nothing for a moment. "Oh! It looks like my time is up. Now, don't forget to call Child Services."

And Joanie collapsed on top of the front desk with a sticky thump. She was now very dead.

Dropping the coffee grounds, the officer moved towards the empty vessel, but halted a few feet away. The smell hit him like a hammer, and his eyes began to water.

"J… Joanie?" started Campfell.

"Oh! I almost forgot to say," whispered a voice next to his ear. He whipped around to see a shapeless mist.

"What?" asked Campfell.

"Thanks for your assistance."


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