“Dad, there’s a dead guy in the front yard.”
“What?” Joseph Banks poked his fingers into the plastic blinds of his living room window to survey his property. “Son of a bitch.”
There on his front yard lay a shoeless elderly man, poorly dressed and still as a corpse.
Annie came in from the kitchen dragging her stuffed dog by the tail as she always did. “What’s going on?”
“There’s a dead guy in the front yard,” proclaimed Billy excitedly, “and I saw him first!”
Annie began dancing around the living room, waiving her doggy and singing, “There a dead guy in the ya-ard! A dead guy in the ya-ard!”
“Annie, that’s enough.” Joseph was more annoyed at the corpse than the singing, but the singing wasn’t helping. “Stay here.”
“I want to go, too!”
“No. Stay here with your sister. You can watch from the window but stay inside. It could have a disease.”
Billy began to pout. “Ah, shucks. I saw him first.”
Joseph strolled casually toward the body. The game was starting in twenty minutes so he needed to be quick with this business. He stopped just a foot away from the body – did it just move? Timidly, he gave the man a gentle kick in the leg.
It took a deep gasping breath.
Joseph kicked him again, harder this time. “Hey. Hey! Get moving. You can’t sleep here. This is my property.”
The man gasped. His breathing was shallow and infrequent. His eyes were open little more than slits as he turned slightly toward Joseph. It was clear he was injured.
“You hurt, man?”
A barely perceptible nod.
“You have insurance? Where’s your Identicard?”
A subtle head shake.
Joseph raised his voice. “I said, you have insurance?”
A more emphatic head shake. Another gasp.
Joseph left the man and returned to his living room.
“What’s going on? He’s not dead?”
“Quiet.” Joseph was dialing his cell phone.
“Emergency Services. What is the nature of your emergency?”
“Yes, there’s a man in my front yard. He’s very sick.”
“Alright, sir. We can dispatch an ambulance at once. Do you have the man’s Identicard?”
“No, see that’s the thing. He says he doesn’t have insurance.”
“I see. Well we can still dispatch the ambulance but it will be at your expense. I’m required to tell you that unless he’s a member of your immediate family your insurance will not cover the cost.”
“I know. You see… it’s just that… well he’s very sick.”
There was a pause on the line. “Very sick, you say. Infectious, perhaps?”
“Yes! Yes, he very well might be. I have children, you know.”
Another pause. “I understand, sir. I can not advise you in this matter, but you have to protect your family.”
“Wait just a minute.” Joseph set the phone down next to his recliner.
Billy hadn’t taken his eyes off his father during the entire phone call. “What did the man say, daddy?”
“Wait here.” Joseph bounded up the stairs. He returned a few minutes later and strode out the front door, walking toward the man on his lawn. Taking aim, he unloaded three shots into the man’s chest before walking back inside.
Retrieving the phone, Joseph spoke calmly into the receiver. “Okay, he’s dead.”
“Very good, sir. I’ve already noted that you disposed of a potentially diseased vagrant trespassing on your property. I’m dispatching a biohazard crew to collect the body. Do you require anything further?”
“Is there a charge for the removal?”
“No sir, that’s a city service. Anything further?”
“No, I suppose not. Thank you for your help.”
“Any time, sir. That’s why we’re here. Have a safe day.”
Joseph dropped himself in his recliner and turned on the TV. He could catch the tail end of the pre-game show.
The front door opened as Cynthia Banks walked in with an arm full of groceries. “Honey, there’s a dead man in the front yard.”
“Yeah, babe, I took care of it already. Hey, did you get beer?”