This Has Got to Stop

Whatever happened to Marcy?

Well, she’s on top of a building right now. Investigating. There are a bunch of bones up there and no one knows anything about it.

TUESDAY: Marcy’s police dog pulled her through the red silks billowing from clotheslines on the roof. Whoa, Cody, she said. He led her to a pile of bloody skulls in the corner by the parapet wall.

Dr. White appeared: well-dressed, glasses. You should have seen them this morning, he said. There were like twenty vultures up here. Big, huge wingspans. He flapped his arms. Picked all the flesh off.

Marcy lifted one of the skulls and stared into the eye sockets for maybe five minutes.

Later she sat with Dr. White at a cafeteria table under buzzing fluorescent lights. Marcy: Who would you rather have eat your flesh- vultures or maggots?


Marcy remembered shopping in a crafts store. Dr. White had filled his blue basket with balsa wood and Styrofoam. Marcy walked around in a dream-state, leching after a young woman shopper with high-waisted shorts.

But now here they were back up on the roof, stacking actual bones and heads into wooden crates. A janitor stepped out of the stairwell door and saw them. Hey, what are you guys doing? Why you got bones?

Twenty full skeletons, said White. There was a bloodbath and then the vultures picked them clean.

Bloodbath? asked the janitor.

Gunfight, the doctor said, holding up a skull with a bullet-hole straight through. Some guy was a really good shot.

The killers still at large? asked the janitor.


Hey, said a muffled voice.

Who–? said the doctor. Above them a figure in black sat cross-legged on the roof over the door to the stairs. A black bandana covered the lower portion of his face. A tall black cowboy hat was lowered to just above his eyebrows.

Marcy stepped forward, police beretta drawn. Cody growled. Hold yer fire, the man in the cowboy hat said, his voice muffled by his bandana. I seen it happen. It was rainin’ hard. These fellas come up over the wall there and these other fellas came out of this here door. They all started shootin’. Not ten minutes later the vultures show up.

Marcy and the doctor looked at each other. The janitor bit his nails. I’d advise all of you to leave now, the black-clad cowboy continued. At five-twenty-six another crew comes over that wall. Then at five-thirty-six the vultures will be back.


Down in the cafeteria Marcy sat with Dr. White and the janitor. He was lyin’! the janitor said. And we believed him! He laughed. But just then: loud gunshots. Dr. White looked at his watch. It’s like clockwork, he exclaimed. Five-twenty-six!


WEDNESDAY: Marcy made out with Dr. White in his silver 458 Ferrari, rain pounding on the windshield, the thumping bassline of loud hip-hop drowning out their moans and gasps. When their clothes were half-off they heard a barrage of gunshots again. It was five-twenty-six. This ends now! the doctor hissed. He grabbed his AK and ran out of the car into the rain, shirtless. Marcy lay back on the reclined seat and closed her eyes. She imagined the girl with the high-waisted shorts coming to the window, drenched. Let me in? the dream girl asked.

Just then: BANGBANGBANG! Then silence. Ten minutes later, vulture sounds.

Marcy reclined until five-forty-six. Then she re-clasped her brassiere and buttoned her blouse. The rain did not let up as she drove back uptown, determined to put this episode behind her.





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