The Beautiful Lady and the House of the Dead

Written by | Musings

The fact that you have read the title and decided to read this post implies that you find it intriguing that a beautiful girl can have a connection to the house of the dead, what we mortals call a morgue or Mortuary. Well, let me be the first one to tell you this, the beautiful girls die too…I hear beauty actually rots faster too…

Relax, this story has nothing to do with a dead beautiful girl…she’s pretty much alive but we’ll get to that part later.

Let me start at the beginning, if there ever was one…

I am pursuing what some might call a sadistic career. It is not the noble professions of medicine and law, or even the common business and commerce but rather, something that will make sure that I am in touch with the dead, literally, more often than most find comforting. But that’s the boring part…

If you know where City Mortuary is then you know something I did not before last Friday, I do not mean that I did not know it’s in Nairobi (because it serves the city, logic dictates that it be near) but God created man and man created Foursquare and there’s also the helpful conductor. The conductor was this guy who seems to think in vernacular, and when 98% of the passengers alighted at KNH, I gave him the Puss-in-boots eyes you give when you do not know the directions to a place.

Ladies might not know the face because men are only too willing to help anyone with boobs at the cost of a smile (then again, no one wants to help a Wangu wa Makeri with a face like that of a guy). For guys, the first fight is always with your ego, first having to admit that no matter how helpful Foursquare is, it still does not beat a conductor who plies the route several times a day. Once you ask then you have to wait for him to finish giving you the quick how-the-fuck-do-you-not-know face, and no matter how important you think you are, you have to wait…and hope he does not forget.

It reminded me of my first trip to the city alone, technically I was not going to the city, I was heading to Eastleigh, Section 3, right behind MAB where my eldest sister used to live. Suffice to say I got lost, really lost, because I assumed that all Eastleigh matatus use the same route and I boarded a Number 9 which anyone will tell you do not go to that side of the busy town. Yes, you can laugh now, or wait till I mention that I only had a twenty bob in my pocket (the note, before they phased them out again-Life was cheap back then I tell you *holds head in despair*).

Since I was too young and too proud to ask for directions, I ended up being taken back to Nairobi and then back to Eastleigh. I survived being charged thrice by a stroke of genius, okay, mostly luck in the fact that most of those huge and noisy minibuses have more than one conductor and I kept telling each one who came in that I had just paid the other.  I was young and believable back then…in the end I asked for directions, and the conductor laughed, sneered at me even with the same face I described previously before pointing at a Number 4 and stopping the minibus so I could alight.

Then a few years ago, I had to visit a friend in UoN Kabete Campus. You would think that it would be easy to find such a ‘prestigious’ institution as their school of Veterinary Medicine and Agriculture but there are no matatus that have ‘watu wakujaza’ yelling UoN. Instead, you have matatus that head to a place called ‘Ndumboini’ (I will wait for you to pronounce that out loud in your head-thrice). The thing with this is that I am a self-confessed grammar Nazi and even with vernacular, I try to keep within the simple universal rules of grammar. I played the name in my head all the way past Waiyaki way, trying to gather enough courage to ask the conductor to ‘shukisha tukifika Ndumboini’. Luckily, someone beat me to it, and I found out that even the residents have a problem with the moniker and prefer to shorten to the much easier to pronounce ‘Ndumbo’…that, and it is the last stage on the route exactly 50 metres from where I was headed.

Okay, back to City Mortuary, I alight from the matatu on the roundabout because there’s a traffic jam and am late for my practical (plus am Kenyan, that’s my weak and flimsy justification for breaking the law). I walk in past the three hearses and the campus bus at the parking lot and call a friend who’s inside. A few minutes later am walking past the preservation and examination room, more of a hall, where the stench of decomposing flesh will hit you so hard you will need a few moments to collect yourself. In the office I get about seven light face masks because I am late and the only one’s available look like a cruel joke. I do not even know why am asking for them because I have what must be the worst sense of smell in the world-I tend to get smells hours after I should have, which meant that I was most likely going to smell the decomposing flesh in its full blown form later, much later.

When we finally do go in to the ‘house of the dead’, there is this overwhelming sense of death. It is not really something that I can explain, and it’s not the same feeling you get when someone close to you dies, it’s something darker, some sense that there is something deeper and darker, but I think it’s because of the formalin. There are bodies on some medieval looking examination tables and the floor is sprawled with blood and formalin.

Every member of the staff is in gumboots, but this guy here who is in his loafers which means that he has to be extra careful lest he carries out a piece of death into the world. The staff is extra helpful; it’s the same way you feel when you are explaining to a child how something works. Did I mention that none of them, including my lecturer whose name is on a schedule on the wall as the consulting pathologist on Fridays, is in a facemask. They all have white, or at least what once were white, gumboots and overalls with a green plastic apron and a green plastic cap.

Relax, I will still tell you about the beautiful girl…woman actually.

Postmortems, that’s what am here to learn. My passion is a dark, and this morgue is not what you in CSI, NCIS or Criminal minds. I have been to more than my fair share of morgues in my short life, mostly for education but also because death tends to rob you of people you love once in a while but I had never felt this human before. There was the lady medical examiner, she was kinda hot, nothing mesmerizing or intriguing except the way she moved the scalpel. Yes, the scalpel, I had not mentioned that particular tool?

I never got her name so am going to refer to her by all possible pronouns befitting a female. She had a scalpel she used to make the Y-incision you have seen many times on TV. That was not particularly gross, what killed it was how she cut open a guy’s, or at least what remained of him, head to reveal a fractured skull. There was no swag or ceremony, there was no war song or surgery stuff, no procedure, at least to the untrained eye, in the way she just sliced it open almost all the way round, making a perfect semi-circle and then pulling the skin up his face. I trust that you are still not grossed out yet, and you are still waiting for me to mention the beautiful woman…patience.

What you never see in the making of the Y-incision is the fact that the bone that connects the chest cavity has to be removed and there is no machine, at least in this institution to do the job. You guessed it right, it is done manually and before you ask, there is a cracking sound and voila! You are in!

Okay, that was a moment of sadism.

We were all concentrating on the lady whose accent gave away a privileged upbringing, which led me to the hypothesis that she either started engaging in S & M too early, or watched too many horror movies, or joined the profession out of rebellion and then fell in love with the whole quietness. As we moved from body to body, a team of three women followed, closing up the chests by sewing them sides together, and that’s when I saw her…lady X.

Lady X was hot! I do not mean the kind of extra hot that seems too good to be true, she was the kind of hot you want to eat right there. She was the expert among the three, the one with the big needle working up people’s chest and abdomen as if they were fabric. She was working with some random looking white thread, it’s not even a thread, but it’s too small to be called a rope and too big to be thread. She was sewing them like she had beef with them, but she was still hot. I ogled, I could not stop myself, and the irony being that we were both in what many would think was a hellhole. I watched her as she sewed the guy up, and then, this part spoils the story, she did what we all do when we are done sewing anything, we have tied the knot and we are ready to cut and there is no pair of scissors around. I will wait for you to think that one out before I tell you…

Yes, she cut the thread/rope by biting it! Even for me, that’s just gross! That particular part of the rope has gone in through each of the incisions she made with the huge needle…the hot cannibal, sounds new, yes?

I had discarded of the seven facemasks because my nose was not going to really tell me what everyone else was experiencing anyway. There was the guy who had beaten to death, the guy who had fallen from a motorbike, the other who had been burnt by a mob and a child whose story I did not want to know, for my own sanity. About the mob victim by the way, one of the staff told me that no matter how charred a male burns victim is, the dong never really burns off or out. It just keeps shrinking and shrinking (which is what we all fear more than anything else) until it is merely a stab (note that I am working from the point of view that the dong in question is of average African size, I do not know about Asians but theirs must be a sadder tale).

In the end, the woman was still hot, but disgusting nonetheless. We asked her a few questions before we left and she seemed to have a likeable personality but her and the needle doing it is still stuck in my head.

As we left, a police Landover drove in (I just felt like I repeated myself) carrying the body of what used to be a human being, naked and sprawled on the back. The dead guy supposedly tried to molest a child and a mob set upon him, beating him to death before the cops arrived and brought him to be dissected and studied for legal purposes. I did not stick around to see whether the lady X would taste this one too…I was hungry… (The thin between being a cannibal and being a carnivore).

Owaahh, 2014

One story is good,

till Another is told.

Last modified: April 26, 2017

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