S.G. Browne

Dead Body 101

Some people are under the impression that I’m comfortable around dead bodies because I wrote a book about zombies with a lot of detail about what happens to the human body when it decomposes. That if I ever came upon a fresh corpse, I’d study it for research. Well, here’s a little story.

A couple of years back, when I was doing property management for some apartment buildings here in San Francisco, I was performing apartment inspections and discovered that the tenant in one unit, a big, friendly guy in his 50s, had been dead for several days. After walking out of the bedroom and seeking the safety of the kitchen, I called the landlord. Then I called 911. This is pretty much how the conversation went.

“911. What is your emergency?”
“I’d like to report a dead body in my apartment building.”
(I then provide my name and the address.)
“How do you know the body is dead, sir?”
“Well, he’s on his back and he’s not breathing and his eyes are wide open.”
“Are you sure he’s not breathing?”
“Yes, I’m sure.”
“Is the body cold?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t touch him.”
“Can you check to see if the body is cold, sir?”
“You want me to touch him?”
“Yes sir.”
“Do I have to touch him?”
“If you wouldn’t mind.”
(After a pause.) “Okay, fine. Hold on a second.”
(I walk back into the bedroom, bend down, then reach out a single index finger and poke him in the shoulder.)
“Yes, he’s cold.”
“Do you have a defibrillator?”
(A defibrillator? No, I don’t have a defibrillator. Who the hell carries around a defibrillator?)
“No. I don’t have a defibrillator. And I don’t know CPR, either, so if you want someone to try to resuscitate him, then I’m not the man for the job.”
“Are you alone, sir?”
“Yes. So if you could you please send someone over here who deals with dead bodies I’d appreciate it, because this isn’t really my forte.”
“We’ll send someone right over.”

Filed under: Just Blogging — S.G. Browne @ 5:39 pm


  1. Oh, man! I can’t believe you found a dead body. That’s awful.

    Comment by Sarah Malone — March 18, 2010 @ 6:35 pm

  2. You should write a book about some guy who finds dead bodies, on happenstance, and hates his bad luck in that area.

    Comment by Evan Czerwinski — March 18, 2010 @ 7:09 pm

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