Monday, May 12, 2008

Dumping the Body

"Everyday I'm dumping the body"
The Tragically Hip--"Locked in the Truck of A Car

I haven't been to the ol' blog here in a while because I've been spending a lot of time at my other blog. (Shhh, don't tell this one because I don't want a jealousy quarrel!) I figured this story is a doozy to come back with. As usual, there is a song that complements most aspects of my life. This line from the Hip doesn't fit completely, but it still is relevant to this situation. And we're off.

I spent Saturday in the house with the S.O. We've been packing and throwing crap away to get ready for our move in 2 weeks. After a full day of work we decided to order in some dinner and watch a flick (If you haven't seen it yet, check out Into the Wild--great movie.) We grabbed the bags and bags of garbage and paper recycling and headed out to the dumpsters in the back of the building. I threw out some trash and then held the lid open on the paper dumpster so she could throw out some newspapers, phonebooks, and what not. As we're talking I looked down into the dumpster and noticed what looks like a pair of legs twitching slightly. I took a double take and realized that there was definitely a pair of legs in jeans curled up as if in the fetal position. I couldn't see a head or torso or anything else. Knowing that it would do no good to make mention yet, the S.O. just keeps throwing trash in. I shut the lid and she looked at me wondering what was up. So we started walking towards the building and I said, "I think there's somebody in the dumpster." She says, "WHAT!?!" I repeat myself and we both high tail to the apartment. She asked me again what I saw and I said that I saw a pair of legs that kind of moved when we threw the phonebooks, etc. in.

Now, I don't know about the rest of you, but a few thoughts run through my mind if I see a body in a dumpster.
1) Somebody dumped a dead body into the dumpster.
2) Somebody threw an injured person into the dumpster.
3) A bum crawled into the dumpster to sleep.
4) Any variable of the above scenario.

A body in a dumpster is simply not a common occurrence in Georgetown. Sure there are bums who wander around, but Georgetown is very affluent and relatively safe (aside from that murder that occurred last year 2 blocks from my apartment).

As we were inside the house, I figured that I should probably call the police. I didn't know if the guy was hurt or what, and I certainly wasn't going to check on my own. So I called 911 (first time I ever called that number by the way!) and explained to dispatch what the problem was. The lady repeated what I said in an incredulous voice, "There's a body in a dumpster behind your apartment??" She said she'd send police and then transferred me to the ambulance dispatch so I could give them the details as well. Around 3 or 4 minutes later I heard sirens and then the dispatch called back to get exact directions to the back alley of our apartment. A few minutes passed and I decided to head outside to check out the scene.

The cops were parked near the dumpster, but they and the EMT guys were checking the building next to mine. So I walked up and said, "Hey. I'm the one who called." The police came over and I pointed out the correct dumpster to check. An EMT followed me and stood aside from the dumpster lid and popped it open. He yelled out, "Yep. Here he is." He shined a flashlight in the dumpster and yelled at the guy to get out.

So out pops an upper-20s, lower-30s Hispanic fellow who was completely out of it. The cops asked him what he was doing and he said he was just resting. Considering we had thrown phone books on his body, he must've been more than "just resting". The cops checked his ID and assured him they're not with ICE. They told him he shouldn't be sleeping in dumpsters and they can bring him to a shelter, etc. One cop asked him if he is drunk and he said he doesn't drink anymore. Mmmhm. OK, maybe he wasn't drunk, but he was on something. So after a spell, I checked to see if they need me for anything. They took my name and numbers and thanked me for calling the police. They ran his ID and continued talking to him. And that was it. (I don't know where they took him after I walked away.)

The take-aways.
1) I was very impressed with the professionalism of the folks at 911.
2) The cops and EMTs had a very quick response time. That's reassuring.
3) It was a very weird feeling to see somebody in a dumpster, who may or may not have been dead or injured.
4) I think a phonebook to the head would be very painful.

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