Crossing the Line
By Thomas R Clark
Scatman sat in the shadows behind the police line, waiting for dinner to take itself out. The falling rain masked his breathing, and the stench of the place covered his own. You don’t shit where you eat, the old adage said. Unless your name is Scatman, in which case you eat where you shat.
For most people, some things are better left unseen by those possessing any moral compass. They’re the shit-stained skeletons in your closet. Like the bottom of a car, pitted and rusted. The interior of a septic tank filled with years of crap and piss. Or any of your relatives fucking. And then there’s the location of a murder, something altogether in a league of its own.
Despite the circumstances surrounding its inception, all murder scenes come to the same conclusion. They’re tantamount to a pile of crap. They’re wretched in appearance, emitting an eye-watering, nose wrinkling stench.
It’s discovered, and soon the local authorities arrive with their blue latex gloves and white linen face masks. With great care and diligence, they pick and poke at every inch surrounding the remains. Scurrying about, they’re reminiscent of beetles foraging through piles of dung. And before they’re satisfied with the evidence they procure, they tape off the area with yellow and black tape declaring it a Crime Scene. It’s a warning to others, not to cross. To stand back, to observe.
It’s a stinking pile of crap, and you don’t want to step in it.
Most beings are repulsed by excrement. People wipe their ass and flush without ever seeing what they leave behind. Is it no wonder bi-peds aren’t built to be able to see their own anal orifice. With the exception of a few deviants who suffered negative reinforcement during potty training, scat tends to be a turn-off. Monkeys throw it at you. Felines bury it, canines attempt to, but well… who are we kidding here? They call it dog dirt for a reason. Canines love to eat poop.
They’ll sniff around for it, dig for it. Watch over it. Wait to eat it again.
Hounds like Scatman.
Scatman watched his shitpile in the darkness, waiting for anyone to come sniffing around. A year before, Scatman ate some Indian take-out on the L-Train. It filled his belly, a six-piece family meal. Delicious and spicy, drenched in curry and patchouli, he took his time, savoring every morsel. Scatman relished his reputation for being a messy eater. He fouled the scene to the point the cops impounded the car so they could pick it clean of leftover grizzle, hair, and bone.
It became a flooded spider’s web, sitting in the back of an impound lot, filled with water from a nearby drainage run-off. It served a great purpose, trapping a steady supply of meals for Scatman.
Making such a shit smear of a mess became his trademark. His penchant to claim corresponding shitpiles as personal territory reinforced the notion. All of this, and not his improvisational singing skills, spawned the moniker he wore so well.
Scat … man … No matter how much of a dog he may be.
Somebody crossed the police line and metamorphized, transforming from their former state into prey as they entered the shit zone. They assumed the spot to be clear and settled down between rows of seats near the back of the car. The darkness, which concealed a cry for help, also served to hide them from the mundane passerby.
Scatman defined anything but the mundane.
Scatman drew in a deep breath through his nostrils, each smell tantalizing an individual olfactory sensor. It painted a picture in the blackness within the car, creating a map for him to navigate in the night. Dried pleather, foam, and plastics became seats sectioning off the train car. A stream of water, filled with toxins, offset the prey, hiding near the back. The squatter’s hormones reeked of fear, his person stank of sweat, and urine.
Scatman smiled, his teeth glistening. He liked salty dishes. The hunter chose grace over power in his approach. His mouth watered until it spilled over his jowls, dripping saliva, splashing into the sewage he stepped through. The stream of murky water filled the car, coming up to Scatman’s ankle hooks.
The prey slept, huddled in between a pair of seats, unaware they’d never wake back up. Scatman wasted no time, he took no chance the prey might fight back in some manner. Scatman opened his mouth wide as his jaws would allow, bit down, and ripped the prey’s head off. It bounced across the deserted car and landed on an empty seat. The victim’s tongue lolling out, licking the cushion, a bewildered expression frozen across its surface.
Blood sprayed from the gaping wound. Throughout the confines of the car, random droplets decorated the walls and dripped from the ceiling. It shifted in hue from red to orange as it cooled, joining the flow of the brackish water. Crimson thinned out into a pink froth, then became indiscernible from the run-off.
Once the plasmatic geyser subsided and the crimson spectacle settled, Scatman went to town, gobbling up the meat and bone. Giant mouthfuls of the prey’s person satiated Scatman’s hunger, one morsel at a time. He saved the head for last. Scatman retrieved it from its resting spot and closed his jaws together. The skull popped, signaling the release of the fatty brain tissue. Scatman suckled on this delicacy until its cranial cup ran dry.
And now, before blending back into the shadows, waiting for the next piece of shit to come along to the pile, the Scatman bows in honor of the dark gods who empowered him. He retrains from howling, it would expose him and his steady supply of nutrition … Instead, he sulks back into the recesses of the impounded subway car, a rusted and battered heap of shit, and waits for the next meal to cross the line and fill his bowl.