True stories by Murl Harpham


















 I was sent to the old Colonial Hotel for a deceased male.  A young traffic officer responded to assist.  When we got there we found a male in bed that had obviously been dead for a long time.  His body fluid had leaked through the mattress onto the floor.  Everything was alive in the room except old Harold.  There were maggots everywhere, even in some lunchmeat on a card table near the bed, which also contained a container of milk and a loaf of moldy bread.

The on-duty mortuary was called and the  County Coroner also arrived.  Now, the coroner was a character.  He had been a coroner before I was born and he had the nickname   “Buzzard.”  He used to say that he’d be the last person to let you down. The traffic officer went around and opened all the windows because the odor was overwhelming.  He looked sick.   We got old Harold rolled into a body bag and we started to carry him out of the room.  That is, all except the Coroner who was about 75 years of age.  He was supervising us.  We were almost to the  door when the noon whistle in the center of town blew. 

The  Coroner said, “Sit him down boys.”  We did and then watched him walk to the card table and throw rotten lunch meat onto moldy bread and then poured a glass of chunky milk into a glass and turned to us and said, “What’s the matter boys, you heard the noon whistle, it’s time to eat!” 

That young traffic officer almost didn’t make it to the sink. 


Murl Harpham