I saw the arm of the dead woman

The air was still, dry and warm, bizarre weather for San Francisco, especially in January. Looking up at the painfully bright afternoon sky, I picked up my camera and slid out of the driver’s seat. I immediately smelled the familiar pong of the city − that urban combination of grime, urine and garbage − as I crossed the narrow street in the Tenderloin District.

Looking for the section of graffitied wall I wanted to photograph, I scanned the cryptic symbols, but stopped short when a tense man came into my viewfinder. I watched as he removed his black leather jacket and tossed it over the seat of a motorcycle parked in the doorway of the big roll up door. The inside of the shop was in shadow and looked creepy. The guy kept looking down at something on the other side of the motorcycle and finally took out a cell phone. But the weirdest part was, after he finished his call, he wiped off the phone and holding it carefully with the cloth he used to clean it, threw it into a nearby trash can.

Nervous Guy looked out at the street with his back to the motorcycle, as though he was waiting for something. Every muscle rigid, he was spring loaded. His jaw was clenched so tight it made odd movements, like he was grinding his teeth. He was humming like a power tower.

I heard the scream of sirens. Turning my head in their direction, I looked back in time to see the guy casually walking away, leather jacket over his shoulder. I ran down the sidewalk, to catch up to him. That was when I saw the arm of the dead woman next to the motorcycle tire.

J Grace Written by:

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