Annals Of Forensic Science

He scraped at the bones with a xyster. He prodded them with his berubbergloved fingers. He peered through a Coddington lens. He did tests, pH, Kleinwort-von Straubenzee, etcetera. He broke for a cup of tea in the canteen. He sat alone, reading a scientific bulletin. He examined graphs on screens. He checked the status of a number of Petri dishes. He began to flag. He scribbled some notes in a pad. He poked at the bones with a Copstone fork. He slipped a bone into his pocket. He waited at the bus stop. It was raining. It was always raining. When he got home he took the bone out of his pocket and added it to the pile by the fireplace. He opened the fridge and poured a glass of milk. He sat in an armchair and contemplated the pile of bones. There were bones from humans and dogs and rabbits and cows and hens and pigs and ospreys and hamsters and larks and goats and ostriches and bears and sheep and swordfish and gulls and deer and tanagers. He fetched a bale of fusewire from a cupboard. He tied the bones together with the wire. He worked slowly and with care. When he was done he leaned the bone-being against his mantelpiece at an angle he thought insouciant. He plopped a hat on its head.

“All hail, Vabogadabingahobbema!” he cried.

He placed a cardboard box filled with sand at its lower talons as an offering. And he went out into his garden and sheltered from the rain under an awning and smoked a cigarette. Like Ayn Rand, he considered smoking to be man’s victory over fire.

Within, the bone-being grew hot, glittering in the firelight.

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