Arkady, the permanently grim, dejected, despondent Moscow cop wants another autopsy done on the body of a prostitute and finds his old friend Willie at the morgue, having moved in.
Immense and unshaven, Willie Pezenko shuffled around the morgue like a wooly mammoth in an operating gown. A cigarette hung from his lips, a glass of antiseptic alcohol from his hand. At school he had been called Belmondo after the French actor for his style with a cigarette. Arkady had been his classmate but now Willie looked 20 years older…. “I can’t do it. I’m not up to it. Doctor’s orders.”
“You could do it with your eyes closed, ” Arkady said.
Willie waved a glass at the cadavers…”Don’t you think I would like to dive in? Some of the work that comes out of this place you wouldn’t believe. Butcher’s work at a butcher’s pace. A real abattoir. They dig out the heart and lungs, slit the throat, pull out the esophagus. No finesse, no analysis. Run a saw around the skull, pop the brains, dig out the organs, bag them, weigh them, dump them, tween the knees, and finish in less time than it takes to dress a rabbit….”
“I’m retired. On the sidelines. … Friends come by. Some of them alive, some of them dead. And when I drop there’ll be no need for an ambulance. Cause I’m here…”