The first time I ever stood next to a dead guy was around 12:30 or 1 am on Westport Road, on my way back from a night of revelry at the Player’s Tavern. A kid of 18 or 19 had crashed his motorcycle and apparently broken his neck. I got there before the cops did. My first thought was to feel his pulse, but I wimped out at the last second. Plus I couldn’t call 911 as there were no cell phones. So I just stared. He might have been breathing his last but he sure didn’t look it with his eyes open and all. He looked like a deer that had been hit by a car.

In the decades since I haven’t come upon any young dead guys anywhere. Not in the cities, not in the desert…nowhere. My understanding is that apart from drunk-driving fatalities most young people who buy it outdoors do so in combat. So it feels a little arbitrary and arty to look at all these dead kids in Aaron Salazar‘s Still Life, an eight-minute short.

How come they’re all in their 20s? Where are the overweight middle-aged corpses? How about a dead grandma in a toppled-over wheelchair, killed by a latter-day Richard Widmark? And what killed all these kids? I’m presuming that Salazar is saying “death is always still and final and absolute.” Which it is, of course, but in the matter of teens and twentysomethings it’s fairly unusual unless you’re a Yakuza soldier or a hopeless alcoholic or druggie or involved in the Mexican drug trade or fighting the Russians in Ukraine.

Still Life from Grandma Honey Films on Vimeo.