Just when you thought it was safe to read medical blogs… They’ve done it again!
Like last year’s Literary MedBlog Showcase, a group of medbloggers with a penchant for writing have created a collective story. This time, the rule was: no two consecutive sentences written by the same person.
Without further delay, we present to you “The First Draft,” a story that Maria from Intueri–one of the authors and the organiser of the showcase– calls “a tale of radioactive sea creatures, novel drug delivery systems, monozygous twins, and cut-throat competition that shall make you laugh and cry… because it is so painfully absurd.”
THE FIRST DRAFT.
by Barbados Butterfly, Keith of Digital Doorway, Dr. Dork, Kim of Emergiblog, Dr. Charles of The Examining Room, Maria of Intueri, Sid Schwab of Surgeonsblog, Shiny Happy Person of Trick-Cycling for Beginners, Tundra PA of Tundra Medicine Dreams
There was a lot of blood on the floor.
His foggy mind focused on the congealing pool closest to his head–and the large shard of aquarium glass with green algae on one side–and two thoughts circled each other: why doesn’t anything hurt, and where was his brand-new poisonous puffer fish? John’s first question was answered almost immediately as he tried to lift himself up off the floor.
Still leaking blood, which oozed slowly, as if afraid of what it would find, was another body, parallel to his own, head tilted away, neck twisted hard to the back.
He sighed with irritation; when he’d woken refreshed this morning between the Egyptian 700 thread count sateen sheets that Sadie had brought back from Paris he’d anticipated that today would proceed smoothly. Whenever Sadie was involved, though, nothing went smoothly: was it really that surprising that both she and John were vying for the exact same puffer fish that promised not only a financial reward of exactly 3.14159 million dollars, but also the guaranteed opportunity to work with the exacting Dr. Crust, who was internationally revered for his research in the use of pies as drug delivery systems?
He wiggled his fingers and toes and all seemed in working order, although there was tingling in his left ring and middle fingers and the left pinky was completely numb, leading him to wonder about possible nerve damage. His mind still on pies and puffer fish, John dragged himself towards the other body, afraid to look, though certain in his own mind of whose body it was.
He gasped in horror.
It was as if he were looking in a mirror: for years he’d had dreams—nightmares, really—of having a twin, but he’d dismissed them because they only occurred after Chinese take-out. Looking into his own glassy, lifeless eyes, he saw his own terror returning tenfold. He stumbled backwards and something fell from the pocket of his scrubs: the crumbled remnants of a pork pie.
“Damn!” John said to himself; not only had he lost the puffer fish he had intended to use to ingratiate himself to Dr. Crust, not only had he awoken to find his long lost twin brother lying dead beside him, but that traitor Sadie had incredibly eaten the last slice of pork pie and then stuffed the crust mockingly into his pocket before sneaking off.
But had she discovered the polonium-210?
John wasn’t sure what upset him more, the fact that Sadie may have discovered the secret to pies with wrinkle-defying moisturizer or the fact that his identical twin was the ugliest person he had ever seen in his entire life. But since there was no time to ponder such imponderables, he forced himself to his feet and headed toward the door, pausing, for old time’s sake, for the last time to lick the algae off the aquarium glass.
Mmm… tastes like pork pie, he mused to himself before his attention was drawn to the shifting, prickly sensation near his groin. The genetically modified puffer fish—the single, viable specimen—was poised in his lap, venomous teeth preparing to bite.
He was unaware that the puffer fish, intended for sushi, had been fed the stolen polonium-210. In its radioactive fury it had grown to immense proportions, puffing its chest in and out like a bull about to charge. John knew he was just seconds away from becoming a soprano unless he was able to dislodge this massive sea creature from his nether regions. His mind raced, faster and faster, sifting, sorting until it landed on the fire extinguisher hanging on the wall: could he use it as a puffer slougher?
When he saw his mind splattered on the fire extinguisher, he gingerly touched his head, felt the sticky blood oozing from the gaping hole near his ear, and wondered how he managed to launch his mind out of his skull at such a high velocity. Acting purely on innate survival instinct, John grabbed the tail of the fish, a split second before its jaws closed, and hurled it away towards the door, which opened to reveal someone he knew only too well.
“Dr. Crust… uh… how, uh… sir, sorry, I thought you were coming tomorrow,” John stammered, automatically reaching to straighten his tie. The enraged puffer fish dropped from where it had struck the wall above the door, and viciously latched itself to Dr. Crust’s nose!
“Aahhh, yes!” Dr. Crust screamed in simultaneous pain and rapture. “At last you have brought me my precious!”
Despite the preternatural grip that said fish had upon his facial protuberance, Dr. Crust smiled triumphantly and began to hum a tune: “The Dance of the Puffer Fish”. In disbelief, John stared as the puffer flopped to the floor and began, artlessly but in time to the music, to “dance”, while Dr. Crust laughed
demonically and surreptitiously reached into his hip pocket. He pulled out a slender gold chain from which dangled a small, empty vial, an open locket that contained a sepia-tinted photograph of a smiling Sadie, and a flour-dusted hand mixer.
John spluttered in confusion: “I don’t understand this, Crust—what’s going on here?”
“Sadie left you this morning for dead, selfishly hoping to reach me first,” Dr. Crust explained, “she inexplicably forgot the puffer fish that promised a financial reward of exactly 3.14159 million
dollars and the opportunity to work with me… perhaps it was the horror she felt after she killed your long lost twin who had coincindentally shown up that morning after his 30-year, worldwide search for you… sucks for him…” Dr. Crust shook his head.
“But,” he continued. “He really was the ugliest person I had ever seen and I still intend to open the biggest, the best and the only chain of fast-food sushi stores this side of Tokyo; how sad for Sadie that the only fish she’ll be working with will be a Filet-o-Fish sandwich from McDonalds.”
John was flabbergasted, and barely managed to blurt out: “We can’t let her get away with this, especially if she knows about the algae—and who taught the fish to dance?”
“As for her tenure at McDonalds,” replied Dr. Crust, “that may be a just reward for her maniacal egocentricity; however, as for the fish’s ability to do the merengue, that is another story altogether.”
“The merengue, Dr. Crust?” John asked angrily because the word on the street was that the pork pies would impart the ability to do the macarena!
“Won’t you join me?” Dr. Crust sweetly asked and, the anger melting from his heart and brains oozing from his skull, John, smitten, placed his arms around the good doctor and they began to dance
along with the puffer fish, with smiles on all of their faces, before Dr. Crust remarked, “Now about that polonium puffer fish pie….”