Friday, 16 March 2012

The man with the silver syringe

He was the man with the Silver Syringe, the chimera chirurgeon, sitting in the chair right in front of me.  His newspaper smile and Hollywood teeth were hidden now behind lips that were pressed tightly together, bloodless and white.  His eyes still glittered, but with restrained malevolence rather than generous bonhomie.  And his hands... his left hand was still good, still whole, and its fingers were drumming a tattoo on the chair's arm.
"You have to understand," I said, for all that he'd not understood the previous six times I'd explained it.  Even when I got angry with him for not trying hard enough.  He was clever, after all, he'd been to college, and then to university, and had collected a string of certificates, qualifications and diplomas, enough to wallpaper the downstairs privy with.  "You have to understand," I said, emphasizing the have.  "My cat is dying."
"I'm not a vet," he said, the words squeezing out from between his lips, wriggling through his gritted teeth.  He sounded firm, determined, and in control.  "I'm a doctor.  My patients are humans.  I don't know the first thing about feline longevity."
"See, those are big words," I said encouragingly.  "I don't know words like that.  I'd have to pay a man ten dollars a minute to get the use of words like that.  You know big words like that, you can help my cat."
"Who pays a man for words?" he said, sneering at me.  "That's retarded."  That made me angry again then, because I'd heard that word too many times.  Too often.  But when I get angry I can't remember anything, it's like I pass out but when I come round people say I was doing things.  Maybe I sleepwalk when I get angry.  I had an Aunt who would just fall asleep, right there and then, no matter what she was doing, when people got angry with her.  They had a name for her too, and she didn't like it either, but it didn't help her stay awake.  She fell asleep and fell into the trash compactor, so I make sure I stay away from trash compactors.
The man in the chair was looking scared, and his other hand....  His left hand was balled up into a fist and he looked like he wanted to get free from the chair.  But he knew how to do that, he just had to help my cat.
"My cat's not well," I said.  "You have to help her."
"Fine," he said, the word long and drawn out like it was somehow painful.  "Fine, show me your cat and I'll tell you what I can do for her."
"She's right here," I said, smiling.  I was really happy now.  "I put her in here," and I reached down for the black plastic sack at my feet and unknotted it, "so that she'd be all ready for you."
Something was wrong, she wasn't jumping out of the bag like I knew she would.  I thought then that maybe she was sleeping, so I jerked the sack a little to wake her up, only she wouldn't wake.  She felt heavy, and lazy, so I jerked the sack a little more, and then harder, and still she wouldn't wake up so I tipped the lazy cat out onto the rug.
Her head came out first and rolled away, then her body tumbled after, and the man in the chair started making retching noises and turning purple, and I couldn't see where her head had gone to put it back on her.  Then I saw it, just by the man's arm, and then he threw up.  On her head.
It all went black after that, and I think this time it's because I got sad.

No comments: