He was twisted sideways, to his left, craning to look back for the street sign over the last intersection he'd passed, thinking he had missed his turn, when there was a loud noise and the world went black.
His eyes opened to brightness as stultifying as the dark. He could not feel his face.
The ER nurse had been planning to leave work at five, but delayed by his arrival, leaned over him to adjust the IV drip. The top two buttons of her uniform were unbuttoned and she showed some cleavage.
He thought to himself, What is it with cleavage these days? Everybody from budding teenagers to decrepit grandmas is showing cleavage. What do any of them expect will happen? He moved his eyeballs in their sockets until his pupils were at the bottom edge of their travel, looking over the near horizon of his cheek tops, to see if there was a tented spot in the sheet covering him. There was no reason there should be, for in addition to his face he could feel no other part of himself either. But you never knew. The mind is a powerful muscle.
He heard a deep male voice, just behind him to the left, right where the fucking street sign should have been, saying, “and a splayed interrogatory of the deviant sputum could be debilitating if left to heal on its own. I would suggest a forcible invasion of all orifices and a reduction of twelve bars of atmosphere until scrotal pressure implodes.”
“Certainly Doctor,” said the Nurse who had now unbuttoned a third button on her uniform as she bustled about him. He could see a tattoo of Winnie the Pooh on her left breast. Winnie was in his dancing pose and the quivering breast made Pooh's dance seem real.
“Blifft.” He said. He thought he said, "Pooh." Pooh went right on dancing. “Very nice tattoo Ms. Hoydenburg.” He heard the deep voice say. “A fan of A.A. Milne, are you?”
“Blifft.” He said. The Nurse had not responded to the doctor's voice other than with a small squeak. There were clothing sounds. Sounds of bandages being changed. Some hurrying. Another, louder squeak. The deep voice saying, “There. That should take care of it. Prepare him for the procedure."
“Blifft?" The nurse leaned over him again. Her cheeks were flushed. She was holding a hypodermic. He couldn't feel his face. The buttons on her uniform seemed to be in the wrong buttonholes. Pooh peeked out.
“Blifft!?!” She stuck it in.
All rights reserved.
I sent this to the New Yorker. Since they started allowing "fuck" in their copy and my mother dropped her subscription I figured I had a chance at publication.