6:00 a.m. Doctors and nurses prepare themselves for his appearance, some pacing back and forth as others snatch tubes out of packages or pull breathing machines from dusty corners. Their scrubs shielded with yellow surgery robes, cu...
Doctors and nurses prepare themselves for his appearance, some pacing
back and forth as others snatch tubes out of packages or pull
breathing machines from dusty corners. Their scrubs shielded with
yellow surgery robes, cuffs sterile white, all eyes protected by thin plastic
armor, hands trapped in latex gloves inhabited on veiled hips.
Their customer finally arrives: a nameless man with eyes nearly reeling
toward the back of his head, slipping in and out of the Light as
a young paramedic plugs the hole in his chest with a cloth soaked
in fresh blood. The doctor commands the medic to push
the John Doe towards the trauma bed A.S.A.P.
—they only have little time to play God.
Two RPD cops stand at the secretary’s desk, relaying general information
with yawns and shoulder cracks:
Possibly early 30s.
Neighbors say he was shot on Lyell Ave at approximately 5:40 a.m.
Do you have his name? The secretary asks.
The cop sporting the porn star mustache shook his head. Nope. Just what we gave you.
No surprise there, I think to myself. It’s not like they’re talking about a beer buddy.
The new M.D. is determined to prove himself, hoping the customer
rages against the shadow of death.
But John Doe’s condition grows increasingly unsteady as blood drains itself
from the bullet holes, gushing and staining the patient’s bare chest.
His mouth is pried open with thin plastic tubes, others embedded into his chest,
draining toxicity from wounds exposed. But nothing changes. John Doe is
disappearing into himself, the M.D. assumes.
The monitor confirms his growing suspicion: John Doe’s heart rate
is descending rapidly, despite his team’s diligence and medical expertise.
Their synchronization will fail this stranger, he senses, beads of sweat moistening
his forehead. Only silence occupies the customer’s body in five…
What time is it now? the M.D asks. Another checks his watch. 6:17.
…Time of death: 6:17. Thanks everyone.
And the whole team walks away as if from a business gathering, shaking
hands, cracking cheesy post-mortem jokes
As the nurse drags tubes from his nose and throat, the nameless man’s arm dangles off
the stretcher, his mouth open, his stilled gaze reflecting agony.
The Environmental Service Worker enters the trauma bay, her steady
pace slowed by the condition of the area where the patient remains.
Small red puddles inhabited by dark clots stain the white tiles, thin streaks smeared
on the machines. The entire room reeks of wet dog and metal. Of recent death.
Her grip tightens around the mop handle, nearly paralyzed by trepidation
The poor woman clinches her eyelids shut, praying desperately to forget
the scene before her. She opened her eyes, focusing on dirty
mop water while rushing out of the trauma bay, anxiously yearning for home.