Bakery Items and Ventricular Blasphemy
By William Allen DuBois
When I finally arrived at the hospital, I waltzed through the front doors like Fred Astaire and immediately scanned the reception area. I glanced at the photos of the ‘Old Hospital’ in the front hall. The hospital is supposed to be filled with ghosts. I turned away from the pictures and scoped out the hot nurses in the cafeteria.
Shortly afterwards, I found myself standing before the information desk. A very attractive receptionist took all my most intimate personal details and typed them into her computer.
Behind her, I noticed a photograph of a giant cross. The cross was modeled after the one used to crucify Jesus. It was stuck in the ground, in an expansive green plain of green grassy grass. It was a Midwestern scene, and by the looks of the cross, it was the largest and heaviest crucifix in the Midwest, if not in the entire world.
“Where is this cross located?” I asked.
“Indiana.” She replied, not looking away from her computer screen.
“Nice,” I said. “That’s the biggest goddamned cross I’ve ever seen.” I could immediately see she didn’t like the ‘goddamned’ part of what I said. She instantly changed the subject… “Is this stuff injury or accident related?” She asked. She dropped her chin and stared at me over the frames of her oval-shaped spectacles. I ignored the school-marm crap and exhaled crudely.
“Yeah it was an accident,” I said vigorously. “Do you think anybody would catch this goddamned shit on purpose?” After that, she didn’t waste any time. She worked extra fast to get me in and out of there.
Not long afterwards, I spent a few quiet moments in the waiting area, inside the doctor’s office. Another sick man was sitting across from me. He was about my age, bald, and reading a magazine. He was wearing a full set of hospital pajamas, head-to-toe-and-top-to-bottom.
So anyway, after about forty-five minutes in the waiting room, the nurse came in and lead me to the examination room. By then it was almost three o’clock in the afternoon, and all of the sudden I was watching my intestines and innards on a tricked-out television screen, in a very dark room. It looked like a fish tank inside my abdomen, like an underwater playground, so I was trying to locate the swing set and the jungle-jim inside my belly. “Looks like a fish tank,” I quietly said to the TV. Within a minute or two, a pear-shaped technician walked in and looked me square in the eyes. She smiled demurely and asked, “So, why is it that we are doing this Ultra Sound today?”
“What?” I said, slightly disconcerted.
Of course, I wondered why she did not have this crucial information in front of her already. Afterall she was the fucking technician—why didn’t she know why she was doing what she was doing?
But instead of asking these questions, I extended a hand toward the tricked-out TV monitor.
I answered the question myself.
“Obviously, we’re here to make sure the fish are okay; the oceans are vast—so tell me, what’s the craziest thing you ever saw inside a human abdomen?”
She paused for a moment.
“Lots of crazy things,” she said, grinning malignantly, and not demurely.
By then my ass was on the edge of the table.
“Let me tell you something interesting,” I said. “I had a good bird dog once and his name was Meadowrock Mathew Moreberds.”
“Really?” she said.
“Really,” I said. “And this goddamned dog was a champion bred blue-blood Springer Spaniel... This dog was born and bred at Meadowrock Kennels in Suffield, Connecticut. You ever heard of the kennel? Meadow Rock Kennels, Suffield, Connecticut?”
“No,” she said. “I’m afraid not.”
“Springer Spaniels,” I said. “Meadowrock Farm raises the world’s best prize winning Springer Spaniels—weaned and trained in Suffield Connecticut—field dogs, not show dogs. The best field dogs in the country. Pick of the litter this dog was. He was the pick. Mathew was his name—Meadowrock Mathew Moreberds. But we called him Matty for short. Matty or Mathew, got it? But it didn’t matter. He’d come no matter which name you called him. He was a smart dog.”
She nodded and looked at me as if I were quite completely insane. So I continued, “And this goddamned dog had just about the best nose I ever seen on a bird dog. This dog could smell a sanitary landfill from twenty miles, and I swear to God under the right weather conditions, he could smell a female dog in heat—I don’t know how many miles—but a lot by Jesus oh yes, oh yes its true. I swear he had a nose on him, and eat? That dog would eat almost anything. You name it, he’d eat it. Name something. Name one thing, I dare you.”
“Oh, I couldn’t,” she said, now looking a just a little bit embarrassed, as if she had recently eaten some cre de schmegma-shmeer herself.
“Just one thing,” I said. “It won’t kill you. Take a stab at it. Go ahead and name just one thing.”
She paused. She shrugged. She looked me squarely in the eye. “Raspberry thorns,” she said and repeated, “Raspberry thorns.”
I bobbed my head one time, and exhaled fully. “So get this,” I continued. “Listen up. It was one fine morning in the middle of winter. There is two feet of fresh snow on the ground and I’m inside with the dog. I’m bored. There isn’t much to do, so I go to pet the dog and suddenly I see a little piece of plastic sticking out of the back end of his ass, don’t ya know. And right off I can tell without a doubt that this piece of plastic is making him just a little bit uncomfortable. It’s obvious, just by the way he’s acting, because he begins spinning circles and rubbing his ass back and forth across the carpet to try and dislodge the piece of plastic. So I figure I gotta help him out. I’ve got to help him out, and there’s no choice about it. I sneak up behind him and I grab that piece of plastic by the only visible shred. It wasn’t a big shred… it was a small shred. So I grab it by the very tippity end and when I give it a little tug, I feel some marked resistance. At first it won’t move, and that scares me a little, so I stop for about five seconds and then start to pull again. Now it begins to come out, slowly, slowly… ever so slowly, slowly and all of the sudden Mathew Moreberds looks me in the eye and I look him in the eye and then the plastic just pours out him, slides out like a newborn baby in a puddle of afterbirth—until I’ve got the whole damn bag in my hand. Holding the bag, so to speak, get it?”
“Hmmm,” she said, and then, at this point in the conversation, she was getting a little bit close to my you-know-what… so I said, “Hang on, what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen here, on the job, in the Ultra Sound Department?”
She smiled demurely and not malignantly, once again. “Lots of crazy things,” she said.
“Do you know what it was? Do you know what was in his ass?” I said. “Take a guess; take a guess what it was.”
“Oh I could never guess,” she said. “Not in million years.”
“Oh, go on and take a guess,” I prodded.
She crossed her arms.
“Well, it was a bread bag,” I finally said. “It was an entire goddamned bread bag stuck up his ass, get it? But, there was no bread left. The bread was gone. He ate it. What do you think of that? I’m telling you, that dog was a magician. So what about you? Have you ever seen a bread bag, here in the Ultra Sound Department?”
"No,” she said. “No bread bags.”
“Oh well,” I continued. “Can’t win ‘em all.”
“Nope,” she said. “Can’t win ‘em all.”
I wasn’t finished with my story yet.
“If you think a bread bag’s a good ass-plugger, get this,” I announced. “The same freaking dog, Meadow Rock Mathew Moreberds—took a crap behind a potted plant in the living room. Then of course, he tried to hide the turd so he wouldn’t get spanked, as he sometimes did, because he was a smart damn dog. But the fact of the matter was, he did a pretty goddamned good job this time because that turd stayed and remained undiscovered for quite a long while—which was mostly because you could never get anybody to vacuum in that particular goddamned household, as we were a bunch of dirty men living in the place. But one day I found that turd…you know how that goes, don’t ya? And there the turd was—stashed out back behind the potted plant, and guess what? Do you know what? Do you have any idea at all what was involved in that turd? Do you know what was inside-and-out-and-through-and-through-it?”
“No,” she said. “I have no idea, and I certainly wouldn’t want to venture a guess,” and now of course, she was smiling again. “Not without first giving it an Ultra Sound.”
“Well, I can tell you this,” I said, “Ultra Sound or no Ultra Sound… that turd was filled with a gnarly-tumbleweed-mass of hair, burdocks, twine, pebbles, raspberry thorns, twigs, straw, bits of glass, wood splinters, cloth fibers, sheetrock screws, and toenails—and all of it was wrapped up in two or three rubber bands. Three sheetrock screws and three rubber bands—that’s what held it all together. You surprised?”
“No,” she said bluntly. “I’m not.”
“I’ll bet you’re not,” I said. “I bet you’ve seen it all—in this darkened TV room—but what about those three sheetrock screws wrapped up in that terrible nest. What do you think of that? How do you think that felt?”
“Well,” she said. “I wouldn’t know; I just do the Ultra Sounds.”
She then shushed me with a finger over her lips. Within a few seconds, we were both watching the live-action Ultrasound movie of my innards, on that wondrous, tricked-out TV monitor. We both watched in silence. At the end of the movie, she took a minute and made a few notes on her notepad.
“See you next time,” she said. She smiled magnanimously, and left briskly.
An hour or so later, I was brought to the operating room. A technician coated my belly with Iodine. Moments later, Dr. Roundspecks, the veteran physician, entered the room. By 2:30, he was holding a fat syringe of Lydocane in his left hand. He pointed the 20 gauge needle toward the ceiling, while his assistant ‘marked the spot’.
(He drew three little x’s drawn with a black magic marker on my abdomen…three of them, like a constellation of stars.)
All of the sudden, my sternum was the milky way and my guts were the entire universe. The ‘X’ was the target, and my abdomen was the official bull’s eye. I was watching my intestines on television. The camera touched my skin.
Suddenly, my innards were spontaneously transformed into a teeming gelatinous fish bowl of internal organs swimming in sonic blood. I watched the undersea world of my abdomen—the waves, the urchins, and fluorescent fishes in an ocean pulsing. One lamprey floated, infected…
“Tell us when you need the Demerol,” said a fresh faced intern— Roundspeck’s student neo-assistant medical student.
“I will,” I told him. Dr. Roundspecks inverted the needle and leaned downward, over my swollen gut.
“Lydocane?” I asked.“Don’t worry, yes, the Lydocane,” he said. “You will feel a little prick, nothing more. Are you ready?”
“Yes,” I said. “I’m ready.”
The needle descended.
He pushed it to the hilt, and then slowly extracted it. He set it aside, saying nothing.
His face showed no fear.
There was no alarm.
A minute later, he had another syringe even bigger than the first, a 28 gauge ‘sump pump’ for draining a polluted salt pond, in a remote lagoon, on the epidipendable occipital lobe of a necrotic ventricle’s underwater sarcophagi. He looked closely at one ‘X’, then at the others, and then he looked into my eyes and I looked into his eyes, and the needle descended, once again. Finally, after what seemed like a thousand bunghole clenching eternities, he removed his morbid tool. The barrel was brimming with a single cubic centimeter of venomous noxious toxins.
He seemed pleased. The assistant spoke first.
“What is it?” said Dr. Newtrainee.
Roundspecks spoke again, “No idea,” he said.
At first, he looked very, very suspicious. He looked very serious, indeed. But then, with a joyful childlike sigh, he turned, and spoke to the assistant once more. “Prepare this sample for the lab, immediately…” he commanded.
I said nothing.
Nothing, not a whisper not a word. I fingered the exit wounds gingerly. I then thumbed my nose. It was an angry gesture, this nose-thumbing. It was be-gone and farewell to Dr. Roundspecks and his assistant—and fond so-long to a frightening and unwanted cascade of putrid ambiguous pus.I knew there was no cause for alarm. They were experts.
I knew they could cure me. Although albeit, on my first visit to the clinic, at the doctor’s primary diagnosis, he had confidently announced:
“It’s probably just gas.”