a newer one »Love Smears

Jazz Glands

Scalzi Story

Okay, yes, I’m taking Scalzi’s Next Band Names and using them as the title for a short story. Why did I get a weird one for my first post? Oh, wait, they’re all weird. First up, Jazz Glands


Johnson looked around the small room quickly as he scrubbed his hands. The routine was familiar, he had been in here many times. Sometimes the scrubbing became a meditative process, but today it hadn’t. Johnson wondered if everyone else could hear his heart beating over the water running. He could hear it. He would need to fix that.

He concentrated on his fingers, scrubbing each one for two minutes and ten seconds, always two minutes and ten seconds, then moving to the next one. By the time he had finished his last finger, his heart was beating slowly again. His hands were clean, his arms were clean, it was time to head into the next room.

Holding his hands up, he backed through the door and into the brightly lit sterile room, a quiet beep coming from the corner. Johnson was lost in the repetion of donning the rest of his clothing, having done so thousands of times before. Others were busy around him, prepping for the upcoming procedure, as Johnson continued his routine. Eventually, he was done, and it was time to begin.

Johnson didn’t agree with the procedure he was about to do. He believed in hard work. He believed in putting in the hours. He believed in paying your dues with years of training, sweat and tears. He didn’t believe in cheating, but others did, and they were willing to pay, so, he had started doing the procedure years ago.

Several hours in, and the iced box on the table next to him was brought over. Attaching the small blob was the easy part. Ensuring an adequate blood supply was the hard part. After the experimental years, he’d perfected his technique, and had a good success record. Another hour later, he’d completed his work and stepped back. The others could finish the rest, closing up, cleaning up.

Johnson walked out of the brightly lit room, slowly removed his gown, layers, gloves, hat. Another done today, best to follow up on yesterday’s work.

Johnson wandered out the second room, down the hall, through a door and down another hall, up a couple flights, and into the recovery rooms. Second door from the left was yesterday’s, he went in.

Her eyes were open, her mouth a generous smile. Her hands where on her lap as she sat leaned back against the pillows. Her companion sat between her and the window, and also smiled as Johnson walked in. Twenty four hours was enough to see which way she would go. Curled hands meant entertainer, straight fingers meant dancer, both meant a different lifestyle, an easier one. Just as Johnson knew she wanted the latter, he was just as sure her companion wanted the former for her.

He waited as she held up her hands, realizing he was holding his breath. Would he play a saxophone, or dance to full houses? Which one would her implanted gland give her? Would the surgery have been worth it to her?

Johnson wondered.

Not for the first time.

Add new comment