We are using your ankles, he said.
She sat in the cold plastic chair, watching the scientist twirl the vial of her blood.
Only my ankles?
You have strong ankles. They hold your feet well. He put the tube in a plastic holder. The top of the tube was red and black swirled. She wondered why doctors did not use solid-colored stoppers. She looked at her blood. Outside of her, it seemed different, darker and emptier like oil.
Soon it would be cold, but that would be okay.
Are you familiar with the human genome project? The doctor asked.
That was years ago.
Yes, but advances have been made.
We have isolated the genes that produce your ankles. They will go into her. She will have strong ankles as well.
Her signature, trailing above the printed lines, felt separate from her like her blood. How many signatures were there, she wondered? Did they take one thing from each person they included, or were some people better, worth more parts?
Iâ€™m glad to help, she said, and stared downwards to the point where her leg met her foot. It did not seem special. She would have taken other things, other parts. But that did not matter. She was a secretary, not a doctor. He knew better anyway, she was certain.
Your country thanks you, he said. Humanity thanks you.
She did not move. Her blood was almost room temperature. She thought of centrifuges. She looked at her hands, but they were flawed and dirty. The joints were too thick, the wrists were not strong. This was fine. She looked at them anyway, and thought of filing papers.
You can go now, he said. We have what we need.