Author: John Albertson
The doctor is sat trimming his nails with a scalpel when I float into the surgery. He glances up and grunts, nodding his head towards a bed covered in a white sheet. The entire surgery is white, sterile, except for one wall which is glass. And behind the glass, water.
I nudge my levchair over to the bed and push myself out. My arms tremble at the physical activity, but only for a moment, and then I’m laid on the bed, the gel contouring to my body. I glance over at the doctor again, wondering when he is going to start.
He reaches over and flicks a small switch, not even looking up at me. In the water behind the glass, something shudders to life.
“You want to pick one?” The doctor asks, still only looking down at his nails.
“Yeah,” the doctor glances up. “Oh, your last transplant was a few years ago, right? Custom? Yeah, they’re off-the-shelf now. Non-immunogenic, guaranteed. So you can pick. If you want.”
The glass of the aquarium wall tracks my eyes and magnifies. I see them swimming through the water, which surely can’t just be water. Fists of blind muscle pulsing this way and that, long veiny fins trailing behind them. As my eyes settle on one, a silvery mechanical spider detaches itself from the wall of the aquarium and slinks through the liquid. It snares one of the swimming fish with two of its legs and uses the others to clamber to a small porthole in the glass.
The doctor flicks another switch and the porthole opens, the spider pushing through with the fish in its grasp. The spider click-clacks across the floor, dripping fluid behind it. It crawls up the side of the bed and sits above me.
“You don’t mind the machine doing it?” The doctor asks. He’s picking at a hangnail on his thumb.
“Umm, no…” I say.
“Good. You like bacon? Might not want to eat it for a few days.”
“Oh right,” I say. Maybe because of the salt?
A long, glinting knife flicks out of one of the spider’s forelimbs. It uses the blade to slice off the fins of the fish. It trims around long, white, fatty deposits along the underside of the fish, cores out a few orifices and holds it up, as if inspecting it.
A heart. My new heart.
A small pinprick as the spider numbs the skin of my chest. Almost instantly, I can no longer feel it sat there. It’s legs move, tapping on my skin, and I feel them only as a dull pressure. A razor flicks out and shaves a long smooth stripe above my sternum.
The spider rears up and a small eye opens in its underbelly. As the laser jets out, slicing open my skin and the bone of my ribs, I catch a smell. I realise what the doctor ment, and my stomach rolls.
The smell of my cauterised flesh is just like bacon.