Danse Macabre (6×3)

The Chief of Surgery, standing alongside the Head of Pathology and the Director of Resident Training in the surgical theater, scowls.
The surgeon, scalpel poised, looks up, sees the scowl, takes a deep breath and makes the primary incision.
The patient, strapped to the table, cannot move.
Minimum local anesthesia has been applied to the scalp where it is to be peeled back from the skull.
Drills stand nearby, ready.
There is, after the initial outpouring, very little blood.


Eleven small holes are drilled in two concentric circles.
By the time this part of the procedure is completed, the Chief of Surgery has left the theater.
The surgeon has noted this fact, and breathes a little more easily.
On the insertion of the probes, the patient’s pupils alternately dilate and constrict.
He complains of cold.
He sings a dirty little song he learned in his childhood—a song he thought he’d long ago forgotten.


His right foot pumps an invisible accelerator.
Mama?” he asks.
The surgeon tells him he’s doing fine.
Ellie,” he tells the surgeon; “My dad called her Pretty Ellie.”
“I bet you used to dance with her in the kitchen.”


(Originally posted on 10/02/10 at: SIX SENTENCES)

2 thoughts on “Danse Macabre (6×3)

  1. Oh…that stirred up memories of a tale my father told me when I was (probably too) young. He was a theatre nurse to a neurologist. The patient had to be conscious so they could fathom which part of the brain did what. Macabre? Certainly. It always struck me it was a bit like shaving In the dark.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s