from the collection of: p. botte

He had to give the thing a name.  “John,” he started.  No, too non-descript.  “Jimmy.”  That was better. 

He had to look at the thing now named Jimmy.  He had to look and see the humanity within the cold flesh laid out in front of him.  At one point in time, Jimmy may have been married, may have had children.  He certainly had been someone else’s child.  We were all someone else’s child, thought Hew. 

He would place his hands now upon Jimmy’s shoulders to touch the flesh, look down at the head whose eyelids were nearly (but not completely) closed.  Cool.  Stiff.  He noted the turgor of the flesh, the elasticity robbed by death.  Like an old rubber band.  Or a rubber band that’s been kept in a freezer.

Hew moved to the side now and placed the scalpel along its first line.  It cut easily, neatly dividing the flesh of the abdomen into two sides.  Left and right.  East and west.  Good and evil.  Hew sliced a line from below the man’s navel to four inches below his sternum.  And then sliced along two other lines laterally at the top and the bottom of the first cut so that he could pull the flesh aside like two organic doors, scraping away the pale connective tissue just under the skin.  The muscle looked like an oddly-streaked steak.  Hew then cut into that and pulled that back, too, from the organs underneath.

The organs.  Neatly packed.  Finely designed.  Here a stomach, balanced by the liver over there.  Pancreas and, pulling items aside and following a ureter, there a kidney.

“Hmm,” Hew breathed.  “Hmm, hmm, hmm.”  It became a rhythmic mantra.  A sound.  A tune for contemplation.  The sound cleared thought from his head, exorcised concern from his own body.  Hew followed the vibrations of his throat, saw himself as nothing but a certain vibratory pattern that existed in the ether.  Overtones and undertones that were specific to his existence lingered for a set time in this universe.  And, as he focused on the vibration of his own body, he could see that Jimmy had ceased to vibrate.  Hew was energy.  Jimmy was matter.  The two were related, but forever separated.  At some point, Hew would release his energy back to the universe and then his own body would again subsist solely in the realm of matter.  But for now, Hew knew, he was energy. 

“Hmm, hmm, hmm…”

He would have to work fast.  The body that was Jimmy was warming.  Hew pulled the scalpel down a corner of the liver.  A piece of the richest vermillion pulled away from the rest.  How is this an organ? thought Hew, noting the solidity of the internals of the thing.  So solid, so richly richly – “Brown,” Hew said the word.  He didn’t like thinking of the thing as brown because brown was dirt and excrement.  Brown was filthy.  But it was also rich, filled up with the primary colors of red and yellow and blue.  Rich.  He pulled the slice of liver up and took a taste.  “Hmm, hmm, hmm.”  The vibration of Hew’s own self would continue.  It must continue.  He would feed and ensure it continued.

“Thank you, Jimmy.”